I like the short poems, the ones that pop into my head almost fully written and require almost no effort from me, not just because I am lazy but also I think they are some of my best. Brevity is the soul of wit, if something is right, it’s right, and you don’t need a lot of words to convey a simple thought.
I like the quote from Gertrude Stein: I don’t like to write. I like having written.
Such a one popped into my head this morning at about 10 to 7, just as I was getting off the bus on my way to an early morning lesson, and it was still dark:
People are oblivious
they do not know
that they do not know
nor do they even care
Sometimes, however,it doesn’t work like that. Sometimes I get an idea and turn it around in my head for weeks, so if you see me on the tram counting out syllables on my fingers or muttering under my breath ‘day, may, jay, way, it’s O.K., your mama’s toupee..’ or something like that, that’s what’s going on.
At the moment, it’s one I got in my head about a week ago while out walking and saw a branch on the ground, probably fell from its tree in one of the rainstorms we’ve had recently, nothing serious, but there are always a few branches which fall, and I decided to write a poem on the subject of art trouvé, so I’m just using this blog to think out loud.
I’ve got the first stanza, about finding the log on the ground, and then Id like another one about all the different forms it can take, sticks, stones, and piney cones. Then one about how it’s the most anarchistic of art forms, and random, it does not depend on any author interference at all, it’s just totally in tune with the universe, so maybe a sacred art form in terms of Earth worship, and then one about how we’re all obsessed with making the world a better place but maybe the key is just to stop fucking it up because the world is already a pretty amazing place, maybe the key to utopia is reduction and not construction.
So, we’ll see how it comes out, if it comes out, and thank you for giving me thisopportunity to think aloud.
I know I wrote about this just last night but I can’t get it out of my head. First of all, 234 is a very small percentage of 2.5 million, about .01%, or one out of 10,000 planets examined, but while some scientists might use that to throw shade on the study, to me that reinforces the idea that these are intelligent civilizations trying to communicate with us. (well, maybe not specifically with us – it strikes me as more likely that they are sending out the signal into blank space, figuring any civilization capable of receiving the message is probably one they’ve intended it for)
If it was just the kind of signal emitted naturally by a sun of that kind, it would be a higher number than 234. Sure, there are many different types and classes of sun in the galaxy, but these are like ours, and it’s one of the more common types. So, it would have been more.
Of course, it could still turn out to be some technical glitch (pidgin droppings on the telescope, for instance) or human error (maybe Borra and Trottier have just seen a few too many Star Trek episodes), but I certainly hope scientists are taking this at least seriously enough to focus our search on those stars for a while.
234 stars. Could it all be one species or (as I think is more likely) a federation of planets. That would be most totally awesome.
It’s as if the human race has been lost in the woods for the past, oh, I don’t know, since the beginning of existence I suppose, and suddenly we’ve stumbled into a cocktail party.
Focus on those stars, scientists! Until this story is disproven, I’m going to continue believing that theyre out there.
The Drake equation is not actually an equation. It’s a checklist. Other suns have planets, check, water is the exact opposite of rare, check, there are earth-size planets, check, and we’re getting closer and closer to it seeming like there is other intelligent life out there.
Anyway, for the past week or so there’s been a buzz about alien signals having been received and I, for one, think we should go ahead and give it the benefit of the doubt and get this all checked out. It’s a win-win. If the Canadians are correct, we’ll have discovered alien life! Wow! That’s awesome. If it can’t be proved, we’ll keep honing the process and focusing on those planets -all 234 of them – until we find out something, and add to our scientific knowledge and capabilities. If it can be disproved, well, that’s pretty impressive, too, and something we deserve to know. If there are 234 earth-like planets out there WITHOUT intelliegent civilizations, we can begin to colonize the galaxy.
What we’re talking about here is a new study from E.F. Borra and E. Trottier, two astronomers at Laval University in Canada. Their study, titled “Discovery of peculiar periodic spectral modulations in a small fraction of solar type stars,” found signals coming from 234 out of the 2.5 million stars they analyzed – a tin percentage, to be sure, but all of those 234 stars are similar in size and luminosity to our sun.
The signals are pulses of light, regularly spaced. So, even if it is a signal from aliens, we will have no way of knowing what they’re saying. But, we’ll know the3y are saying ‘We are here!
And think about this: 234 planets. If they are intelligent signals, and 234 planets are sending the same one, that is like a federation of planets. That implies the Star Trek universe is out there and just waiting for us. That’s pretty amazing.
It’s looking more and more as if I’m not going to be able to vote this year. I requested my ballot in plenty of time, back in September, but nothing has arrived. I have been trying, via e-mail, to get somebody to resolve this situation, but am not having any luck. I got directed to a website, and there was a link there saying ‘check the status of your ballot.’ So, I clicked on that. The language was kind of ambiguous, my ballot has been ‘received and processed’ which does not exactly have the identical meaning to ‘sent.’ In fact, it kind of looked like they were telling me I’d already voted, which would be impossible, because I haven’t received a ballot.
To add insult to injury, I got a packet in the mail today, from the Los Angeles Board of Elections, with ‘ballot information.’ A handy, dandy little booklet, about 30 pages, explaining all the local initiatives and whatnot, but it won’t do much good – because I haven’t received a ballot.
I’m still hoping something will arrive in the next few days but, much longer than that and it will be beyond the ability of the Czech and American postal services, neither one of which is particularly noted for speed and reliability, to get it there in time.
Am I being singled out? I don’t know. On the one hand, I don’t really think so, because, despite the fact that I’ve been outspoken in my support of Jill Stein, I am just one voter, and I doubt the board of elections is stalking my facebook page, and it’s very unlikely they read my blog, because I have about 20 readers, on a good day. On the other hand, I got a ballot in the mail without all the complicated foofaraw in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 with no problems.
This year is different. I don’t think anybody can deny that. This year is definitely different.
Since this blog is about sports tonight, let me first say congratulations to the Chicago Cubs. You finally did it. Now, it would be great if you could win the series I saw somebody write that the World Series will eclipse the election news, seeing as how the Cubs are in it. Well, why the hell not?
Anyway, the reason tonight’s blog is about sports is because we went up to see our niece, Natalie (7, I think. Maybe 8.) play floorball in a town a bit north of Prague. Floorball is like indoor field hockey, I think. Anyway, a bunch of kids running around the gymnasium with plastic hockey sticks and a hard plastic ball (but TINK hard, not THUD hard).
Her team lost,7-6, against a team of boys. Not too many more years that dynamic will work, but I think it’s great. Now that they’re about the same level, let ’em play.
I actually thught the loss was much worse, because we arrived late and saw the boys score 3 quick goals in a row, but before we got there, the girls had had a big lead.
It was a bit awkward leaving, because the only way out of the building was through the changing room, and after their game we couldn’t go there for a few minutes, obvs.
That’s floorball for ya.
My Mother-in-law is down for the weekend, as is my wife’s cousin, so I had to go outside to smoke a joint this morning, because my wife doesn’t want them to know. Of course, what’s said on the internet lasts forever, but if they’d ever read my blog they would know that already, and there’s little chance they will ever read it in future since neither one speaks a word of English or has any interest in learning.
So, I was thinking I’d go sit in the park, and it was appropriately unpopulated on this damp and overcast morning, but my feet and the force of habit propelled me through the park, across Sokolovska and the derelict green and across the street beyond, which thinks its a freeway, into the indeterminate land next to the river.
Well, I was walking real slow, and smoking as I walked, and I’d just finished the joint when I looked up and it was perfect. I was looking between two trees, mostly brilliant yellow leaves with just a slight tinge of green left here and there, and their upper branches were intertwined, so it was like looking at a picture in a frame, or through a window of invisible glass, and there was a building there,directly across the river. I couldn’t see the river, but I knew that it was there. The building was a light orange or dark pink, I guess you could say peach, and it was a vertical rectangle on top of a square, all edges, there was something Dutch about it, and in the upper section was a cross, but not a cross cross, it was the pattern of the windows but, still, probably deliberate even if it was not a church, that’s just what people did in the 19th century, or it might have been older than that.
I walked on a bit and the view changed and I was looking at a steel and glass thing which was undoubtedly less than 30 years old and had not an ounce of history or mystery about it.
Not trying to read two much symbolism into it, it was just sort of a snapshot moment.
This is a make up blog because last night I fell asleep. Which, of course, is a very normal thing to do at night, but I fell asleep on the couch in front of the TV with my blog unwritten. Helena had gone to bed, and called to me several times. Every time, I said “I still have to write my blog” and while I lay there thinking about what to write about I fell asleep again, so eventually I gave up and the deal I made with myself was that I would write it first thing in the morning, which I am doing now.
And all that after just one joint.
When I went to bed, I said to my wife ‘I should write the blogs in the morning anyway because then if I’m stuck for a topic, I can always write about my dreams’ and she said ‘Yes, you should.’ I’m not making that my plan from now on or anything, because half the time I don’t remember my dreams, and just as often they are not something I would put down in print on the grounds of I don’t want to incriminate myself in the court of public opinion, sort of a personal 5th amendment.
Last night my dream was set in a little village, which looked a lot like a picnic area along the Vltava through which I often walk and I believe I’ve mentioned it in blog posts before, like the time a Doberman of undetermined ownership decided I was worth following around. An itinerant priest came through, who bore a certain resemblance to a teacher I once had, and I decided to show him the book I was writing (which I am not writing in real life, but sort of have the idea, it’s a utopian manifesto kind of thing)and I showed him an outline. He ignored it, so the next day I went to the colonel (the dream now seemed to be set in South America), and persuaded him to take over the village.
Which we did, charging up the embankment like the Sioux at Little Big Horn, and bursting into the village, where people were walking around, holding hands, and totally not panicking, and not being angry, either, just sort of laughing at us.
That was my dream, and this is my blog for yesterday, and I may consider switching to morning writing, but not yet.