That’s not what “information” means, sir

The greatest thing about unintentional irony is that its power to amuse is immune to the sands of time.

We live, of course, in an era in which every slack-minded crusader with Internet access seems to think that his frantic and delusional ideas about politics, religion and life in general merit a personal blog. This has boosted the number of people publicly expressing thoughts that are not only profoundly stupid but also magnificently oblivious to levels no observer could have predicted even twenty years ago. Nevertheless, every new addition to the canon of “Look at the pile of chocolate it looks like I stepped in! Why does it stink?” is just as entertaining as the ones preceding it. If nothing else, these actors are largely insulated from uncomfortable emotions such as shame and embarrassment, because they lack the intellectual candlepower to see how badly off the mark their shots invariably fall.

Hence my fascination with Granite Grok. Continue reading “That’s not what “information” means, sir”

The futility blog

If you’ve spent any time reading blogs, you’ve seen at least a few of them that, rather than serving as a linear chronicle of events and ideas sharing a common theme in the writer’s life, center on a particular event, purpose or goal. In a typical runner’s blog, the writer describes his training and races and daily experiences, with the implicit idea that the blog will be regularly updated until the writer gets sick of it or quits running or no longer has the time. It’s essentially a journal, nothing more. But sometimes people start blogs with titles like “My Journey to the 2016 Olympic Trials,” or “Getting to the Bottom of Russian Doping” that have either a fixed temporal endpoint or a finite purpose or both.

With the latter type, you’ll often discover right away that the person behind the blog has a goal he or she stands no realistic chance of attaining, either because the goal is worthy but simply out of the blogger’s reach (for example, a 40-year-old man with a marathon best of 2:50 hoping to make the Olympic Trials standard of 2:19) or the entire scheme is founded on delusional thinking or ferociously corrupt logic (say, a runner who predicts that a Nepalese marathoner will set a world record this fall because of sherpas’ proven ability to perform yeoman physical feats in the presence of very little oxygen). In such cases, you have unearthed a genuine futility blog. Continue reading “The futility blog”

Things I wrote today that were not blog posts

I didn’t time how long it took me to write the following e-mail, but it could not have been more than four minutes. I only wish I could generate words and paragraphs that quickly in my other, for-profit and for-creativity writing endeavors. The only context you need is that I was trading messages with someone who was joining me in a pointless but fun tirade about a subset of the generally self-deluded American populace.

I will also take this opportunity to point out that, as grim as it is to admit, having a Facebook account has largely laid waste to my contributing to this blog. I find it all too easy to fling thoughts that used to be the seeds for blog posts into status updates instead, and I can’t really claim that I regret this because in the end I don’t waste as much time. And while blogging is a dear pastime to me, or has been, that’s all it is. I don’t even read them much anymore, much less contribute to my own.

And most of them are still fat, they’re just staying that way through inadequate workouts and a new form of extra calories instead of pure ass-sitting and traditional empty calories.

This is just classic American bullshitting of each other and ourselves. Remember when we were in college and fat became the devil? All of these fat-free foods hit the market, and it was supposed to mean epidemic weight loss and nirvana for people who embraced these new, magical snacks. Problem is, they still have a lot of calories (many non-fat desserts have even more calories than their fat-rich counterparts — ice cream sometimes does).

So the U.S. continued to bloat, and it was back to the bullshit drawing board, and WOW! Carbs are the problem, that’s it! Shoulda fuckin’ known it all along! So people went the way of your cottage-cheese-slathered co-worker, and they lost some water weight, but their moods blackened and in the end most of them were still big slimy tubs of goo. Whoops! Looks like that one didn’t work out either. NOW what the fuck? We’re out of macronutrients to pick on and target for isolated destruction!

So most of the people on [Web site redacted] seems like dumbasses, and while this is true, unfortunately they’re pretty representative of the American middle class — educated enough to ignore the stink of their own self-righteous shit, but only smart enough to be dangerous instead of visionary. Christ, how much insight does it take to realize that people stayed fit and lean well before all of this paleo and vegan trendiness arose? I even have evidence — photos of thin people from the 70s and 80s! Not photoshopped. And they did NOT do it by trying to fit a 60-minute cardio session into 5 minutes or taking the right combination of nutraceuticals and yoga classes.

Ten verbs that weren’t around when I graduated from college

OK, I “earned” my degree a while ago, but 20 years isn’t that long. I guess the real message here is that language, like the world it describes, is changing a lot more rapidly than it used to; I doubt that the typical 1992 resident of Earth could have come up with 10 common action words that were unheard of in 1972.

My list (and you’re invited to produce your own before scanning mine to see how much overlap there is, as most of these are obvious):
Continue reading “Ten verbs that weren’t around when I graduated from college”

To the BRC guy I saw doing a road fartlek this morning (North Boulder)

(Yeah, I’m posting in Craigslist Rants & Raves mode.)

Hi. I’m the guy you saw a few times on and near the Cottonwood Trail at 7 a.m. who was wearing a bright blue Charlottesville Running Company windbreaker, black Sporthill-style pants, a Delaware XC hat and two-dollar gloves from Walgreens. (You surely couldn’t see all that, but I like describing this crude ensemble.) You were — and probably still are — about 5′ 10″ or 5′ 11′ and 160-ish pounds, and were wearing black bicycle-type tights and a Boulder Running Company top. You had — and most likely still have — a dark mustache/goatee combination and appeared to be about 30 or 40 years old. (I didn’t have my sunglasses on.) Here’s the deal. I was out to run for a little over 70 minutes so I could call it ten miles. That gave me the freedom to go by my watch rather than landmarks, which will explain the behavior I’ll review below. Continue reading “To the BRC guy I saw doing a road fartlek this morning (North Boulder)”

It’s safe to say that these are inane admonishments

“Stay safe!” “Have a safe trip!” “Be safe, OK?”

Most of us are guilty of addressing people with one or more of these phrases. I’ve done it many times and will surely do it again. When you get right down to it, these are no more useful than “You’re in my prayers.” In fact, they arguably translate to the same thing.

I have told a number of my friends on the East Coast, bracing for the possibility of a powerful windstorm this weekend, to “stay safe.” Maybe the fact that I have only written this in e-mails and not said it out loud lets me off the mental hook I’ve constructed and jammed into some needless wall in my mind. But I can’t help but be amused by common turns of phrase when they are essentially goofy.

I mean, what do I expect to change about the people I know by telling them to stay safe during, say, a transcontinental commercial flight? If I deliver these magic words, even if by text message, will this change the course of events? Will my friend have an epiphany and say “Fuck! I’d better sit up in the cockpit!” and take over in the event of an aircraft malfunction? I suppose it’s possible.

In some ways telling people to stay safe when a known hazard is heading their way makes more sense, as more factors lie within the sphere of their control under these circumstances. But most of my friends are not blithering waterheads, so in theory I don’t need to tell them to, say, not go sea kayaking in the middle of a category 4 hurricane, or make a sport of catching falling bricks or playing with live downed wires in the midst of a ruinous earthquake. Even if I had a habit of choosing such friends, they’d be quickly selected out of the population given the number of possible ways to behave in lethally stupid ways.

By the way, don’t be offended by any of this. Keep on keeping on, because it is what it is.