Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Don't Think A Blog Entry Can Get Sillier Than This

You know, I don't think I can express the importance of tiny cakes sufficiently.  These bite sized morsels of icing coated deliciousness are truly symbols of the pinnacle of civilisation.  Tiny cakes transform a meeting from a tedious waste of time into a tea party with colleagues.  A performance review is a little bit more bearable with tiny cakes on the table.  The most awkward social situation can be smoothed over by the simple production of tiny cakes.  Try this situation for example;

"No Luke, I am your father.  And have a tiny cake."

or this one.

"You can't handle the truth!  But I'll bet you could handle a tiny cake."

I think those two movies would have ended very differently with the introduction of tiny cakes at a critical moment.  Tiny cakes bring the world together.

You couldn't get the same result with large cakes.  Large cakes breed resentment.  Everybody would be glaring at each other jealously trying to work out which greedy pig got the biggest slice before they did.  Jealously and resentment would be bred and violence would ensue.  Let's take a look at our cinematic examples again (because they have so much relevance to the real world) but this time insert large cakes into the mix.

"Join me Luke and we can rule the galaxy as father and son."
"You ate the large slice of cake you bastard!"
"I-I was hungry and I didn't think you wanted it.  I think there are some crumbs caught in my respirator if you like."
"Dark lord gonna die motherfucker!"

or, in the courtroom.

"Did you order the code red?"
"You're damn right I did.  The greedy bastard stole the large slice of cake.  I'd had my eye on that all morning."
"Case dismissed."

There really is no substitute for tiny cakes.  It is a little known fact that the Song Dynasty of China collapsed due to the inability of its emperors to provide the people with tiny cakes.  Correctly discerning that the Song's mandate from heaven had expired Kublai Khan overran their empire thus giving Marco Polo and Samuel Taylor Coleridge the opportunity to become famous.  If the Song emperors had been a little more attentive to the provision of tiny cakes we might have been spared Italian tour guides and poems about albatrosses.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Social Media: The Syphilitic Sailor of the Twenty First Century

I can't help wondering what use postcards are nowadays.  Once upon a time, of course, postcards served a useful purpose.  They were a cheap and convenient way of keeping in touch with people you couldn't bother writing a letter to.  Postcards were also useful for exciting the envy of others by sending pictures of the breathtaking sights you had (at least by implication) seen without resorting to the unforgivable sadism of the post holiday slide show.

Nowadays, thanks to social media the poor old postcard barely has a role left.  Now that we can inform everyone we have ever met (and thousands we would cross the street to avoid) of every bowel movement in real time there doesn't seem to be much point in buying a postcard.  Postcards will, no doubt, go the way of the dodo (eaten by syphilitic Portuguese sailors?) and soon wont be found anywhere except for the occasional stuffed specimen in a museum.  I personally don't think the dodo ever existed, the exhibits we see are just the result of some bored natural history students getting creative with some left over spare parts.

But back to postcards.  The inevitable demise of the postcard will actually be a bit of a loss for me because I do buy postcards.  I buy postcards when I'm on holidays so I don't have to bother taking photos.  The pictures in postcards are so much better than anything I could take anyway.  They have the advantage of being taken in perfect light at exactly the right time of day.  When I look at a postcard I can forget that my own experience involved fronting up at a rather grotty tourist trap at some inconvenient hour in the pouring rain surrounded by hordes of people unfamiliar with deodorant while a grubby six year threw up on my shoes.

Now I'm going to have to find some other way of remembering my holidays.  Fortunately that six year old is no doubt uploading all of his antics to facebook.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

That Syncing Feeling

My employers in their benevolent wisdom have recently replaced my iPhone 4 with a brand spanking new iPhone 5.  An iPhone 5 is way better than it's predecessor because its like a whole extra number.  The battery also runs out quicker so you know it must be doing something cool.

I have no objection to my employers providing me with the latest in communication devices although I am starting to wonder when they are going to insert a microchip into my skull.  Of course getting a new phone meant that I had to sync it, a procedure simple for cavemen living in prehistoric times but a journey replete with swearing, tears and shrieking for me.  I'm not certain what syncing actually is but my colleagues assured me it was something that had to be done.

With the sync thing successfully accomplished (at least as far as I can tell) my new iPhone is working as it should (I think).  Certainly it sends and receives texts and emails.  I understand it can even make phone calls.  The five minute gap between being fully charged and running out of battery is a little irritating but doesn't cause a problem if you leave it permanently plugged in.  This limits your mobility somewhat but does make the iPhone 5 the ideal communication device for hermits, paraplegics and other people who don't get out much, like the dead.

This iPhone also has Siri.  I thought that was the name of Tom Cruise's daughter (I later learnt that was Katie Holmes) but apparently not.  Siri is a disembodied voice that speaks from your iPhone and tells you stuff.  Specifically it tells you stuff your iPhone can do for you.  This is an amazing feature, rather than waste whole seconds doing things on your iPhone you can waste seconds telling Siri to do them for you.  Try not to swear at her, she doesn't like it.

Some people might think Siri is rather pointless but they're forgetting the target market.  It's entirely possible that hermits, paraplegics and the dead will welcome the conversation.

The Future is Back Again

Well the old year has come to an end and the new one begins in a flurry of tennis tournaments and involuntary days off.  As I look back over the past year it occurs to me that I should really watch where I'm going.  So rather than indulge in pointless retrospectives of the litany of failures, disasters and acts of simple stupidity let us instead look forward to the tangled mess of unrealistic expectations, irrelevant dreams and unfulfilled hopes that will make up 2013.

Predicting the future isn't that difficult really.  Once I had performed the necessary rituals, sacrificed the requisite animals and got out of rehab after indulging in the appropriate mind expanding narcotics I was ready to go.  In truth I needn't have gone to all that effort.  The truth about the immediate future is that it tends to be pretty much like the present only more so.  People say that history repeats itself but so does the future which is not surprising when one considers that they are pretty much the same thing viewed from different perspectives.

Everything remains pretty much the same year after year until after a decade or so you suddenly look back and realise that the world bears very little resemblance to the one we were living in just a scant ten years ago.  Even so we only realise this if we make a conscious effort to notice it.

Of course there are occasions when change is rapid and dramatic.  The easiest way to identify these occasions is from the shockingly high body count.  Setting aside such gruesome revolutions in the affairs of men some basic themes can be identified.  In Australia there will be an election and a politician will win it.  This is as it should be.  Having a general public deeply interested in politics is usually an indication that something is going terribly wrong.  General apathy is normally a sign that things are going well.

Around the world people with a deep interest in politics will attempt to changes things for the better.  For all our sakes let's hope they fail.  Other people will seek power, influence and control over their fellow humans.  Even the most successful of them will achieve less than they think.  Of all the things to strive for power is the least attainable and the most likely to encounter opposition.  Most people with power gained it as a side effect of something else they were doing.  Which is not to say they don't enjoy it.

Fragmentation of power is one of our strongest guarantees of, if not freedom then at least a bearable existence.  Even those who desire nothing but power will find it impossible to wield without at least the tacit consent of the ruled.  When that consent is withdrawn all hell tends to break loose.  The clever powerful never let it get that far.  The stupid powerful learn just before they're dragged out of their hidey hole and killed that they didn't actually have as much power as they thought.  Ultimately you can only herd people in more or less the direction they're prepared to go.

So what does the future actually contain?  Simple; dust and bones.