24 December 2009

Post 219

Christmas is a time when folks who normally wouldn't associate with one another lay down their differences and come together--so we get some pretty odd pairings. For example, Frank Sinatra and Cyndi Lauper:

Stranger yet, Bing Crosby and David Bowie:

What's next--Miss Utah and a stand-up comedian??

04 November 2009

Post 218

This from a 1976 "Dear Abby" submitted by THINKING MAN:

"If you absolutely cannot refrain from drinking, start a saloon in your own home. Be the only customer and you will not have to buy a license. Give your wife $12.00 to buy a gallon of whiskey. there are 128 shots in a gallon. Buy all your drinks from your wife at 40¢ a shot and in four days when the gallon is gone, your wife will have $39.20 to put in the banks and $12.00 to buy another gallon. If you live 10 years and buy all your booze from your wife and then die with snakes in your boots, she will have $35,750.40 on deposit, enough to bury you respectably, bring up your children, buy and house and lot, marry a decent man and forget she ever knew YOU!"

Maybe I need to develop some expensive bad habits while I'm single so someday when I'm married I can give my wife a nest egg....

27 October 2009

Post 217

I love substantives. They are an awesome.

19 October 2009

Post 216

If I've said it once, I've said it once: tautology is tautology.

And that's that!

07 October 2009

Post 215

It is a foolish man who amidst the storms of life runs outside to shout at the thunder and flail in the wind. A wiser man knows to hunker down and wait for fairer weather to come.

Post 214

And so it was the courage was the only casualty that day, for a speedy retreat hath many a happy marriage made. That a man may courageously die for a cause is true, but that a living coward may prove of more use to a society than a dead hero is just is true.

01 October 2009

Post 213

Hey friends. Because I've become such a once-in-a-blue-moon sort of blogger (not as bad as some, I know, but far worse than I am wont to be), I thought I'd give you a post that is completely new and different in style and media and whatnot.

I work as a research assistant. It's mostly mind-numbing work. To keep myself from going crazy, I made myself a Pandora radio station with 99 Luftballons as a seed song. I have since been very much enjoying the music of female artists from the 80s--and they are fantastic! My girlfriend gives me some ribbing over the fact that I suddenly have a crush on the music of the likes of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, but it's good stuff! Don't believe me? Well, let me prove you wrong, friends--let me prove you wrong! Behold! Music that you can't listen to a be unhappy; if you are unhappy, it will cheer you up:

18 September 2009

Post 212

I'm not convinced that I have any interest in seeing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but this awesome bit from Ebert's review:

Let me search my memory. I think — no, I'm positive — this is the first movie I've seen where the hero dangles above a chasm lined with razor-sharp peanut brittle while holding onto a red licorice rope held by his girlfriend, who has a peanut allergy, so that when she gets cut by some brittle and goes into anaphylactic shock and her body swells up, she refuses to let go, and so the hero bites through the licorice to save her. You don't see that every day.

Post 211

I have a plot to overthrow the entire world using only the power of rhetoric.

It has prose and cons....

03 September 2009

Post 210

Hahaha. I love literalism! And I love the 80s. If you love these things also, you will love this video:

02 September 2009

Post 209

Awesome headlines in the Chicago Tribune in the early 1900s:

Girls sold by gypsies; whole town up in arms


DANCES 3 DAYS; CAN'T STOP, Girl Whose Feet Won't Keep Still Drugged to Save Her Life. MANIA PUZZLES DOCTORS. Only Thing Like Philadelphia Case Is Tarantula Madness.



PASTOR TURNS MATCHMAKER Men with Proper Credentials May Meet Young Women Tonight.

CREATES FICTION, ALL RIGHT, BUT IT'S BY WORD OF MOUTH. Proposed Double Wedding Called Off When One Bride-Elect Finds "Story Writer" Fiance Is a Barber.


LET A PHYSICIAN FIT YOUR CORSET Latest Straight Front and Easy, Well 'Made Waist Adds Health, Says Doctor. MAKE WOMEN BEAUTIFUL

Post 208

HeylookI'mback. With any luck, I'll give my long, glorious, fantastic excuse for my absence from blogdom on Fake Dates within the next week or so, but today I wish to give an academic lament of sorts in far more brevity than I'd like because I've got a lot of stuff to do.

I'm back to school now; I started on Monday. I'm taking an English class called something like "Studies in Rhetoric and Style: Style and Stylistic Criticism." Today we were talking about what style is, trying to define it using the ridiculous bit of prolix that serves as our book's two prefaces and lengthy introduction. My professor said something about how the study of rhetoric has fallen out of English curriculum in the past couple centuries and has recently been picked up by linguists, which, she said, is unfortunate because the linguists approach it too scientifically. Later in the lecture, she mentioned how Plato poo-pooed rhetoric and wrote it off so now the whole philosophical community shuns rhetoric as something evil, "but Plato was wrong," she said.

This is facinating (and heart wrenching) to me. Last winter, I took an English Language class called "Semantics." This had an underlying sentiment of "Trying to understand how words mean stuff is really facinating, and English students are morons for not looking in to this." I really enjoyed the class and found it refreshingly not scientific, though I was a bit miffed because we were standing on the shoulders of a lot of philosophers while pretending that we were not studying philosophy. The summer before that, I took a Philosophy class called "The Philosophy of Language," so that's how I knew all these philosophers.

It's strange (and sad) to me that all three disciplines are working toward the same end (viz. understanding how language means anything) yet refuse to work together: the philosophers and linguists ignore each other as much as possible, but, when they can't ignore each other entirely, the philosophers call linguists like Chomsky (stupid Chomsky) philosophers while the linguists call philosophers like Grouse (blesses Grouse) linguists so that both groups can continue to pretend to be unrelated; the philosophers and rhetoricians are always at each other's throat, the philosophers calling the rhetoricians sophists while the rhetoricians give philosophers the finger for writing them off as such; and we ELANG kids don't associate with the English kids except to spank them at Scrabble once a year.

So where does this put me? I'm an ELANG major with minors in English, Linguistics, and Logic--I stand happily in all three camps. And so I am sad because all three are falling short of their goals because each only has a piece of the puzzle and see it through colored perspective. I hope that I can somehow within myself resolve the differing views and combine them into an academically orgasmic threesome that will cause all of language's mysteries to melt before me, but I feel totally incapable of doing so: I fear that, by dabbling in all three disciplines, I do none of them justice.

(Just another one of my rambling thoughts on academia that none of you probably cares about. Sorry to end my blogging hiatus with something so exclusive.)

18 July 2009

Post 207

I learned recently that, just as English fairy tales often begin with "Once upon a time" and end with "And they lived happily ever after," Hungarian fairy tales often begin with, "Once where there was and wasn't" and end with "And they are still alive if they haven't died yet."

Which do you suppose makes less sense?

Also, right after "Once where there was and wasn't," many tales include a completely irrelevant bit of information. The one I read started with "Once where there was or wasn't, the Lord of Dobrogi loved red apples"--and then he wasn't even the main character: he was the bad guy and didn't show up until a few paragraphs later.

Interesting stuff, these folk tales.

13 July 2009

Post 206

I'm famous!

At least, I will be so long as this site stays under construction.

(Thanks to Schlange for alerting me to this)

Post 205

So, I was just at the BYU homepage and saw an announcement that there will be a devotional tomorrow (there's one most every Tuesday). The topic: happiness; the speaker: this guy

Seriously, dude--if you're gonna be talking about happiness, maybe you should smile a bit!

01 June 2009

Post 204

Sometimes, dogs chase their tails; most times, their tails chase them.

29 May 2009

Post 203

So, my phone has audio recording capabilities, which I used to use to record the ideas for songs I would get when I was a janitor and my mind had nothing better to do than make up songs. I thought of that today, so I listened to all those recordings as I walked home from school. Audio File 0701081933-00(9/26) surprised me because it wasn't a song: it was me talking.

I do not remember making this recording. I do not know what circumstances I recorded it under. I checked the file information and learned that I made the recording on July 1, 2008 at 7:33pm, so I looked up my journal entry for that day and found this paragraph (and several others, but this is the relevant one):
It's been a long day. Left Tehachapi shortly after 9am, got to Burbank around 1pm, boarded the plane a little before 2pm, landed between 4:30 and 5pm, drove Grandma to Brigham City so she could get a ride from Leroy home, got back to Provo a little after 9pm.
I am grateful now for this little paragraph of excessive detail: it tells me that Audio File 0701081933-00(9/26) was made while I was driving from Brigham City to Provo (because I doubt I made it while my grandmother was riding with me).

So here is a piece of my mind while driving the last leg of an 11-hour journey:
What could possibly be inside of Box K? It's 168 inches by 157 inches by 115 inches, and it weighs 11,300 pounds. It's a cardboard box on a truck. It's fragile, and it needs to be kept dry; you're not allowed to forklift it--how do you move 11,300 pounds without a forklift? How do you get it on a truck--a crane? Doesn't seem any more delicate than a forklift. Strange. Anyway. That's it.
Any guesses as to what was in Box K? I assume all this information was written on the cardboard box. What could possible be so big and so fragile and not water proof?

You are now free to speculate.

25 May 2009

Post 202

So, I'm taking this Latin class, yeah? And it's, like, crazy intense, ya know? I mean, I've had three or four weeks of learning Latin, and I just translated the first 25 verses of St. John from the Vulgate into English as a homework assignment. Now my head is threatening to explode, but I feel pretty good about myself--even if my translation is a little... well... amateur, for lack of a better word.

Here it is:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was in the presence of God, and God was the Word. This was in the beginning in the presence of God. All by him was made, and without him nothing was made, because it was made; in him was life, and life was the light of man, and light in darkness shines, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There was a man sent by God, whose name was John; this man comes in testimony, so that testimony testifies of the light, so that all believe through the light. He wasn’t that light, but that testimony testifies of the light.

He was the true light, which illuminates all men, came into the world. He was in the world, and the world by him was made, and the world did not know him. He came in his own, and they did not receive him.

As many however were accepting him, he gave to them power to become the sons of God, this, who believe in his name, who were born not by reason of blood nor by reason of the will of man, but by reason of God.

And the Word was made flesh and he lived in us; and we saw the glory of him, glory as it were of the Only Child from the Father, full of gratitude and of truth.

John’s testimony testifies from himself and proclaiming said: “This man was, of whom I said: He who came after me, before me was made, since he was before me.”

And from his plentitude we accept us all, and gratitude in return for gratitude; since the law through Jesus Christ was made. No one ever saw God; the only child of God, who is in the bowl of the Father, himself described.

And this is the testimony of John, when they sent to him Jews from Jerusalem priests and Levites, so that they interrogated him: “Who are you?” And was confessed and he did not deny; and was confessed: “I am not the Christ.” And they interrogated him: “Who therefore? Are you Elias?” And he said: “I am not.” “Are you a prophet?” And he responded: “No.” They said therefore to him: “Who is? So that this response alone, which they sent us. What do you say about you yourself?” He says:
“I the voice of a cry in the desert:
‘Turn toward the way of the Lord,’
as said the prophet Isaiah.” And they who were the envoy, were from the Pharisees; and they interrogated him and said to him: “Why therefore do you baptize, if you are not the Christ neither Elias neither a prophet?”

18 May 2009

Post 201

Okay, here's a fun game: I'll give you a picture; you come up with a caption. I just happen to have the best picture in the whole wide world; let's see how well you can caption it. Ready? Go ahead and scroll down a bit.

17 May 2009

Post 200

My 200th post. Woohoo, look at me go.

When I wrote my 100th post, I discussed Mormon and how awesome he was--something we had been discussing in a Book of Mormon class I was taking at the time. Today I would like to discuss the Book of Mosiah, which is, I think, my favorite Book of Mormon book, if I'm allowed one of those. I haven't taken a religion class that has discussed the Book of Mosiah before, so what I've got for you is my collected personal thoughts on that book. [Translation: what I've got for you is a huge mess of thoughts that I've never sought to systematically present to anyone ever and that might, therefore, be totally unintelligible.]

I think when latter-day Saints think about the Book of Mosiah, they probably think about King Benjamin's sermon, Abinadi, and Alma the elder et al., so I’m going to breeze over those most popular parts very briefly and then dive into the lesser known stuff because, if anything in this post is going to actually be interesting, that's gonna be it because, let's face it: you've heard the rest a million times and aren't interested in my rehashing of it. It's okay; no need to be ashamed: I was raised a Mormon, too.

So, very briefly, my thoughts on King Benjamin:

1) Mosiah 3, which is perhaps the most popular chapter of the book, is often attributed to Benjamin, and I think that's unfair. Okay, sure, it's him speaking, but, aside from the first two verses, the whole chapter is Benjamin quoting an angel who spoke to him the night before.

2) The angel who spoke to Mosiah was sent to him "to declare unto thee that thou mayest rejoice; and that thou mayest declare unto thy people, that they may also be filled with joy" (3:4). That declaration goes for us, too: we are permitted to rejoice, and we really ought to because we know about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

3) After the angel prophesied of Christ (3:6-10), listed very plainly the people who are saved by Jesus (3:11, 12, 16), declared that Jesus is the only way to salvation (3:17), and gave the ever-so-famous bit about casting off the natural man (3:19), he said that it’s important to teach the Gospel to everyone so that they will be "no more blameless in the sight of God, only according to the words which I have spoken unto thee" (3:22). This statement is fascinating to me, but I don’t really have much to say about it.

4) One very good statement from King Benjamin that did not come from the angel: "If you believe all these things see that ye do them" (4:10).

Moving on:

I think Abinadi is awesome. Of all the speeches in all of scripturedom, his is my favorite, I think--rhetorically, at least. What transpires between 12:20-24 and 15:14-18 really is a marvel. I hope that some day, after I've taken a handful of classes on rhetoric, I'll be able to write a very long paper on Abinadi's craft. It boggles my mind just how awesome he is. And he did it off the cuff while threatened with death? That's the power of the Spirit right there. If you have a decent attention span, you should spend some Sunday afternoon reading Abinadi's speech in a go: it's amazing. And I love the way it's recorded, too, because we can see that it isn't flawless (he has a bit of trouble getting started, it seems [check out 12:30-32]), but it is beautiful, and it is powerful--and I'll be darned if there wasn't a dramatic pause following Abinadi's amen.

A couple of favorite bits from Abinadi's magnificent tirade:

"Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?" (12:27).

"I perceive that you have studied and taught iniquity the most part of your lives" (13:11).

"But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil and enemy to God" (16:5).

As for Alma and friends, I actually wanna spend some time discussing them--just not the Waters of Mormon or the miraculous lightening of burdens because those are the parts everyone talks about. They're good parts, though; I highly recommend chapters 18, 23, and 24, but I'm not gonna discuss them here.

For the rest of this post, I'm going to just work through the Book of Mosiah in order by chapter. That means it won't be exactly chronological, but that's okay: one thing I really like about the book is the way it presents so many overlapping stories one at a time--not bothering trying to tell them simultaneously.

After King Benjamin speaks, gives the kingdom to Mosiah, and dies, we follow Ammon & Co. into the wilderness in search of the land of Lehi-Nephi, and he finds King Limhi. I love Limhi. I actually didn't realize how awesome Limhi was until I started pulling verses together to write this post. Why do we never talk about Limhi? The guy's amazing! Seriously, do you even know who Limhi is?

Limhi was the son of King Noah, who was a whorish tyrant, yet Limhi some how turned out to be a remarkably good person. Here are my favorite Limhi-isms with my bracketed responses:

"O ye, my people, life up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand [...] when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies [...] yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made" (7:18). [Just because you can see the light at the end of a tunnel doesn’t mean you’re there: don’t give up until the war is over.]

"Yeah, I say unto you, great are the reasons which we have to mourn; for behold how many of our brethren have been slain, and their blood has been spilt in vain, and all because of iniquity" (7:24). [Take-home message: don't be a martyr to your sins.]

"And now, because he said this [that is, because Abinadi told Noah and the priests that Christ would come to redeem the world and that they needed to repent], they did put him to death; and many more things did they do which brought down the wrath of God upon them. Therefore, who wondereth that they are in bondage, and that they are smitten with sore afflictions?" (7:28). [Limhi sees the punishment of his people, sighs, shakes his head and asks himself, "Well, what did we expect--I mean, really...."]

"…the effect thereof is poison" (7:30). [Sin is poison. 'Nuff said.]

"And now, behold, the promise of the Lord is fulfilled, and ye are smitten and afflicted. But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage" (7:32-33). [I love that Limhi uncomplainingly resigns himself to the fact that the pain his people suffer is the judicious wrath of God and yet maintains the hope that this same God will deliver them eventually.]

"Yea, they are as a wild flock which fleeth from the shepherd, and scattereth, and are driven, and are devoured by the beasts of the forest" (8:21). [Do we flee from the Shepherd? If so, we're doomed: there's no way out but through Him.]

After meeting Limhi, we learn about his grandfather Zeniff. Here's a quote from that righteous soul:

"Yea, in the strength of the Lord did we go forth to battle against the Lamanites; for I and my people did cry mightily to the Lord that he would deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, for we were awakened to a remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers. And God did hear our cries and did answer our prayers; and we did go forth in his might..." (9:17-18). [If you replace "the Lamanites" with "the hosts of hell" or "job hunting" or "school searching" or "those crazy teenagers" or whatever you might be up against (I replace it with "this insane Latin class I’m taking that seeks to fit a year's worth of material into a 7-week course--deary me what was I thinking?"), this scripture is pretty spectacular. Note that they went up in "his might" (meaning "God's might") and remember just how mighty the Lord is.]

After Zeniff, we learn about Abinidi, but I already covered him, so let's move on to Alma Sr.

[Side note: Alma Sr. "was a young man" when Abinadi came (17:2)--meaning ~45 years old (see 29:45--and then hook a time stamp footnote thinging in v44).]

Here are some cool words from this great man:

"...I myself was caught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore repentance; Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth" (23:9-10). [Take-home message here is something akin to Luke 22:32, methinks.]

"...I desire that ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free [from the bonds of iniquity]..." (23:13). [Once you’re freed from sin, don’t go back.*]

"...trust no man to be a king over you (23:13)." [I imagine Alma is probably friends with the Founding Father’s these days.]

"Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me" (26:30). [*However, if you do go back to sinning, God is always there fore you.]

Because we know Alma, we learn a bit about Amulon--but not a whole lot. Amulon was one of Alma's fellow priests of Noah, and he ended up joining the Lamanites and being made a taskmaster over Alma's group. I imagine that there was probably some Hollywood-worthy dramatic conflict between those two while Amulon drove Alma's converts like slaves. This part in particular was probably a real doozy:

"And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death" (24:11). [This man used to be a priest!]

But one thing I really like about the Book of Mosiah is that we don't see a whole lot of apostasy, really. In the Book of Alma, we have a whole bunch of dissenters and anti-Christs who cause all kinds of havoc for the righteous, but in the Book of Mosiah, the good guys are the good guys, and the bad guys are the bad guys. Occasionally a bad guy converts to good guy-ism (both Almas, for example), but not much happens in the other direction, and, in the end, the good end happily, and the bad, uhappily.

That said, Mosiah's is the only book in the Book of Mormon where we get protocol for excommunication, so it isn't all skittles and rainbows, I guess. In chapter 26, the kids who were too young to enter into the covenant King Benjamin gave to the people have grown up and rebelled, and we learn very clearly how apostasy comes about:

(not understanding + not believing)[26:1]-->(separate + carnal and sinful state)[26:4]

Now, maybe an apostate apologist would say, "It wasn’t their fault: they didn't understand!" but this is not so. 26:3 teaches us that it was "because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God...." Belief leads to understanding--not the other way around. This is a very important principle for us to know, I think, and it kinda reminds me of Abinadi's "Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise" (see above).

Anyway, Alma receives this great revelation on disciplining such folks, and then he teaches us something important by example:

"And it came to pass when Alma had heard these words he wrote them down that he might have them" (26:33).

Friends, when the Lord teaches you something, write it down!

Of course we know that Alma the younger was part of the rebellious generation, and you've probably heard his conversion story. Furthermore, I like his version (Alma 36) better, so I won't dwell on the story too much (which is in keeping with the parameters I set at this discussion's outset--or onset--or inception--or whatever). However, there is one thing that I understood for the first time when I read it this time around. I've often been puzzled by this comment from the angel:

"And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off" (27:16).

What on earth could that last bit mean? The rendition in Alma 36 ["If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God" (v9)] was even more confusing to me. Now it seems perfectly clear to me: the words aren't hard; I'm not sure why I didn't understand them before. This is actually the sort of thing I've wanted to say to the few apostates I've met: "If you wanna go to hell, that's your prerogative, but don't you dare drag others down with you!"

Interesting doctrine. Not one we teach a lot, but it's the sort of level-headed smack some people need.

Other than that, all I have to say about Alma Jr. is that his first sermon, which is on repentance and forgiveness, can be found in 27:23-31.

And that pretty well sums up my favorite parts of the Book of Mosiah. I love this book because it really seems to me to be all about forgiveness of sins: it starts with King Benjamin's address about being cleansed through Christ; it includes the teachings of Limhi on the consequences of apostasy and words from Zeniff, Abinadi, and Mosiah on the subject of repentance; it has the conversions of both Almas and their consequent sermons; it talks about Church discipline--really, this book covers repentance very thoroughly. And to sum it up, at the end of this book, King Mosiah dissolves the monarchy (I wonder if Alma the elder influenced that decision) and establishes a democratic republic. Here's my favorite quote from this wise king who was this fine book's namesake:

"...thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him" (29:20).

15 May 2009

Post 199

You know what we all need? Something to make us a little more self-conscious about the way we look. Don't you agree? Go Wikipedia body proportions for a good time.

13 May 2009

Post 198

Howdy. I'm alive. There are a lot of things I could write about (since last writing, I've seen Strangers on a Train, Throw Momma from the Train, Snow Falling on Cedars, Stay, X-MEN Origins: Wolverine, Star Trek, and Taken, read Jane Eyre, The Prestige, and The Old Man and the Sea, acquired Billy Joel's Piano Man, Streetlife Serenade, and Fantasies and Delusions, discovered Mika, started learning Latin, given stand-up comedy a second try, been put in my Elders' Quorum Presidency, and started a new job), but I just gotta tell you real quick about this great new game I've learned.

So you all know the Kevin Bacon game, right? Well, this game is--well, it's totally unrelated I guess. One of the first days at my new job, I went into the little room where I work at a computer for ten hours a week and found that both of the computers in that room were in use: two of my coworkers were doing something with Wikipedia that was apparently giving them great joy.

The game is that you choose two apparently unrelated things (they used Bill Gates and Drāno) and, starting at the Wikipedia page for one, you find your way to the other by using links. All links on the page are fair game (if you can broaden by category, you'll do well) except, I assume, for the ones on the left hand bar (I think clicking on the main page or What Links Here might be considered cheating). They were playing strictly by speed, but when I asked them about efficiency, they both started clicking their back buttons and discovered that the loser (who had only been a couple of seconds late) had actually made it in fewer links.

This game is really impractical as a competition outside of, say, a computer lab, but I was just playing by myself and found it passingly amusing. It really makes me wonder whether you can make an impossible pairing. I just connected glasses to Jakob the Liar and then Billy Joel to the number 68.

It's a fun game. You should try it. You know you wanna.

25 April 2009

Post 197

You should be really happy that you read this blog. Perhaps sometimes you wonder whether it's worth it, but today I give you a marvelous gift of knowledge as a reward for your faithful readership:

The creation of the world began at 9AM on Sunday October 23, 4004 BC.

The Second Coming will be on Friday October 21, 2011.

Now you know.

14 April 2009

Post 196

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh man! Ohh man! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaa!






Okay. So. I have this professor who's always telling us that, if we start harping on people for grammatical mistakes, people will just lie in wait to pounce all over us should we ever slip up. And that's true; I think we see that sort of thing all the time. In my mind, usage ain't no thing in casual speech: if I can understand you, you're probably speaking well enough. In writing, you have to be more careful because it's easier to have multiple interpretations of written stuff, but in speech, whatever whatever, ya know?

On the other hand, I occasionally watch stuff on YouTube, and I'm always dismayed at just how poorly people write comments. I'm fairly liberal in a lot of ways, but sometimes people totally appall me.

Today, these two things collided when I found people correcting each other's grammar in the comments of a Mitch Hedberg video. I've copied the string 'cuz I think it's pretty hilarious. I'm saddened at how vulgar people can be (seriously, folks, if you're going to cuss, the least you can do is be good at it!), but that's the interweb for you.

Here's the string:

Unfortunately, the spelling leaves a bit to be desired....But go ahead, continue to animate, but no comic strips because that involves spelling.

lol @ DuckwalSupreme.

My lot in life is to point out the assholes and stupid people, occasionally both can be used to describe the same person, as in this case. Just look at his username, nothing to seperate the individual words....

I'm really enjoying your hypocrisy. You're "lot" is pointing out someone's gramatical errors. However there are 3 errors in the two sentences that you wrote:
"assholes and stupid people, occasionally both..." They are independent clauses that should be separated by a semi colon rather than a comma.
"username, nothing..." This is the same mistake as above.
And you spelled "separate" as "seperate".
You see, I get kicks out of pointing out stupid people, and assholes. I'm lucky. You are both.

I didn't realize I was flexible enough to get my foot all the way into my mouth...Plus, commas are my weakest point in writing and separate is one of the words I've never been able to spell. Among this list is definitely (recently rectified this) not sure about rectify, though. Oh well, this is youtube and not a college essay and it was Mr. Nirvana that started out as an asshole; (see, semicolon, probably used incorrectly) I was just coming to the defense of a fellow Youtuber. Party on dudes!

Watch out , there's grammar nazis about !!!

Correction: There are...

Touché Sir , Touché

I believe you meant to write "Your 'lot,'" not "You're 'lot.'" Also, you misspelled "grammatical."

Sorry -- I couldn't resist. :)

To the fuckhead that noes howto spell and shit,,I hope you die in your loft space above your mothers house where you have lived till forty six,,yes people are not perfect on here,,bur at least they try,,you my sad friend ,,well,,your a self wanking prick,,i would bet all i have you have not been with a woman/man..for fucking years.
Very sad to think,,but it's shit like you that runs and ruins this earth,,go away and just die sad bastard,,,get it..spelled loads wrong,,get it though,??????????

07 April 2009

Post 195

Ah, the random things I encounter by virtue of my academic pursuits....

Behold. Here you will find a very humorous transcript--humorous not because of the number of words, not the words themselves. Look at it and read the quick exchange between speaker 1 and speaker 2 (this is an actual transcript, mind you, from a Heat and Mass Transfer Discussion Section at a Michigan university)--a quick exchange between speaker 1 and speaker 2 and then an inordinately large block of rhetoric from speaker 1 (who, evidently, is a TA or some such), and then a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful response that demonstrates just how much students comprehend.

Maybe this can only be appreciated by those who have ever taught, but I think, if nothing else, the amount of work speaker 1 puts into this for such a useless yield is funny enough to be appreciated by most folks.

06 April 2009

Post 194

I'm not an avid fan of The Daily Show--really! I'm not! I promise! I honestly don't watch it very often. I've actually been holding off on this post because I don't want you thinking that I'm going to become a DS blog, ya know? Cuz I really don't like this show as much as I might seem to lately. But this bit was too awesome to pass up--for very different reasons than the last go around. This is one of those funny-but-it-makes-you-think bits.

Now, I can't vouch for the first half of this video--I didn't see that part when it was airing, and I'm currently using an on-campus computer that doesn't have any headphones (though I could easily walk to the desk and get some, I'm too lazy for that). So just grab the little progress bar thing and drag it to 2:30. I really have no idea what happens in those first 150 seconds, and, because I'm not a fan of the show, I'm unwilling to assume (or even hope) that they're worthwhile. However, if you hop to 2:30, you'll get some pretty fantastic awesomeness that really says a lot about where we are and where we're headed--and it's pretty funny stuff.

Here it is:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Carmageddon '09 - Lemon Aid
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor

01 April 2009

Post 193

A juxtaposition of two quotes:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” --Aristotle

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”--Einstein

I'm sure there's the potential for a connection there somewhere, but I'm not feeling clever enough right now to fabricate it.

31 March 2009

Post 192

I think history is fascinating. I hate the discipline of history, and I severely doubt that I will take any more history classes than what I already have, but I love history. Because I am, in my intellectual pursuits, distrusting and cynical, I avoid reading history books of any kind as much as possible. But because I love history, I really enjoy reading historical books--that is, books from a given era talking about that era. Fewer degrees of separation that way. I think that's why my research assisting is so interesting to me.

Remember back in November when I quoted that old article that talked about the New Deal? Today's post is in a similar spirit, though the parallels with our day are not so obvious--are not, in fact, apparent, to my mind, at least I, for one, am oblivious to any that may exist. Today I will be quoting a book called The Web, written by Emerson Hough and published in 1919. The title page calls it, "A Revelation of Patriotism: The Web is published by authority of the National Directors of the American Protective League, a vast, silent, volunteer army organized with the approval and operated under the directions of the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation."

"What is the American Protective League?" you ask? It was an organization that was active in America during WWI. On page 163 of The Web, Hough says that "the American Protective League had no governmental or legal status, though strong as Gibraltar in governmental and legal sanction." That's all the introduction I feel inclined to give you.

And now I will proceed to quote a lengthy bit from the book. Why am I doing this? Am I feeling really political right now? No. Really, I just feel I have found proof of things I was ranting about nearly a year ago, namely that we don't need fiction to fill the role of producing shock because real life has way more wow-me to it. So next time you feel inclined to pick up a dystopic novel, don't go for 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 or Brave New World--pick up The Web and open your eyes to the fact that reality is far more interesting than fiction.

I don't know how easily you'll find this book in a library (it is very old, after all), but it can easily be downloaded in a variety of formats from archive.org, so no excuses.

Now, a long quote. Pages 163-166, to be precise.


It is supposed that breaking and entering a man's home or office place without warrant is burglary. Granted. But the League has done that thousands of times and has never been detected! It is entirely naive and frank about that. It did not harm or unsettle any innocent man. It was after the guilty alone, and it was no time to mince matters or to pass fine phrases when the land was full of dangerous enemies in disguise. The League broke some little laws and precedents? Perhaps. But it upheld the great law under the great need of an unprecedented hour.

A man's private correspondence is supposed to be safe in his office files or vault. You suppose yours never was seen? Was it? Perhaps. It certainly was, if you were
known as a loyal citizen a true-blood American. But the League examined all of the personal and business correspondence of thousands of men who never were the wiser.

How could that be done ? Simply, as we shall see. Suppose there was a man, ostensibly a good business man, apparently a good citizen and a good American, but who at heart still was a good German as hundreds of thousands of such men living in America are this very day. This man has a big office in a down-town skyscraper. He is what the A. P. L. calls a "suspect." Let us call him Biedermacher.

About midnight or later, after all the tenants have gone home, you and I, who chance to be lieutenants and oper atives in the League, just chance in at the corridor of that building as we pass. We Just chance to find there the agent of the building who just chances also to wear the concealed badge of the A. P. L. You say to the agent of
the building, "I want to go through the papers of Biedermacher, Room 1117, in your building."

"John," the agent says to the janitor, "give me your keys, I've forgotten mine, and I want to go to my office a while with these gentlemen."

We three, openly, in fact, do go to Biedermacher's office. His desk is opened, his vault if need be it has been done a thousand times in every city of America. Certain letters or documents are found. They would be missed if taken away. What shall be done?

The operative takes from his pocket a curious little box-like instrument which he sets up on the table. He unscrews a light bulb, screws in the plug at the end of his long insulated wire. He has a perfectly effective electric camera.

One by one the essential papers of Biedermacher are photographed, page by page, and then returned to the files exactly--and that means exactly--in the place from which each was taken. The drawers and doors are locked again. Search has been made without a search warrant. The serving of a search warrant would have "queered" the whole case and would not have got the evidence. The camera film has it safe.

"Pretty wife and kids the fellow has," says the agent of the building, turning over the photographs which the simple and kindly Biedermacher, respected Board of Trade
broker, we will say, has in his desk. He turns them back again to exactly--exactly--the same position.

"Good night, John," he yawns to the janitor, when they meet him on the floor below. "Pretty late, isn't it?"

The three men pass out to the street and go home. Each of them in joining the League has sworn to break any social engagement to obey a call from the League headquarters at any hour of the day or night. Perhaps such engagements have been broken to-night by some or all of these three men. But no one has "broken and entered" Biedermacher's office.

In Central office some data are added to a card, cross-indexed by name and number also, and under a general guide. Some photostats, as these pictures are called, are put in the " case's " envelope. Nothing happens just yet. Biedermacher still is watched.

Then, one morning, an officer of the Department of Justice finds Mr. Biedermacher in his office. He takes from his pocket a folded paper and says, "In the name of the United States, I demand possession of a letter dated the 12th of last month, which you wrote to von Bernstorff in New York. I want a letter of the 15th of this month which you wrote to von Papen in Berlin. I want your list of the names of the United Sangerbund and German Brotherhood in America which you brought home from the last meeting. I want the papers showing the sums you have received from New York and Washington for your propaganda work here in this city. I want the letter received by you from seven Lutheran ministers in Wisconsin telling of their future addresses to the faithful."

"But, my God!" says Biedermacher, "what do you mean? I have no such letters here or anywhere else. I am innocent! I am as good an American as you are. I have bought a hundred thousand dollars' worth of Liberty bonds, some of each issue. My wife is in the Bed' Cross. I have a daughter in Y. W. C. A. I give to all the war charities. I am an American citizen. What do you mean by insulting me, sir?"

"John," says the officer to his drayman, "go to that desk. Take out all the papers in it. Here's the U. S. warrant, Mr. Biedermacher. Rope 'em up, John."

John ropes up the files, and the papers go in bulk to the office of the U. S. attorney on the case. Now, all the evidence is in possession of the Government, and the case is clear. Biedermacher is met quietly at the train when he tries to get out of town. Nothing gets into the papers. No one talks secrecy is the oath. But before long, the big Biedermacher offices are closed. Biedermacher's wife says her husband has gone south for his health. He has--to Oglethorpe.

You think this case imaginary, far-fetched, impossible? It is neither of the three. It is the truth. It shows how D. J. and A. P. L. worked together. This is a case which has happened not once but scores and hundreds of times. It is espionage, it is spy work, yes, and it has gone on to an extent of which the average American citizen, loyal or disloyal, has had no conception. It was, however, the espionage of a national self-defense. It was only in this way that the office and the mail and the home of the loyal citizen could be held inviolate. The web of the A. P. L. was precisely that of the submarine net. Invisible, it offered an apparently frail but actually efficient defense against the dastardly weapons of Germany. It must become plain at once that secret work such as this, carried on in such volume all across the country three million cases, involving an enormous mass of detail and an untold expenditure of time and energy, were disposed of meant system and organization to prevent over-lapping of work and consequent waste of time. It meant more than that there was needed also good judgment, individual shrewdness and of course, above all things, patience and hard work.

25 March 2009

Post 191

The Daily Show is not my favorite thing: Jon Stewart is often crude and rarely funny; when I catch a snippet here and there, I find myself giggling at his facial expressions and then chagrined as soon as he opens his mouth. Nevertheless, Mr. Stewart may be the most no-nonsense interviewer of this generation, and I always love to see him tearing holes in the deserving. So I give you Jon Stewart's interview with Jim Cramer--because it's pretty great.

One thing I'll say for Cramer: he had serious gumption to go up against the world's toughest interviewer and mediadom's most amazing team of footage collectors in front of a crowd that would only boo and hiss his every utterance. It took balls--balls I'm pretty sure he doesn't have any more.

Here's the unedited interview in three parts:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Jim Cramer Unedited Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Jim Cramer Unedited Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Jim Cramer Unedited Interview Pt. 3
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor

18 March 2009

Post 190

Google's technology frightens me--and I like it.

A couple days ago, for the first time ever, I bothered to glance at Google Reader's recommendations for me, and I found this blog. It is awesome.

And I'm going to end this post now so you don't tell yourself, "Oh, Schmetterling rambled on for so long, I just don't have time to follow any links right now!"

So go, my people, and enjoy literalness.

12 March 2009

Post 189

I'm in a hurry, but I collected these tidbits while I was scanning today so I could post them here. I have no time to comment on them, but I hope you see their value anyway. These are from various issues of THE INDEPENDENT in 1915:

10 March 2009

Post 188


So, I keep emailing myself the interesting things I come across while scanning articles, and I'm tired of them sitting in my Gmail inbox, so I'm posting them here.

First up, interesting surnames I've encountered: Popcorn, Raper, Wellborn.

Next, words that I encountered in the first 20 years of the 20th century that I assume I never would have encountered otherwise: concomitant, recrudescence, suffraget, mortifications, manufactory.

Now that that's out of the way, here's the really interesting stuff:

I thought that English spelling was standardized back around the time that the printing press was introduced to the British Isles, but I have found that that isn't exactly the case (though it's true for most things, I think). A magazine called The Independent used a lot of spellings in the early 1900s that nowadays would be considered wrong. The first I noticed were things like tho and thru, so I figured it was just some kind of spelling (like telegraphic syntax in newspaper headlines), but then I noticed that it wasn't just -ough sorts of words that were spelled differently. Here are all the ones I noticed:

tho, altho, thoro, thoroly, thorofares, thru, thruout

every one (used in a context where we would now use everyone)


My favorite spelling difference was the -t past tense. We still have it today in words like kept, but back in pre-WWI America, it was a lot wider spread. Here are words I found:

imprest, publisht, exprest, represt, drest, fixt, whipt, prest, wrapt, developt, equipt, trapt, mixt, discust, addrest, possest

Lest you think that this is some kind of ancient history, that the language is no longer changing because the rules are set, let me move us into a more recent time frame:

A few weeks ago, I was scanning articles from U.S. News and World Report in the 1980s (remember the Honda ad I posted?). I was shocked when I realized that USNWR didn't standardize its title capitalization until 1986. In the early '80s, the capitalization of words in article titles was totally arbitrary (for example, in an issue dated 15 July 1985, they printed an article called "TV: Does It Box In President in a Crisis?" Note that in is capitalized the first time but not the second time--isn't that crazy?? I find it fascinated that the first one gets capitalized by virtue of being an adverbial particle [I assume] and the second one is not capitalized because it's obviously a preposition. Amazing). But starting January 1986, the made a rule: just capitalize the first word unless you have a proper noun in the title (1986 titles include "How far will the price of gasoline drop—and how soon?" and "The new shape of Hollywood").

Cool, huh? Anybody? Anybody?

...nobody understands me....

Of more general interest, perhaps, are these quotes I lifted from various 1908 issues of The Independent:

"Into the office of District-Attorney Jerome there came one day a grief-bowed, broken-hearted old man." (Weird, weird, weird construction, I say.)

"He said little, being a dumb fellow by nature"

Have the United States Judges Adequate Salaries? (Article title. Would we ever write such an article these days?)

"That is what we need in fiction—more manual labor and less indecent mental dexterity." (Here here! Are you listening, Hollywood? I am talking to you!)

"There are the familiar roadside signs: 'Town limit. Motor vehicles limited to twelve miles an hour." Has any motor party ever taken such a warning seriously? The maximum placed by the inexperienced authorities is low, and no pretense of obeying is made.

"And what if violators are arrested? Some inconvenience, a few dollars' fine —and that is all, as a rule. It is part of the game. [...]

"It is certainly an absurd thing for the lawmakers to consume their gray matter in constructing statutes designed to prevent automobiles from going more than twenty miles an hour on the public roads, while at the same time and in the same jurisdiction manufacturers are permitted openly to - urge every one to buy their cars, war-ranted to maintain a speed of sixty miles an hour on those very roads!" (Hehe. We might say the same today, no? Are you listening, Ferrari? I am talking to you!)

And that's all I've got.

Don't you wish your job was cool like mine?

04 March 2009

Post 187

I've always admired the brainwork accomplished by those who are good at the Kevin Bacon game, but I've never been able to join in because I don't know that I've ever actually seen a Kevin Bacon movie and I'm pretty terrible and remembering who's been in what anyway. But today I caught the vision of it as I played with some guys at work. Even though I'm still Kevin-Bacon retarded, I know enough to connect him to Tom Hanks in Apollo 13, and I know a few tricks that allow me to connect Tom Hanks to just about anybody--but only so long as nobody enforces a set number of degrees. I can now fully appreciate just how awesome it feels to make the connection between seemingly unrelated celebrities, which I never really got before.

The only reason I bring this up, though, is this chain I came up with (there is probably a shorter way, if any of you who a more movie savvy than I am want to undertake it, but this is good enough for me):

Kevin Bacon was in Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks, who was in Cast Away with Helen Hunt, who was in As Good as It Gets with Greg Kinnear, who was in Little Miss Sunshine with Alan Arkin, who was in Marly&Me with Owen Wilson, who was in Cars with Cheech Marin, who was in Oliver&Co. with--you guessed it!--Billy Joel.

The Seven Degrees of Billy Joel--now there's a game worth playing!

Post 186

I've been thinking about habits lately, and I've decided that there's no such thing as a good habit. I can't think of one, at least. It seems like, once something becomes a habit, it can't be really good any more. I mean, I see it all the time in Mormon culture--even in my own life--that when, say, praying becomes a habit, you find yourself blessing the food when you're going to bed and praying by name for a prophet who died more than a year ago. When scripture study becomes a habit, it ceases to be study and is reduced to staring unseeingly at a word-covered page.

I suppose one might argue that something like exercise doesn't depend on ardent attention: if you get up every morning and go for a run, it'll do your heart some good regardless of how much you put your heart into it. [I intended that to be clever, but I think I missed my mark. Any suggestions on that?] But I disagree. If I set a goal to be able to do 100 push-ups in a go (ha! that'll be the day...), and I hop out of bed every morning and crank out some push-ups, I may very well see the day when I can do 100, but if, once I have achieved that goal, it becomes a habit for me to hop out of bed every morning and do 100 push-ups, then I cease to progress and merely maintain a new status quo. If I go out and habitually run every morning, my running will probably decrease in zeal over time until it is no sort of exercise at all.

I guess my biggest beef is with that motivational poster I see from time to time--something about thoughts becoming words becoming deeds becoming habits becoming destiny-defining character--because it's naught to me but a pretty little platitude, an emerald slippery-slide argument, charming fatalism. Furthermore, I've had a lot of thoughts that sublimated directly into actions without bothering to become words, and actions can similarly impact destiny without bothering to become habits or characteristics: just drive drousily one time and run over a young mother--you don't have to make a habit of it, you'll still go to jail.

And those are my thoughts for the day.

03 March 2009

Post 185

Bored? Do a Google Image search for 'carbage' and feel happy that you have better things to do with your time than some folks.

12 February 2009

Post 184

If only. If only....

10 February 2009

Post 183

In 1982, Honda ran this ad in the US:

We're still not listening.

31 January 2009

Post 182

So I decided a while ago that I was sick of having a link to a profile at the top of my blog (you'll notice that I didn't bother with it on my newer blog), but I like that butterfly so much that I just couldn't part with it. Today I decided it was time for it to go, but I made the butterfly into a banner to put with my blog's title and description so it could stick around. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the B/W-ness of the picture, it looked really goofy on my old template, so I put it on this white background where it's more at home.

And now my blog looks really bland and boring.

But that's okay. I mean, you come here for the words, not the look, right?

I dunno.... I hope this is temporary, but I don't feel like putting any serious effort into making it look nicer, so it may not be.

22 January 2009

Post 181

This is pretty much the coolest thing I've ever encountered. It gives me so much hope for me and my future endeavors. I give you "How Ballad Writing Affects Our Seniors" by the late, great Ernest Hemingway, age 19:

Oh, I've never writ a ballad
And I'd rather eat shrimp salad,
(Tho' the Lord knows how I hate the
Pink and scrunchy little beasts),
But Miss Dixon says I gotto-
(And I pretty near forgotto)
But I'm sitting at my table
And my feet are pointing east.

Now one stanza, it is over-
Oh! Heck, what rhymes with "Over"?
Ah! yes; "I'm now in clover,"
But when I've got that over
I don't yet know what to write.
I might write of young Lloyd Boyle,
Sturdy son of Irish soil,
But to write of youthful Boyle
Would involve increasing toil,
For there is so much material
I'd never get it done.

Somewhere in this blessed metre
There's a crook. The stanzas peter
Out before I get them started
Just like that one did, just then.
But I'll keep a-writing on
Just in hope some thought will strike me.
When it does, I'll let it run
Just in splashes off my pen.

(Wish that blamed idea would come.)
I've been writing for two pages,
But it seems like countless ages,
For I've scribbled and I've scribbled,
But I haven't said a thing.
This is getting worse each minute,
For whatever I put in it
I shall have to read before the English class.

'Know where I would like to be-
Just a-lyin' 'neath a tree.
Watchin' clouds up in the sky-
Fleecy clouds a-sailin' by
And we'd look up in the blue-
Only me, an' maybe you.
I could write a ballad then
That would drip right off my pen.
(Aw shucks)

For the future I shall promise
(IF you let me live this time),
I'll ne'er write another ballad-
Never venture into rhyme.

13 January 2009

Post 180

This comes at you from an article called "A Public Servant of the Northwest: The Fruitful Career of the Late Governor John S. Pillsbury, of Minnesota" in the December 1901 issue of The American Monthly Review of Reviews:

his impulse always was : " Act ; act now ; act effectively ; act for the greatest good." He belonged to the type of man who "does things."

11 January 2009

Post 179

From Hong's translation of Kierkegaard's Works of Love, pg 20:

But you shall love God in unconditional obedience, even if what he requires of you might seem to you to be to your own harm, indeed, harmful to his cause; for God's wisdom is beyond all comparison with yours, and God's governance has no obligation of responsibility in relation to your sagacity. All you have to do is to obey in love.

08 January 2009

Post 178

I love--love!--my job. And my life. And Outlook magazine. Love! Love I say!

Last post, I gave you a little tidbit. This time, I can't resist--I'm giving you almost an entire article. I'm not really sure what this means as far as copyright laws, but Outlook is, I assume, defunct (near as I can tell, Wikipedia hasn't even heard of it: it has several Outlook magazines in its Outlook disambiguation page, but the one I'm making copies of was a weekly magazine published somewhere in the US on a weekly basis, and that doesn't match any of Wikipedia's descriptions, so I can only assume that the Outlook I know and love doesn't exist anymore), so I can't really ask permission. See, the last one was over 100 years old, so it's probably public domain, but this is coming at you from June 1913, so I'm not sure what that means--and don't really care enough to look.


Anyway, this is excerpts from "Aircraft and the Future" by Waldemar Kaempffert (see? given the date, the title is exciting, and you've gotta love a name like Waldemar Kaempffert, so I hope you're as intrigued as I was):


An aeroplane is like any soaring bird of prey in this: It cannot leap into the air straight from the ground. A cage completely open at the top will serve to confine a vulture. Before he can fly he must be in motion. In other words, he must run along the ground at constantly increasing speed until the pressure of the air beneath his wings becomes great enough to support him. He is in no better position than a boy's kite, which can be raised on a calm day only by much assiduous running against the breeze. Consider the aeroplane as a motor-driven kite, in which the pull or the thrust of a screw takes the place of the string, or consider it as a mechanical vulture, and it becomes apparent that it cannot leap straight up into the air, that it must first be propelled along the ground at automobile speed. Add to the necessity of acquiring rapid preliminary motion not only the disadvantage of size—most flying-machines have a spread of about thirty to forty feet—but also the enormous difficulty of rising above tall buildings in the teeth of the inevitable eddies and maelstroms of air, which, could we but see them, would seem fearfully like the torrents that boil and rage in the Whirlpool Rapids of Niagara, and even the man who has never ridden on the atmosphere, and who has only a vague notion of the incessant vigilance and the acrobatic skill required to keep a machine on an even keel, will realize that municipalities must adapt themselves to the limitations of the aeroplane, if we are to fly from the heart of one city to that of another. Even were it possible to utilize the broadest avenues, the hurricane set up by a propeller that whirls around at a speed of twelve hundred revolutions a minute, so that it seems like a solid glittering disk, would be intolerable. You ask, Why not turn to the lawns of our public parks? Because the few green open spaces provided for a population of a million or more, even if they could be encroached upon without encountering stubborn resistance, would be neither numerous nor large enough to meet the requirements of hundreds of aviators waiting for an opportunity to vault into the air, or, wheeling in wide circles, ready to snatch the first chance to alight. If streets cannot be used because the aviator may be buffeted by treacherous currents against stone walls, and if park lawns are too few, obviously only the roof is left. Housetops, then, must be adapted to the needs of aerial navigation. That end will be achieved far more easily than may be supposed.


In the first place, the chasms that separate buildings on the opposite sides of streets and yards will be bridged by gratings, which will cut off but little light and air; and, in the second place, the chimney-pots and ventilating-pipes that now adorn housetops, designed before the aeroplane arrived, will be surmounted by wooden platforms, each carried on a light steel framework. New buildings will be constructed to meet the special requirements of the aviator. In the metropolis of the future, therefore, those quarters in which structures are of approximately equal height will be covered by single roofs, each perhaps a square mile in area and more. Equally simple of solution is the problem of housing the thousands of flying-machines that will throng the air. Some of the many-floored automobile garages of the present city could be employed for the storing of flying-machines. If a military machine of our own day can be taken apart and packed in a motor van in less than ten minutes, no remarkable prophetic gift is required to foresee a machine which, when collapsed, will occupy less room than a seven-passenger touring car of 1913, and which can be lifted to the roof by an elevator of the type now to be found in every city garage.


The railway created the modern suburb—made it a residential part of the city on the outskirts of which it is built. Similarly, the flying-machine will bring the city and country measurably nearer each other. Let us not forget that even in our own time, with machines that will seem childishly crude a century hence, speeds of more than one hundred miles an hour have been attained. It is not too daring to predict that farm-houses will become suburban cottages; that the scattered population of rural districts will become direct customers of the city merchant ; that the lecturer, the virtuoso, the lawyer, the banker, will all be able to increase their clientele. Because of its great speed and its radius of action, the future aeroplane will be able to cover the distance between and Chicago in a few hours. It is not inconceivable that a man may breakfast in New York or London and dine the same evening in St. Louis or Rome. The inhabitants of towns far inland will spend their summer holidays at the seashore. Florida will become a kind of winter Coney Island for New York. When the age of the aeroplane and the air-ship really comes, new political problems will arise. What, for example, will become of our present tariff laws ? Can we prevent smuggling in a machine that travels in three dimensions ? When Selmet flew from London to Paris, some months ago, he entered the French capital above the clouds and saw only a sea of mist with no sign of a spire or roof. When he landed at Issy-les-Moulineaux, on the outskirts of the city, he had to explain at length who he was. Even in this twentieth century, when flying-machines are still novelties, he was mistaken for the pilot of an ordinary school aeroplane returning from a short outing. En route he had made two landings. No one had noticed them. Nor was his course through the air more narrowly observed, simply because he was hidden by clouds. When the atmosphere becomes in truth a highway, and the whirring of an aeroplane's propellers as common as the chugging of an automobile motor, will it be possible to prevent the smuggling of jewels, laces, and silks, and those smaller, easily carried articles of luxury, now subject to an import tax by many countries? Or will it be possible, by policing the atmosphere above the border line, to prevent violation of the customs laws?


Policing of some kind will surely be necessary above European fortifications, now jealously guarded from the eyes of the military spy. It is not likely that the long line of fortresses on either side of the boundary that separates France from Germany may be sailed over without calling forth a warning signal from a sentinel wheeling with clock-like regularity over that region, which a hostile eye may not study. Over cities, too, the aerial sentry or policeman will be found. A thousand aeroplanes flying to the opera must be kept in line and each allowed to alight upon the roof of the auditorium in its proper turn. In giant circles you can imagine them soaring in a huge flock. Signals will be made by a policeman in a swift monoplane (on his arm he wears the orange wings of the aerial traffic squad), and one by one the machines of the boxholders will separate from the great spinning cluster and glide down. A liveried attendant will assist the passengers as they clamber out. So every hotel, office building, and drygoods store must see to it that its roof is utilized in an orderly way by the flocks of aerial taxicabs and private machines. If a faulty motor compels an immediate descent, an emergency signal will be given; by day, a rocket that leaves a trail of black smoke; by night, a flash of light conspicuous in color. How can the man in the air pick out the roof for which he is bound? A dozen ways of disentangling roof from roof immediately suggest themselves. Colors and numbers will probably be employed in some distinctive way, and perhaps painted geometrical designs (squares, circles, and triangles) will serve to distinguish public aerial garages, hotels, and theaters from one another. The elevator platforms on which machines will be lifted will surely be painted a vivid color, contrasting with that of the roof itself, and an attendant will be constantly on duty to signal to those in the air when they may descend and use the elevator. Quick to awaken to the possibilities of the roof will be the advertiser. He will plaster it, whenever he can do so without misleading the airman, with pictures and legends, proclaiming the virtues of his pills and soaps, his breakfast foods and his safety razors. The signs which now flank every railway, and which inform the passenger that the particular marsh at which he is languidly gazing is “ten miles from Bloomer's Emporium," will find their counterparts in huge advertisements that lie flat on their backs and stare up at the population of the atmosphere. In their horizontal position they will be as useful as the vertical sign erected for the benefit of the railway traveler, for they, too, will indicate the proximity of a town, and serve as guideposts for the aerial navigator.


Indeed, the guiding of the airman will become so highly important that governments will set about the task of mapping the ocean of air as carefully as ever the waters about a rocky coast have been charted. With the aid of a compass and an official map (a band, perhaps a hundred feet long, which can be unrolled from one cylinder upon another beneath a sheet of transparent celluloid, and which will clearly indicate the position of church spires, telegraph and telephone wires, forests, railways, and tall factory chimneys) the aerial navigator will pick his way through the blue. But suppose that it is night, or that a dense fog veils the terrain below? Is he helpless? Not when a really efficient set of wireless instruments has been invented for the use of aviators. He will clap his wireless receiver to his head and listen for the guiding signals of the nearest government transmitter of aerial waves. Every little village will have its wireless station, electrically controlled from a central weather bureau or geographical office hundreds of miles away. Only in the droning central station will operators be found, for automatic instruments will send out the signals from the smaller stations, instruments that are mechanically or electrically controlled, just as United States Naval Observatory time is now transmitted from a master clock to hundreds of timepieces. All this applies to the air-ship as well as to the flying-machine. For, although the giant Zeppelins of our time were destroyed with disheartening regularity, it must not be supposed that the aeroplane will completely displace the dirigible. Count von Zeppelin's leviathans have come to grief, not in the air, but when anchored near the ground in a gale. A stranded schooner, battered by huge waves against a reef, is in a predicament only a shade worse than that of a Zeppelin anchored in a hurricane. The Zeppelin is not simply hammered and twisted, but is also exposed to the dangers of static electricity generated by friction. A single electric spark has been known to ignite the highly explosive buoyant gas with which the envelope compartments of a Zeppelin are filled, and to reduce a vessel costing one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to a chaos of twisted metal.


To guard against such accidents, steel towers have been latterly proposed (a small one has even been erected in), from the tops of which the ships may swing with the wind like so many weather-vanes. High above the roofs of the future city, higher even than the tallest office buildings of the present, these towers are destined to loom—Eiffel towers padded at the top to prevent injury to the ships in possible collisions. They will not be erected haphazard, with no regard to their location in the city, but, lest they interfere with aerial traffic, they will fringe the city like the steamship wharves of the present. In your mind's eye can't you see the elevators conveying passengers upward through the maze of steel girders to the great ships tethered above, casting enormously long shadows on the roofs and streets below? Can't you see a transatlantic air-liner starting on its voyage simply by floating off with the wind or by backing off with reversed propellers? Can't you see another approaching a tower very closely against the wind? Can't you see the first thin rope cast from the ship uncoiling like a long serpent? Can't you see the hawser tied to that rope hauled in? Can't you hear the gong that tells the engineer to reverse his propellers, so that the ship may be stopped almost instantly and made fast? Surely the mooring of a future air-liner will be fully as impressive, fully as spectacular, fully as ceremonious as the mooring of a Lusitania. It will even be exciting in a gale; for, if the wind is blowing with a velocity greater than the maximum speed of the ship, it is not difficult to imagine the captain approaching the tower stern first on the windward side, slowly drifting back with the gale, against which he is running with the propellers revolving at full speed. As they disembark the passengers will all pass up into the tapering nose of the envelope, out through a door, and step upon a platform which swings with the ship in the wind. All the experience of the present justifies the assumption that both aeroplanes and airships will cleave the air. How big will they be? To the size of the air-ship there is no theoretical limit. Indeed, the bigger it is the more economically can it be operated. If there were any good reason for doing so, and if the passenger demands of the present were great enough, Count von Zeppelin could no doubt design a dirigible longer than any transatlantic liner, and drive it from Sicily to Liverpool and back on a schedule that could be maintained with fair regularity, even with the imperfect meteorological data at present supplied by weather bureaus. But the aeroplane, on the other hand, is not capable of unlimited magnification. It is not likely that it will ever carry more than five or seven passengers. High-speed monoplanes will carry even less. Compared with them biplanes and triplanes—both good weight lifters and carriers—will seem as lumberingly slow as a sightseeing automobile.