28 July 2012

Paper Facebook


The entity known as Facebook should be legally required to make itself available in paper form, so that those who lack access to computers are no longer deprived of their inalienable right to participate in the defining social phenomenon of the period roughly 2007-2015.

At the very least, it should not be allowed to call itself a book.  Books are made of paper, or failing that, can be read on a Kindle.  A name change to Facewebsite, Friend-e-pages, BuddyPlatform, Virtual Palville or the like should be mandated by law.  Either words mean what they mean, or they don't.  We can't have it both ways.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to the dual problems of lack of access and improper nomenclature.  The answer is Paper Facebook.

Imagine that every morning – wait, no: up to six times per day, depending on your payment plan, proximity to the local post office, and the weather – you have delivered to your mailbox a handsomely bound volume of printouts of screen shots of status updates from your friends.  With each of these 'Newsfeeds' comes a response form: you can tick a box to Like something, write (or typewrite) in your comment, attach a web link or, for those without computers, the address or phone number of a person or publication to serve as a reference or perhaps provide some humorous perspective on the issue at hand … and so on and so forth.  When done affix postage to the return envelope and send to the Virtual Palville data processing center for entry / uploading.  If you want to 'download' a photo simply fill out Request for Image Form RIH370-J and mail it in along with $1.50 for shipping and handling and a SASE.  As volume is high, expect to receive your photos within 45 business days. 

Think of how many jobs this would create – there goes unemployment, right there.  And they would be good jobs.  Folks always be kvetching that they want their job to be doing something they love, well they're already clicking around on Faceburg all day anyway, now they’d have a job doing it, and with decent benefits, and Zuck would be the one paying them but heck he should be paying them.  They would be earning good money helping friends share with each other, which is really the most important thing in life, so they would be delighted to do it and have nothing to gripe about.  Can't really see any downside.

Okay more forests will be cut down but hey, that's just life in the internet age.  We can’t stop these unstoppable trends and if it means we have to cut down our forests again, Paper Faceborg will totally be worth it for the opportunity it provides to simultaneously neglect and overshare with people who are at least in some sense our friends.  Future generations will thank us for the hysterical internet memes we leave behind which will provide them a cheap source of entertainment in the bleak times to come, which are just an abstraction for us but the only reality they will ever know.

So come on People of the Legislature (O Mighty Lawmakers lol):  Get off your elbows already and start imposing senseless mandates on Facebank.

19 July 2012

Animals: We Wanna Borrow From the Future Too

Humans are the cleverest animals, one proof of this assertion being that we are the only species to have created the means to live beyond our means.  Only humans can borrow from the future.

Imagine acquiring food and shelter, impressing a potential mate, and so on, based on something that does not yet exist and may in fact never be.  Genius, or chutzpah?  You be the judge.

But if humans are animals then so are animals, and so the animals have decided that if humans can do it, then non-human animals certainly can too.

Animals are now demanding access to micro-credit financing, a sort of Grameen Bank for the furred and the feathered.

Let's say a hungry squirrel can borrow twenty or so acorns against next year's gathering in order to get through a particularly trying winter.  Or maybe she thinks it would be a better investment to have an extra two or three pups this year, when there's an early spring or to take advantage of particularly low interest rates, and then spread out the cost over several years of low monthly payments.  Currently in nature there is no simple way for her to accomplish this.  She can save a limited amount of acorns, but the earnings are effectively negative due to decomposition and the depredations of the lower orders. There is no mechanism for her to borrow against future earnings, and this in effect is a denial of her rights as a nonhuman animal.

If a squirrel had access to credit, say it could borrow enough to invest in something like a popcorn machine, just think what a squirrel selling popcorn to the other squirrels could make.  Squirrels love popcorn.  This squirrel could then franchise the business, creating good jobs for many other squirrels while retiring to live fat off their hard work for the rest of its life.  (Only on the order of ten years or so, let's keep in mind.)

Of course many will argue that it is only the elites of the animal kingdom, the top 0.1 % in terms of net wealth, the rent-seekers (or 'job creators' if you prefer) who live on the toils of the lower classes (not to mention phyla), who will really benefit from this development.  But this short-sighted view is based on a misconception of nature as a zero-sum game: in fact, one squirrel's gain need not be another's loss, or in other words a rising tide lifts all stoats.

The question is not so much whether humans should allow this nor whether we can stop it, but how we can profit from it.  It is the next natural step in the evolution of the animal kingdom.  We enjoy dominion over the entire planet (more or less) and lord it over all animal species:  why should they not be our debt slaves too? 

Animal micro-credit is coming:  you can bank on that.  I'm former child star actor Bobby Donatelli who went on to sell depilatory creams on late-night cable, reporting live from right here where I’m trying to rebuild my brand as a no-nonsense journalist, live at the scene, reporting.  Alex?

10 July 2012

Filed Under Random Nonsense

Found this written on the back of an envelope that had fallen behind my freezer as I was cleaning it the other day:  “He was as tough a customer as y’ever come across, and among the most hypocritical too.  First he’d go and get high, then he’d get his horse high, then he’d get on his high horse and lecture anyone in earshot on the evils of substance abuse.”

Swimming is among the healthiest forms of exercise, and raw carrots high on the list of healthy foods, yet the attempt by this reviewer to enjoy the two simultaneously somehow failed to achieve the expected synergies.  More experiments may be in order.

Just for the heck of it I Googled ceremoniously unsexy wombat and it came back with 153 results last year, but today it is up to 595 results.  Not enough to identify a clear trend perhaps, but it seems far from true that ostentatious, unattractive wombats are no longer a thing to be reckoned with.

I just want to be able to put food on the table.  Oh and beverages, maybe some booze and a deck of cards or a board game.

OK, we need a plan and we need a purpose.  But the purpose cannot pretend there is no suffering, because there isn’t.  Such cacophony is not for the wicked.  It is for the elderly.  Unless a turnkey solution is available from a vendor with the same or similar price structure.  The embodiment of lemons is not Liz Lemon any more than Alec the Bald wins the gold prize for filibustering a nuthatch.  In croquet we cannot trust.  Oh goodness we’ve gone off again.  Somebody hit Reset.  There that’s got it.

So I’m opening a new restaurant, hope you’ll stop by when you’re tired, hungry, and yearning to breathe free (we will not charge you for the oxygen).  We will be serving milkshakes in two flavors: Regular and Other.

The whistleblower blows his whistle, but who’s blowing the whistleblower?  And if a whistleblower blows the whistle, in the woods, with no journalist there to cover it, does it make a splash?

What if there’s a God, but he’s just like the God of Earth, so he’s literally up there in heaven, above the atmosphere, and he does control things down here on earth, meting out justice as he sees fit, sending floods and tornadoes to punish the wicked, right, he’s omnipotent, but only within the domain of the Earth-Moon system.  Will such a God ever permit us to really explore space?  And if somehow we did venture to another solar system, and meet another God, wouldn’t that make a great movie?

She had a body that wouldn’t quit, but her face dripped with resignation.

Every Oreo I eat I really savor™.  Like I’m in that scene in The Pianist at the train depot, when they each get a tiny taste of chocolate as they’re waiting to be hauled away.  Let it melt in your mouth, savoring to the last atom, not knowing when – or if – such pleasure will come again.  (Thoughtful pause.)  I’ll eat a whole bag that way.