jeudi, juin 30, 2005

Talkin' 'Bout Issues On The Barry Gibbs Talk Show

*Ahem!* We will leave the chest hair and crazy, cool medallions for another day. (And no, this isn't more backstory delivered in a tortuously slow and circuitous fashion. You wish.)

Okay, so I'm watching t.v. here lately (it's one of the things I do) and my TiVo offered up a trailer for Peter Jackson's King Kong remake. Lord love him, he cast Jack Black, I think as a sort of Peter Jackson-ish director playing a director kind of character. Seriously, that's my theory. I am distracted by Black's presence (although I like him a lot generally speaking) because he's usually not a serious character in the least. That and Naomi Watts is a beautiful woman but her hands look ape-ish. Ah, well, there's no doubling to be had at this point. (Or maybe, I overthink to myself, Jackson liked that about her because he felt that it was kind of a visual note on her connection with Kong. They are alike. Do I scare anybody?) Also, side snarky note- what is up with those muscles in her cheeks? I was distracted all the way through 21 Grams. Anyhoo, I like Naomi- specially her comic stuff and I like Jackson and I like Black, so maybe I will like King Kong. And you know I like TiVo. You don't even have to ask.

But what I really wanted to say something about is this G8 summit coming up in Scotland. Powerful men are going to make decisions about how our world goes forward. About whether we have mercy on the poor and the sick. On whether poverty stricken countries might actually begin to be able to participate in the economy the rest of us partake in. My younger brother explained to me a long while back why "free trade" coffee isn't actually all that free. How it didn't end up helping the people it was supposed to help the way it was supposed to help them. And I wish I could remember what he said because it was some of that kind of counterintuitive stuff that's fun to understand because it's so hidden and, well, counterintuitive. If he reads this (and he won't- he's a busy, busy web trends consultant) maybe he'll explain it again.

But I digress. Again. But I'm a strange one politically. For instance, I tend to be conservative but I believe in a living wage. (Will it shock our economy? I suggest we are due for a shock. I can't believe that in our nation we are nasty enough to dedicate ourselves to gathering unusable amounts of personal wealth while structuring things so that many human beings are crushed financially and personally. Hold out your paw, America. You're gonna get a good smack.

And, as I am fond of letting people know (as if I had no other ways to be special), I lived in South Africa for a year. I traveled to places like Moçambique where not only were land mines still plentiful, but money and opportunities absolutely were not. And, yeah, I took the obligatory tour through Soweto in RSA. And yes, Johannesburg was pretty much desolate. And yes, those babies and children and young women and young men and adults and old people were being wiped out by AIDS. Some of those African countries are losing entire generations of their population. My inner elephant is still pissed that Glaxo-Wellcom took so long to allow them to get the drugs they needed cheaper, faster. (And, yes, I do happen to be aware of the staggering costs drug companies incur bringing new drugs to the market, as well as the staggering costs they incur working on drugs that never make it to the market. I understand why their patents exist. I understand they've got to make expenses and can't go giving everything away every time somebody is sick. HOWEVER, sometimes, when millions and millions of poor people are being annihilated by a disease you've found a way to ameloriate and put off (and in the case of infants, actually cure), well, I think you start to think about taking one for the team.

Sometimes, I think you need to give with your right hand while your left hand doesn't even know what's going on. In other words, I believe that sometimes you've got to say f*ck it to the rules of finances and profits and shareholders and wealth building and whatnot and just show the world an utter deed of love. I am running around with this idea that we wealthy nations should not oppress the poor. Not here, not there. Which is why I believe in forgiving third world debt for those countries who realistically cannot repay it, increasing aid to poor countries, levelling the playing field so that they can begin to participate in a viable way in the world economy, and making big changes in the lives of those afflicted by/ threatened by HIV/AIDS in the continent of Africa.

And that brings me to the Live 8 stuff going on this Saturday, July 2nd. (Looks like they're doing a second thing on July 6th in Edinburgh, Scotland, since it's closer to home for the actual G8 summit.) I would ask you to turn on your t.v. (MTV and VH1 will definitely show it) and watch (Sir) Bob Geldof do his thing yet again (better than the '80's, promise) with tons and tons of other human beings who believe in lifting up the oppressed. Like I do. Like you do. And, no, I probably won't start running around with a white rubber bracelet (there are too many of them anymore and my inner fashionista knows it) but I've definitely signed this letter because this kind of plan and behavior is right. Not only that, but as a conservative, Christian American, I can tell you flat out that this is the kind of plan God makes for us and this is the way God behaves toward us. How are we gonna stop the flow of that love and generosity to people around us in this world who are crushed by their circumstances? We'll inherit horrible things if we are willing to turn our faces away from the suffering of other human beings.

So, when the G8 get to Scotland, I hope they've heard from tens of millions of people. I hope they've heard from you. ONE is the right way to do it, too. You wouldn't believe the power there is in human beings agreeing on one thing.

It's time, as Kenneth Patchen put it, to

Be generous to generations who had nothing
To take, or give. O be willing to wait no longer.
Build men, not creeds; seed not soil-
O raise the standards out of reach.

new men new world new life

Or as I like to put it,

Make me proud.

jeudi, juin 23, 2005

Party Pooping Nobel Prize Winner (Part Trois of My String Theory Backstory)

In fact physicists insist it makes no sense that we can only remember the past. Why can't we remember the future?

Penrose (Sir Roger Penrose if you're nasty) already has peed in this pool or at least has stated his intention to jump in and try. Straining his tiny little scientist's bladder.

I will chide him in the next, fascinating installment of String Theory Backstory. I do a really good chide. Even if I may have to finally concede a point to the chidee. You'll love it.

Where Does The Time Go? (Part Deux of My String Theory Prayer Backstory)

Which reminds me of Ingrid Bergman asking where the noses go, but that's another topic for another day. And hopefully you've all figured that out already anyway. (Start with a digression, I always say.) Anyhoo, the science forthwith:

So, I've been thinking about time lately, and by lately, I mean for the last I-don't-know-how-many years, I guess. See, every time I have a long drive, I listen to books on CD. Usually non-fiction for some reason. Politics, comedy, business and science. The first two are funny, the last two are not. Stephen Hawking was where I started, I think- and no he doesn't read his own book which may be a grave disappointment to you. But I did listen to A Brief History of Time (was it abridged, I wonder now?) And of course, this gets me thinking that I need to go back and scoop up all of his other stuff. Memo to me. So, yes, Hawking, and I guess actually there were some bits of Einstein and Heisenberg before that. I'm uncertain which came when or showed up where in my reading and whatnot. I'd have to really look to pin that down. ;-)

Back to time- so, yeah, we generally run around with the idea of linear time. And, yes, any of us who've chanced upon a Discover/ Popular Science/ The Physics of Star Trek or something else fluffy of a science sort know that time is not linear. But I have noticed that even when presented with the fact that time is not actually linear, everybody still behaves as if it were.
As if, you know, beyond here lie monsters, or something.

Quick review (feel free to add or correct if I get crazy):

Linear time is the idea of time flowing in one direction with one event occuring after another and all events being placed immovably, well, in their original places. Imagine one olympic sized swimming pool after another laid end to end as far as the eye can see, and beyond that even, in a straight line. Everybody swims in one direction from the time they're born until the time they die. At which point they're cleared out of the water (time) by the lifeguards, we hope, because bumping into all those dead bodies would get quite freaky. (You see? I have a pragmatic/ scientific mind. Ha!) Not really about the bodies, but you get the idea about the one direction.

EXCEPT that physicists have found that time doesn't flow in a one directional line. And it's not as simple as lanes in those end to end olympic pools with some people swimming one way and some people swimming the other. No, indeed, it's more like a circular swimming pool with time (and if we're going to be complicated, which we very definitely will be very soon, more dimensional thingeys than time) swishing around. Or maybe even more like a spherical pool in which time does some very, very weird things. But I think the truth is that "time as a swimming pool" is actually in a more complete shape, if you will, than a sphere even, but I can't imagine that shape because my brain is flat. I intuit it, though, and say esto es por mi.* I must design a flag. It's a brave new swimming pool, yo. Pee in it if you dare.**

*Like all good explorers, I blithely and bravely ignore the fact that this has been "technically" discovered by someone else before me. What is "time"?, I ask. What's "before"? Look over there! (That last is so I can run away before you turn back around. But I'll come back. I always do.)

** Penrose (Sir Roger Penrose if you're nasty) already has peed in this pool or at least has stated his intention to jump in and try. I will chide him in the next, fascinating installment of String Theory Backstory. I do a really good chide. Even if I may have to finally concede a point to the chidee. You'll love it.

mardi, juin 21, 2005

How Shall I Explain? (Part Un of my String Theory Backstory)

Lukas asked for backstory on that String Theory Prayer thing you see I wrote a while back. I said I'd get to it as soon as I got home from being Oout and Aboout. But then I've been sick (coughing up green stuff, thanks for asking) for the past week and not exactly in a writing mood. But I'm getting to it now asbestos I can.

I do think I'm somewhat good at writing the dramatic and weary stuff, sometimes anyway. Not always. And sometimes I'm good at goofy, too. (Who am I kidding? I'm always good at goofy- it's an essential part of this nutritious breakfast I keep eating.) But every once in a while when I horrify myself and sometimes others by saying out loud how bad things really are- in fact really have been for way, way, way too long, I think hhmm, I wonder if I could describe joy as well? I mean could I do justice to the equal and opposite part of existence should it ever show up? And I think maybe I'm not much of a writer, really, if I can't describe joy and comfort as well as I dig into pain and weariness and grief. So, there you have that bit of my thought process laid out for you to consider. But I do get tired of being tired and being pained is a pain. Sometimes you just think tant pis and keep going.

Also, I have a fast brain. At least I do when Hashimoto's is not controlling my existence (there's a limit to the control I'll grant it anymore, actually.) But my brain jumps fastest of all when it gets to science for some reason. I mean it cross references as I'm reading/ hearing something (which is what it always does when I read/ hear anything) but then it starts jumping to the implications of what I'm reading/ hearing and cross referencing and then to further implications and further and further ones. This is fun. Why am I not trying to be a scientist or phsyicist of some sort, I ask you? I mean this is really fun. But then, drinking is fun, too, and I always wonder as I'm getting sloshed (upon the somewhat rare occasions that I do get sloshed with friends), why am I not an alcoholic, chasing this warm slide into peaceful one-thought-ness on a daily basis? Dunno. Maybe because there are too many thoughts I want to have and I can't afford to whittle things down to one all the time.

But I do know that when my brain jumps around realizing the implications of science stuff, it goes so quickly that it's difficult for me to hand out bite size pieces afterwards. I would actually have to go back and retrace my thinking or even more like re-think my thinking to drag somebody else along with me. I said to a friend (who is not only fast when it comes to mindliness but can also damn well explain what the whole thing was about every step of the way) that when it comes to science I understand it but I just can't speak about it. And he thought that was very funny because we'd both been raised in the same kind of church groups and growing up, saying that you just couldn't speak about something implied that you were holier than whoever and that your knowledge kind of elevated you above them over there. So, what I said smacked of that foolishness (even though it wasn't) plus it just cracked him up that I couldn't verbalize something which is actually verbalize-able. Especially for him. Good for him, I say. I like to make my friends laugh and if that has to happen at my expense from time to time, so be it.

Still, I am what I am. And sometimes my brain goes too fast, which is fun, but I can't speak about it. Or at least not well. Or easily. My handwriting says the same thing. Since kindergarten, it's been seriously twitchy because my brain moves too fast for my hand to keep up. Learning to type was a relief of sorts except that it then created this kind of o.c.d. outlet wherein I typed anything anybody said for a while. Maybe I was just practicing. Maybe I wasn't lulu at all. Maybe.

Anyhoo, forget the drinking and the writing/ typing and the laughing and let's get back to science. I'll try to speak about it.

(to be continued...)