Thursday, February 19, 2009

Zed and Frank [Take Two]

"Erudite is a word that that is only used by those who meet its definition," Zed said to Frank frankly.

"Ah, so you're trying to communicate that you're scholarly? What hubris!" Frank replied.

"No, I was only using the word as a noun not as an adjective."

"You have to qualify your previous statement? That hardly makes you seem witty."

"And now you're the one who's trying to sound ostentatious!"

"Another great example of a word used by only those whom meet its criterion," Frank said to pave the way to silence; "Thinking of what to say next?"

Actually Zed was busy considering if humans could utilize a numerical language under which they could express all thoughts and emotions; a method of communication similar to ordering off a Chinese menu. Because mathematics spans all languages and cultures, he felt it would be the most logical way to speak. A typical conversation, Zed thought, would go like:

Person A: "23,444?"

Person B: "19?"

Person A: "23,444?"

Person B: "Oh. 118."

Person A: "2."

[Then Person A would bring a bowl of Mongolian Beef to the table.]

Even the entire works of Shakespeare, Zed felt, could be numerically categorized, quantified and published:

'The Unabridged Collection of Works by William Shakespeare = 5,331,090,185,433,028'

Critics would rave:

"233,997,420! -The 827,222,291

"92,113. 348,942. -Steven Davis

"19? - Timmy Armstrong, 4 years old"

Using this language, even a room full of monkeys could compose the entire works of Shakespeare, of Chaucer, of Wordsworth, of the Shelleys...

"You know, if we would have called to see if the drugstore was open, we wouldn't have come," said Frank.


"What does that mean?"



"Exactly. Never mind. Why should we have called?"

"Because it's closed!" Zed looked up to see that the drugstore was indeed closed. The two had decided that a trip to there was something with which they could pass their time.

"Well, we've successfully managed to pass our time. I thought drugstores were supposed to be open 24 hours," Zed didn't care much, he was preoccupied mentally counting the number of people who had most likely sworn under their breath at him on his morning commute to work. The number, he calculated, was slightly less than the sum of people who had sworn above their breath. "I have to get to work early tomorrow anyway, let's go." Zed worked as an accountant. This is not a shocking bit of information to anyone who meets Zed. He lived with the calculated type of austerity that would evoke comparisons to Stoicism; however, more than that, Zed tried to live with practicality and insouciance. What does insouciance mean? Who the hell cares if you understand it or not? Zed doesn't care.

"I don't care," Frank said insouciantly, "whatever you say." Frank typically gave in because it was the easy thing to do. Zed started enough debates to make Frank realize that only a fool would ask for more. Although Zed considered him a basket case, Frank was anything but a fool. He had graduated near the top of his class from a first tier University and he was chosen to give an uplifting commencement speech that was widely regarded by attendees as: 'prosaic' and 'drab'.

"Blah," Zed said for seemingly no reason, "Let's go." And go they let.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Zed and Frank [Take One]

"...and second of all, it's been thoroughly proven and widely understood that, collectively, humans are tremendously inefficient. The study, itself, that concluded this fact took six years and $2.4M to complete. There are more than 6,900 languages spoken or signed on the planet and the laws change whenever you take a step. It takes mail several days to reach its location and dolphins get caught in our shipping nets," Zed informed Frank.

The 2009th Gregorian calendar year after the beginning of the Common Era was 47 days old and depending on where someone was on the planet, the 48th day was a certain percent complete. Less specifically, it was a Tuesday. Zed hated Tuesdays.

"I love Tuesdays! Monday is now as far away as possible!" Frank said.

"You're an imbecile," Zed issued. It wasn't that Zed was a dark person, he just took on an opposing view on certain topics.

"It's not that I'm a dark person," Zed said, "it's just that I take an opposing viewpoint on certain topics."

"If by 'certain', you mean, 'all', then yes, I agree," said Frank.

There was nothing Frank and Zed could look at in similar ways. To Frank, the panoramic coastline and shore were of a picturesque, ethereal beauty that only God himself could have created. To Zed, the billions of granules of sand became billions of tiny threats against the comfort inside of his bathing suit. There were many adjectives to describe Zed, but Frank specifically liked to use the word cynical.

“I’m not a Cynic, I’m a scientific realist,” his response was as cliché as they came, well, it was more of a proverbial chestnut from the scientific realist's handbook than anything.
He actually carried around a handbook. Truth was that Zed was more defined by the Stoic school of thought that of the Cynics and he was less of a scientific realist than simply a mere pessimist.

From Zed’s perspective, Frank was a nut job.
That didn’t inhibit the growth of their friendship however, it became completely necessary to use the manure he spat out to fertilize the mind.

It takes twice as many muscles to frown than it does to smile, were you aware of that?
You should smile more often,” Frank enthusiastically told Zed.

“Actually, and the only reason I know this is because I specifically looked it up to prove you wrong, it only takes 11 relevant muscles to frown while it takes 12 to smile.” This was on page 12 of the 'Scientific Realist's Handbook'.

Why would you say that?

“Because it’s true. It’s a scientific fact.”

It’s bullshit.

“It’s true.”

Truth and bullshit are hardly mutually exclusive,” Frank concluded.

Zed smiled. He’d gladly move an extra muscle if it meant getting a rise from Frank. He was even sure that despite his incessant babbling and emotional broadsides, Frank enjoyed their arguments too. While there was little reason to their friendship, it was comfortable, and neither had to go out of their way too much to make it work. In truth, there needn’t really be any other foundation other than that they both liked cottage cheese. They each hated cottage cheese, but it would have been a great foundation upon which their friendship could have been built. Where it stood at this moment was somewhere upon a hard and uneven sidewalk outside a drugstore.


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Melvin and Jenkins: see Mad Magazine.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Man arrested with rifle said he had delivery for Obama

The following is a recent email string from my friends in response to this CNN story:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Police arrested a man near the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday after he drove up to one of the building's barricades with a rifle in his vehicle and told officers that he had a delivery for President Obama, a Senate spokesman said.

Sgt. Kimberly Schneider identified the man as Alfred Brock, 64, of Winnfield, Louisiana. She said Brock was charged with possession of an unregistered firearm and unregistered ammunition.

Brock drove up to the north barricade at the Capitol late Tuesday afternoon, saying he had a delivery for the president, Schneider said.

After further questioning, he admitted he had a rifle in his truck. He was arrested and taken to police headquarters for processing, she said.

A search of his truck turned up several rounds of ammunition, Schneider said. Police also checked the area around the barricade, but found nothing hazardous.

Threats against Obama have led to arrests in previous cases.

In one, federal prosecutors concluded that three people arrested with drugs and weapons in a suburban Denver, Colorado, motel posed a "true threat" to Obama during the Democratic National Convention.

In the second, a Florida man was charged with threatening bodily harm against the then-candidate in August. He has pleaded not guilty.


Friend A:

Love the foresight that was going on here.

Guard: "Sir, you can't just drive in the Capitol."
Suspect: "No, it's ok. I have a delivery for the president."
Guard: "Really? What is it?"
Suspect: "Um...definitely not a rifle."
Guard: "Sir, step out of the car."
Suspect: "Did not see that coming."

Friend B:

maybe it was a chocolate rifle, it is valentines day weekend after all...

Friend C:

I’m still confused why they didn’t let him in…just because the rifle and ammo weren’t registered? Seems awfully harsh – especially given how important his delivery must have been if it was for the president. What if he was trying to deliver the stimulus bill? I’ll bet that’s what it was. Those guards probably just hurt our economy even more by delaying the stimulus release. Hopefully the damages get taken from their paychecks…

I love these guys,