Darwin Award

You know who wins the Darwin Award? All of you out there who have no children who have no children. That means the unique DNA within you that has managed to survive since that primal First Fuck comes to an end with you. In Darwinian terms you have failed. You exist now, but once you are dead that unique blend that your mom and dad accidentally created in the midst of their orgasm (or your dad’s orgasm, anyway) and that contained every single thing that you are today will not blend with whoever you in turn are orgasming with to create a brand new person with half of what created you in it. Unless that happens then once you die absolutely nothing of you survives, and you could even be more dead than the dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum because one of them might theoretically have genetically morphed into a chicken. You won’t genetically morph into anything, not even theoretically. And unless you eat that chicken before she has babies, then your chicken dinner wins and you get the Darwin Award. Congratulations.

La Brea tar pits

We’re so used to the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles we don’t even realize just how incredibly cool and bizarre it is that such a place is right there on the Miracle Mile. One of my favorite places and museums. Saw a pigeon trapped in one of the little pools of tar there once. A thin veneer of water laid on top of the tar, and the pigeon had just walked on in as a pigeon will. It sat there, doomed, illustrating how the thing worked. That was at least twenty years ago, and it’s bones were long ago sucked down into the tar and eventually, in an instant of geologic time, will fossilize into a beautifully preserved skeleton of a pigeon. Still, I felt really sorry for the little thing.

Ciconia maltha from the La Brea Pits. Not a pigeon.

Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adapter Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector

Bought a Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adapter Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector to replace our old Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adapter Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector which no longer sinkwaterfaucettipswivelnozzleadapterkitchenaeratortapchromeconnected, to verb a compound noun. No, it had sinkwaterfaucettipswivelnozzleadapterkitchenaeratortapchromedisconnected, to coin the verbed noun’s antonym, and remained sinkwaterfaucettipswivelnozzleadapterkitchenaeratortapchromeunconnected, to adjectivize the antonym into the state of being sinkwaterfaucettipswivelnozzleadapterkitchenaeratortapchromedisconnected. So if we’d lost WW2 and we’re all speaking German right now then sinkwaterfaucettipswivelnozzleadapterkitchenaeratortapchromeconnected would be one word. If we’d lost WW2 and we’re all speaking Inuit (Greenlandic) right now that first sentence up there could all be one word, though it’s a bit difficult to come up with a scenario where Greenland won WW2.

Somebody has to think about this stuff. It might as well be me, I’m retired.

Paleolithic handaxe

A gorgeous item, Paleolithic art in the form of a hand axe created sometime from 300,000 to 500,000 years ago, discovered in Toft, England. Though not a culture like we think of a culture, this is part of what is known as the Acheulean culture, or Acheulean tradition, of tool making you can find all over Europe, Africa, and Asia. It went on for a million and a half years or so, slowly, infinitesimally changing, for about five times as long as the 300,000 years we Homo sapiens have existed. This beautiful thing was created by someone in the last third of that span, towards the northwestern extremity of that range, when the island of Great Britain was on the eastern edge of a vast plain that extended from the Pyrenees and Alps and Carpathians north across verdant grasslands where the English Channel and much of the North Sea are now. The maker of this thing, or their parents, or perhaps their parents hundreds of generations earlier had walked across that plain to the place where this was flaked—striking stone against stone with just the right touch at just the right angle using techniques that went back well over a million years—in what is now Toft, England, about an hour or so northwest of London.

We’re stepping out of history into Deep Time trying to imagine such a span of time, perhaps not Geologic Deep Time, with its sweep of hundreds of millions years, but certainly hominid Deep Time, with endless integers of a million years. Acheulean culture existed in this Deep Time, a million and a half million years ago, and the visionary creature (or visionary to us, anyway) who made this back then was not one of us, not at all. We are a different and later species of hominid, of human. This gorgeous handaxe would have been shaped by a Homo erectus or a Homo heidelbergensus, and we really have no idea what they saw in it, or thought about it, or what significance the fossil shell uncovered by their flaking had to them. We only know what we what we know of if, with our huge Homo sapien brains whirring, that it’s a fossil, something that lived and died millions and millions of years before, deep in paleontological time. Of course there is absolutely no way whatsoever the Homo erectus who discovered it could have even had a glimmer of any of that. It requires a frontal lobe of the sort that he or she did not have. It never really occurs to us that before Homo sapiens had even evolved by genetic mutation from a single mating pair of Homo erectus, that for millions of years such entirely different human creatures wandered from Africa across half the globe, thinking thoughts that we can never possibly know. But we can look at what they made, and must have marveled at, and showed the others, communicating with gestures and expressions and sounds without uttering or even thinking a single word.

Lucy, or somebody like her

A gorgeous painting of Australopithecus afarensis by paleoartist Viktor Deak. They’ve uncovered hundreds of these guys, who seem to have been around for about a million years three to four million years ago, and though back in the Lucy days it was thought that she and her species were our direct ancestors, now it’s thought that Australopithecines were related to our direct ancestors, but didn’t lead eventually to us. Sadly, they were on a dead end evolutionary path, and at some point in the three million years since this picture would have been taken, her line and all the genetic info it contained came to an end. The oblivion of extinction. Still, she takes a nice painting.

I am not just a giant hagfish.

(I have no idea when I wrote this one, I found it in the pile of drafts.)

Does anyone know or care, she posted on Facebook, that lobster and crabs are just giant bugs?

Lobsters and crabs, I mansplained, are giant bugs the way humans are giant hummingbirds or rattlesnakes or lampreys or Gila monsters or cane toads which are all as closely related to human beings as crabs and lobsters are to insects. Crabs, lobsters and insects all have the basic features of arthropods—they have the hard exoskeletons that the soft parts of the body are held within, as well as segmented bodies (head, thorax and abdomen) and paired jointed appendages (all those matching legs, claws and antennae.) Anyone, bibbed and covered with crustacean goo, who actually eats a lobster gets a beautiful lesson in arthropod anatomy. Humans, fish, reptiles, amphibians and your Thanksgiving turkey all have the basic chordate design of backbones (or a notochord made of cartilage like lampreys do) and all our edible parts are built around that backbone and the skeleton that developed out of it (except the brains tucked inside our skulls but those are more like the marrow and neurons inside our spinal column than the rest of our soft body parts). So if a lobster could think about it he (or her) would probably be offended by us comparing her (or him) to a cockroach, the way we would be offended (or I would, anyway) by being compared to, say, a hagfish.

That being said, lobsters are way too gross to eat, because they look just like giant bugs.

Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adaptor Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector

I’d never bought a Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adaptor Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector before. I’d always thought it was a metaphor.

OK, I didn’t think it was a metaphor. That was the opener. It didn’t work. Forget it. But to smoothly segue, Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adaptor Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector would be one word in German. And our brand new Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adaptor Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector works beautifully, without shaking the plumbing to death like the aerator with far fewer syllables I bought last week and wasn’t even pronounceable in German. A 2 Flow Faucet Aerator, that one. Actually if you include the description beyond the comma it was a 2 Flow Faucet Aerator, Dual-function Water Saving Sink Aerator Replacement, which rolls across the tongue with all grace and beauty of a sentence in a technical manual. No wonder the pipes shuddered and belched air. It’s so agglutinatively icky, something better translated into one of those endless sentence-in-a-word Turkish words. There’s something morphologically magical about those endless rows of nouns that we in English insist are just that, rows of nouns, but the German sees as one long glorious compound noun, a single word, but maybe that’s just me, and I seem to have digressed. Getting back to our story, this Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adaptor Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector is so hip and sleekly modern it’s just got to be digital, and I must have wasted ten minutes trying to convince the thing to aerate the water (it’s not named Siri, anyway) till I gave up and used the Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adaptor Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector handle thing. Turns out it’s just as analog as the ancient faucet from 1931 that was here when we moved in thirty years ago. You have to turn it on by hand and water comes out. The one we replaced two nozzles back (was that really only two weeks ago?) could go from gush to spritz with a bump and back to a gush with a tug. Talk about a conceptual step up from the binary gush/no gush. What will they think of next. But the Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adaptor Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector looks digital anyway. A jarring touch of the modern in our Art Deco kitchen. No, I won’t post a photo. I’ll be damned if I’m going to take a picture of a faucet. Writing Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adaptor Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector over and over is embarrassing enough. And Sink Water Faucet Tip Swivel Nozzle Adaptor Kitchen Aerator Tap Chrome Connector embarrassment would be one word in German.

About all those missing words….

Sorry there’s no more of the great gobs of prose I used to spill out all over these blogs. People have been asking. Alas, epilepsy was really fucking with the long essays, and I finally had to stop. Had to stop working too. Had to stop just about everything. It’s been a couple years now and the synapses have calmed down nicely. They seem to like being bored. Me not so much at first but I’ve adapted. So I write tiny little essays now, scarcely ever longer than a paragraph. Hence all this tinyness where vastness used to be. Little gems, I tell myself. The actual gemage might be debatable, but they’re my blogs. You can think everything you do is art if no one is editing you.

Anyway, thanks for reading and feel free to complain.


Jellyfish love

If I got this right, a polyp reproduces asexually, budding by cell division into little bumps that become tiny jellyfish that float about and grow and finally do some sort of jellyfish touchless fuck thing involving male jellyfish releasing vast hordes of sperm into the water and letting the little buggers find their way to a female jellyfish’s ovum which, once fertilized, gives birth to a cillia driven little squiggle which finds its way onto a surface somewhere to develop into another polyp and begin the cycle anew. Luckily for us, we aren’t descended from cnidarians, which is what jellyfish are, cnidarians. Instead we did the whole vertebrate thing, which is why love is not a many polyped thing.

Wanton moon jellies. Dig the four gonads. You only have two, and they don’t glow.