Author Archives: Anonymole

About Anonymole

Do you like grubs?

Dear Mudge, Ray Harryhausen

 

ClashOfTitans

Dear Mudge,

I recently got “written up” at work. It seems that when I speak my mind, I get in trouble. I’d gotten into dust-ups prior to this one (it’s only been a year), but this latest had happened with a person closely attached to the boss’ boss and so resulted in HR action. I did reach out and ameliorate the rift—a walk to the local coffee shop, but the incident brand my mind with the implications of termination. Just. Keep. Your. Damn. Mouth. Shut, has become my new mantra. Needless to say, recent weeks have seen me exhibiting a lassitude seldom witnessed. Speaking my mind here however, is never an issue.

~~~

We’ve managed to gather up a bevy of interesting topics thus far. I’m sure others will join the fray. Returning to one…

You’re right, Occam’s razor should have been our first go-to solution per our shared, seemingly hypocritical adoption of societal conformity. There’s a reason downstream is more attractive than upstream/cross-stream. Adolescent salmon would have a thing or two to tell us. I suppose though, rebellion comes as a spectrum. I, for one, will never truly fit in anywhere except for the recessed niches of my mind. But outwardly, I appear as if molded by society’s template; I wear shoes and pants, smile at strangers, hold doors for old ladies, and rarely piss behind alleyway dumpsters.

Indulgences (and indigestion) aside, the Epicureans may have something yet to teach us. I’ll dig through my (google) notes and try and derive some useful suggestions. Stewie the Stoic, though pithy, provided little in the way of true guidance in this time of Absurd Universe contemplation. (On first pass, Epicurus has much to say about friendship.)

In the mean time, perhaps we could play to your recently acquired pastime (obsession?). I’d suggest that in your examination of television shows you profess a hidden pedantic inclination to be a student of society. This, I believe, you originally offered in our opening salvos of correspondence. Well then, let’s dial this in, shall we. (Christ! Ignore my plebeian attempts at humor, I’m such an adolescent when it comes to clever word-play.)

Ahem. So, what of Special Effects.

How the hell did anyone accept the visual papier-mâché that pre-2000’s special effects offered in movies and television? Today, one can barely (if at all) tell CG imagery from real life. Coming away from any movie these days, you’d be forgiven for the impression that what you witnessed wasn’t a documentary.

But FX of yester-year? Talk about major suckage. How could we have been taken in by such poor attempts at sur-reality? Were we that gullible, that blind to the clay-mation over our eyes?

I suppose the question is, were we actually duped? And regardless, did it matter?

Your friend,
Mole


Magnesium: Movies in my mind

For whatever reason, my wife has decided to perform chemical experiments on me.

Sure, what the hell, YODO right? (you only die once).

Vitamin D is one that I personally know helps with feeling blue. Within hours my mood will crawl its way out from the quagmire it typically slinks within, and upon reflection, I have to admit that I feel better.

Lately she’s been administering a new pill: Magnesium. She says it’s to help me stay asleep while she roams the halls at three am dealing with the cats and her own foibles. Fine, hand it over. Gulp.

Holy shit, what a trip!

The sleeping dreams I’m having are fantastic. They’re cogent and consistent and go on and on. What is normally a spastic-scene slap-together is now a double feature movie. Last night’s had a talking, mathematician newborn whom we somehow acquired. There was this wicked car accident (unwitnessed) which left an old girl friend’s mother hanging from a ledge. When I went to help, I pushed this columnar rock down the chasm, as I recall the image, watching it teeter and tumble amazes me still.

The variety and cinematic treatment is better than virtual reality—I’m there, participating and it’s kick-ass.

“Do you want to keep taking these?” she asks.

Hell, yes!


Dear Mudge, Spicy or mild

Dear Mudge,

People think the Northwest is nothing but conifer trees. Around here, we’re covered with temperate trees which have recently shed their billions of leaves. Red and white oak (you recall the post about acorns from last fall), big-leaf maple, birch, elm, alder and others have dropped their coats blanketing the yards, streets and sidewalks. I walk to and from work and have had to wade through such drifts of deciduous dandruff. While suspended, the colors were vivid. But now, mixed with rain and ground to paste on the pavement, they’re as slippery as snot.

I don’t think much about god(s) for the same reason I don’t think about Leprechauns or mermaids. In my earlier decades I used to spend hours on the topic (including Leprechauns and mermaids). Now, I gravitate toward more concrete topics with my one deviation being the contemplation of the heat death of the Universe and the end of everything.

In regards to Mr. Houston’s quoted—quoted quote “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” I disagree. My analysis has resulted in the opposite conclusion. My research has concluded that, given that the Universe is absurd, there is nothing to *believe* in.

However, people, in general, are programmed to believe. To believe in whatever, take your pick… Belief is a survival tactic. And surviving is Job One.

I’ve chosen to forgo belief (and I’m waffling on survival).

Those words were selected with intent. I’m convinced humanity is pre-programmed. You, me, we are pre-programmed—by DNA. In fact, we ARE the program and DNA is the code.

Why do you and I (and others no doubt), reject all meaning, yet become irritated with others for the stupidest of behaviors or transgressions? Programming. They’re behaving outside our idea of acceptable norms. Why do we create and obey the rules, protect the Commons (pick up dog shit), and generally treat each other without open hostility? Programming. DNA has made us this way.

When we reject our programming, it’s hard. Unless you’re a sociopath (or a psychopath), we are genetically predisposed to conform to certain behaviors. I’m a firm advocate of E.O.Wilson’s The Altruism Gene, else humanity would still be roving in small bands across the African plains, not giving a shit, really, about one another. But we do give a shit. And by doing so, by caring, I think we react to others when they themselves fail to care. We’re programmed to care. Society is built on caring.

Behind my eyebrows you’ll find—a program—that I’m trying to rewrite.

I propose that by rejecting theistic tendencies, you are also rewriting your own program. And, as we’ve explored, we re-programmers are a lonely lot. Most would merrily plug along with DNA choosing their future.

In my personal re-coding efforts, I’ve not performed the exhaustive analysis of the existential options as I believe you have, but, I’ve tried a few. One I’d like to explore now, since thus far I’ve found none that fit me well, is the Epicurean philosophy. We are, after all, still here, so we’re not fully divorced from our programming. And if we’re not going to fully reject DNA’s sway over our lives, we might consider some thought experiment which, if nothing else, provides us momentary happiness.

What are your thoughts on Epicurus and his buddy Titus Lucretius? I know that Seneca both adored and despised Epicurus, but I’m hoping we could dwell on, oh, good drink, fine food (spicy and mild) and mind-bending drugs for a while. (Oh, and for Duke and Phil’s sake, we could discuss SEX, too.)

Epicurus


Dear Mudge, Dog Turds

Dear Mudge,

You find me well if also jaded. The jading, I must admit, is my own fault.

You mentioned the concept of God in your last correspondence. Ha, you don’t start with the small things, do you? Right to the heart of the world with you. Why God, you ask. My personal observation of such a question comes down to two connected concepts: ignorance and power. I think I’ll focus on the first.

Neil deGrasse Tyson presents the best, if rather long video on the topic of God and ignorance.

Essentially, at the edge of our understanding, where ignorance begins, humanity chooses to believe in a fabrication rather than to let the absence of information dwell.

I attribute this grasping at an impossible notion to originate from three separate sources.

  1. Stupidity. You know I drone on about this, but half of the population (nearly four billion people) is cursed (blessed?) with an IQ of less than 100. The concept of “God” is certainly an easy one to adopt, don’t you think? These folk may not be capable of believing in anything but.
  2. Solace. The Absurd Universe it a cold, callous and uncaring thing. A God that listens (we assume), that periodically grants wishes (serendipitously), is everywhere, knows everything (of course!) would be a helluva lot better shoulder to cry on when your parent, child, or (gasp) your dog dies. A meaningless universe less so, no?
  3. Stubbornness. You have the smarts, you’re not suffering, yet still you cling to dubious dogmatic doctrine. These folk, I’d wager, have emotional investment in a deity they just as soon not abandon.

Geeze, listen to me blather on. It’s your own fault you know. Flip on my analysis mode and I’m off to the races.

I mentioned that my own jading being self-inflicted. The above theories on religion are a perfect segue to my listlessness. Were I one of the above mentioned peoples I’d at least have an adopted, if false purpose. Having analyzed my way out from under all such nonsense, however, I’m left with that indifferent universe staring me back in the face. Jaded? Yeah, against my own existence.

But, let’s not get so mired down in such talk. You responded with a set of pastimes that bend your mind away from your own personal void: humor, music, dogs and weed. My own dog, Katie, a dedicated Labrador, gone these last six years, and I were a team. The one topic I feel compelled to discus is feces. I taught Katie to “party large” before we went beyond our yard, walking the ‘hood.

Rather than say “go pee” I opted for a humorous “party”, to which she’d oblige me. Party large came later, but no less successful.

In a society where dogs must be walked and shit shoveled, else crap coat the soles of shoes everywhere, what of the tragedy of the commons? That is, even those of us emptied of meaning, sucked dry by the absurd universe, still find ourselves adhering to society’s rules. Why?

It’s finally getting cold and weathery up here in the Northwest. October was a banner month of cold nights and sunny days, perfect for walking (albeit dogless).

Your friend,
‘Mole

BlueLeash


Dear Mudge, Black Licorice

Dear Mudge,

I love black licorice. That weird multi-colored bridge-mix. Australian soft. Whips, dips, spirals and the archaic but cherished Good n’ Plenty.GoodnPlenty

One of the reasons that I enjoy this candy so much is that, for a moment, when I eat licorice I forget about how absurd and pointless the universe is. The flavor is ancient. Anise, fennel, and even the licorice root itself (which is actually bad for your heart), provides that distinct flavor and odor. I’m sure it’s been in use for millennia.

But even a mouthful of candy-coated black-colored unctuousness cannot compensate for the feeling of falling into the void of futility that gapes like a hungry maw. A mouth that hangs open for every diverting thought I send its way—The Universe is Absurd it whispers.

What simple pleasures do you find that ease this sense of emptiness?

Your friend,
‘Mole


Random Plot Generator

Here’s a fun gimmick from Reedsy.

https://blog.reedsy.com/plot-generator/


Here is the story you generated!

A geoscientist, who is an anarchist. A supercomputer, who is a chatterbox. It’s a post-apocalyptic story about the futility of ambition. It kicks off on Titan with the return of the Black Plague. (Note that: robots are fully sentient in this story.) And there’s a twist! It’s a dystopia.

Here is the story you generated!

A cabbie, who is hypocritical. A clone, who is sometimes rude. It’s an apocalyptic story about a search for identity. It kicks off on a dead star with the looming prospect of zero population growth. (Note that: someone in the story only wants to go home again.) And there’s a twist! There is an accidental bodyswap at one point in the plot.


Apocalyptic Scenario 5.c

“Did you see this?” I held my phone up to the woman sitting next to me. We were wheels-up, Chicago bound from Kennedy Airport, the six a.m. eye-opener.

“I’m sorry, can you hold it a little further away?” She was older, seventy maybe, with eyes that look liked they’d been shielded from pain for decades. “Oh, NASA is it? I’m not much for space and rockets and things.”

“Well, they’ve just spotted an asteroid headed toward North America. It came from behind the Sun.” I flicked the screen. “This shows where they think it might hit.” A graphic depicted the U.S. and Canada, with a tinted circle that stretched from D.C. to Kansas, Ontario to Arkansas.

“Hit?”

“Well, unless it breaks apart in the atmosphere.”

She tilted her head back to focus through her bifocals. With a finger she pointed at the center, inching forward until she gave my phone a tap. “But that’s Chicago, right there in the center.” The circle expanded, showing the belly of Lake Michigan. “Are we safe up here?”

“I don’t know.” I began browsing the news. The story of the asteroid blazed across every outlet. “You think the pilot knows about this?”

She peered over her rims. “Dear, do you want to take that risk?”

I cocked my cheek. Maybe she’s seen more than I realize. I pressed the attention button above my head.

“Yeah, hi.” I lured the attendant closer with a finger. She bent in, leery. I said, “I’m sure the flight crew already knows about this, but here, take a look.”

The flight attendant’s scarf, a blue and gold breath of perfumed guaze, brushed my hand. I took a guarded breath trying to fill my lungs with her scent.

“Is this today?”

“NASA’s twitter feed popped it up just before we left.”

“Hmm.” She pursed her lips, a shade of pale strawberry. “May I?” She opened her palm. On her hand she wore a ring on every finger, but the one that mattered showed a turquoise stone, hardly nuptial material.

I blinked to clear my daydream. “Sure, here.” As she left, I leaned over to watch her thread the aisle.

By that time, others around us had heard me talking and had independently discovered the news. Chatter swelled like teacher had left the classroom. Turquoise charged back toward me, phone gripped in her fist, having recognized the buzz, she eyed me, a frown spoiling her face.

She bent close, closer than before. “Did you leak this?” Not waiting for my reply she straightened and announced, “Everyone, the captain is well aware of the recent development. Please remain calm. He’s…”

The overhead speaker crackled like parchment. When the captain began speaking, Turquoise dropped my phone in my lap like a dead fish.

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. As you may know, NASA has announced a surprise discovery of an inbound meteor of indeterminate size. They expect arrival sometime soon, somewhere in the mid-west. At this point in time, that’s all we know. Until we hear otherwise, we’ll be continuing our flight as planned. NASA will keep us appraised and we’ll fill you in as soon as we know more. Please, try to relax. We have the situation under control. Chicago is fifty-five degrees with just a whisper of a breeze, which is unusual for this time of the year. Thank you.”

Speculation ran like a plague through the cabin. I heard talk of Chelyabinsk and Tunguska, and not a few mentions of the KT asteroid. Glasses next to me, Audrey, was keyed into the rumors.

“Every few years? But why don’t we hear about them?”

“Well, mostly due to probabilities. Over the oceans, no one can hear you scream.”

Audrey tisked me down. “Don’t say such things. You’ll bring bad…”

“Oh, my god. There it is!” A kid three rows back on the right had had his face smeared against the window. “I see the tail.”

“Must have come in over Canada,” I said. “We should see it break up any moment now.”

With the sighting, the captain was forced to come back on to instruct the passengers to sit down. “Yes, we’ve identified the meteor. Please return to your seats. We suspect heavy turbulence if and when the… the rock explodes.” We felt the plane bank away from the incoming threat.

Audrey and I remained entranced with the video streaming in from twitter feeds. This asteroid didn’t seem to want to detonate. I quickly flipped back to NASA’s feed and couldn’t help but gasp. “Geezus! This thing is the size of a city block. How could they not have detected…”

Audrey pulled her glasses down from her face and grabbed my hands, lowering my phone to her lap. Calmer than the captain, who’d just come on to tell us to lower the window shades and brace for severe shaking, she looked me in the eye. “Have you lived a happy life?”

I gawped and swallowed hard. “I’ve had some good times. Some bad. Tried to be kind, I guess.” I squeezed her fingers. “You?”

I could see the pain in her face now. It hadn’t been vacant, I realized, it had been confronted and beaten. She smiled, thin-lipped. “Yes, I’ve had good times. And bad. And yes, I’ve tried to be kind. My daughter was in an accident. I’m to… Well, I was to meet her at the hospital today.” Audrey pinched her eyes tight. “My grandson, he’s only eight.”

I brought her head to my shoulder. “The subways will be safe from much of the explosion. And they’ve had plenty of time to get to shelter. He’ll be OK.”

In the last few seconds, the cabin had become silent but for the increased drone of the engines. I looked at the time; hell, it had only been three minutes since the sighting. We’d been over South Bend when the kid had spotted the asteroid. I figured we were now going over six-hundred miles an hour, due south from Chicago, about thirty-thousand feet. I swore this felt like a movie, surreal and scripted.

Yet, when the seams around the windows flashed to pure white I expected instant death. I’d returned to watching the video—airborne wi-fi was surprisingly good these days—and was stunned at NASA’s final headline speculating three levels of destruction.

A two mile radius around the southern end of Lake Michigan would be vaporized. Ten miles out, the fire-wave would incinerate everything in its path. Thirty miles from the impact the shock wave would flatten all non-reinforced structures.

When the light dimmed, I could still see and breathe and Audrey looked up at me in confusion. My mind rationalized our existence. “At the speed we’re going, the shock wave won’t come for a while.”

Hmm, I thought, as my phone continued to work. The twitter feeds I’d been watching had quit streaming. In macabre fascination, I re-wound a few to watch the last seconds of the impact. Each one terminated in a flash—white fading to nothing.

The next fifteen minutes stretched out in terrifying anticipation. By then, we were well south and when the shock wave hit us, all we experienced was a rumbling shudder that felt more like a thunder storm than the apocalypse.

“Where will… What now?” Audrey said, slowly rocking back and forth. The window seat, vacant next to her, held her purse and a bag of chips.

“Why don’t you lift the shade and let’s see what’s what.”

She peaked and then slid the plastic sheath all the way up. Patchwork green, yellow and brown flowed beneath us like a game board. Above, a cloudless sky smiled down. The world continued to exist. Life pulsed on.

The captain returned to the speaker. “For all on board, our deepest condolences. I… I live in Denver, but I have… had close friends in Chicago. This emotional shock we’re all feeling, I’m sure it will last for, I don’t know. A long time. But we still have work to do. We’re being re-routed to St. Louis where… what?” He broke off when the co-pilot began speaking. With his finger still on the switch we caught his final words. “… More meteors?”

I swapped my place to sit next to the window. Audrey seemed lost, looking through a wallet album. I scanned the vast blue sky through frosted glass. It didn’t take long. I heard others cry out discovery as I identified what looked like a squadron of contrails, straight as ruler-marks, descending all around us.

I struggled from my row and walked up to the attendant’s station. “Plenty then. Good,” I finished as I’d made my case. Turquoise had eased up and smiled briefly through tear-blurry eyes. I turned and announced to the cabin, “I cleared it with the flight attendants. Drinks are on them.”