No school like the old school
There's nothing like some good fatherly advice to keep the youngster on track and help continue the quaint traditions, right?
Then and now
Or maybe this and that. And what is the "that" that's being thated? Well, this. What you see below is a picture that shows two images. They look remarkably similar. And yet - different. It's a single watercolor painting, done in double quick time by the marvelous Michael Reardon as part of a demo for the California Watercolor Association. What prompted this post was the fact that I'd taken a picture of the finished painting right after it had been completed. Taken with a fancy pants iPhone 11 Pro, which means the camera is pretty darn good. But I didn't do any immediate review and color correction - just took what was there in the not-terribly-bright indoor lights. What's below it in the picture below is a screen grab of an Instagram post that came in just a moment ago. So - an iPhone image taken of the actual painting and an Instagram post of a (most likely) digital pic of the actual painting.
What's the point of the post? Well, the fact that, as you can see, they're the same and yet, not really. Clearly it's the same piece of watercolor art. Did extra painting occur after the demo? Not sure. There sure is a ton more orange in the roofs.
What AM I reasonably sure about? Well, for one thing, Michael undoubtedly took his picture after the painting had dried completely and one fact of life in watercolor is that they dry less vibrant than they appear when wet. They lighten up as well. Beyond that? Mine clearly shows far more texture of the paper. Likely due to the fact the main lights were overhead and the painting was close to vertical for my photo. The more the light is off-axis, the more it will bring up shadows. Because the paper certainly didn't flatten after he left the demo.
The other factor is what Michael may have done in post process. Looking at the roofs I'd not be surprised if some punching up of the warmer tones occurred. Of course, it might have just been the settings of his camera - very often jpg images err quite strongly on the over-saturation side.
Anyway, nothing earthshaking. Just another convenient example of how what you see and what YOU see might not be what I see. See?
Gimme the caf
Thanks to Funny Times for running a grayscale, and somewhat earlier version, of this hard-hitting and philosophically deep Crowtoon.
I just rewatched the first Star Wars, sadly mangled by Lucas after the fact. Episode IV, as it's now known.
The big bad threat was the Death Star. We know it's bad because it destroyed Alderaan. Boom!
And the climactic end of the film had our heroes attacking it before it could get in range of the moon their base was on and destroy it. There was a planet in the way, you see.
Soooo, seeing as we already know it can blow up planets ... why didn't they blow up the planet that was between them and the moon at the very beginning? And then blow up the moon? Seems like a pretty good strategy to me, wouldn't you agree?
Ears tight shut
Your early Saturday morning Crowtoon!
A feel good episode with a "but". The "but" being the big reveal that Heaven is actually Hell when it's stretched out to eternity. Because that's not a deep observation, is it? Anyone who has reflected on what an infinity of living on a cloud playing a harp would be like, or even doing it for a week, has quickly concluded it would be pretty terrible. Booooring. And the same for doing anything else.
I see why the writers wanted to dispense with the question "Why not just infinitely reboot them when life got monotonous?" But Chiti's admonition that they couldn't do that because Michael used that approach to torture them and they couldn't co-opt Hell's techniques in Heaven rings false to me. Michael didn't reboot the Fab Four AS torture, he did it to allow him to experiment with different KINDS of torture. His experiment was failing and so he simply was resetting and trying again. In the Good Place the resetting would be a way of refreshing oneself, going back to a clean slate and then having more awesome heavenly experiences. It allows the participants to climb the highest peak and then climb another. Works for me.
What else struck me? I immediately wondered as the original Good Place team ran off after handing the task over to Michael - where exactly are they running TO? The Bad Place?
My other thought was "My my, there look to be well under a hundred people at the "here's our plan for the Good Place" party. Just a few dozen winners out of billions? That's functionally zero. Clearly if that's the case a whole LOT of people missed a lot of fun by spending their time on Earth being good just to get into the GP. Life could accurately be described as "A 99.99999999% chance of torture in Hell for eternity".
Given those odds, I'd counsel going for the gusto.
NOT intelligent design. Not even close. You want to know what's intelligent design? A nuclear power plant. Something in which, if the temperature is getting too high, an alarm goes off that signals the operator that "the temperature is too high". Or a car. Which has a light on the dash that says "pull over immediately if you don't want a BIG problem".
But my body? It let me, without raising a single peep or warning, extend the duration and extent of the normal exercises that I do. You see, I decided to modify my suspended (TRX) pushups and make them into super slow pushups with planks at the top and bottom. Harder. Hence better, right? Did a bunch of them. Felt just fine.
Some while later I got on the rowing machine and after two minutes a muscle in my back went "ping". Or perhaps "ouch!".
I rowed a few more strokes, lightly. Did the "ouch" go away? No, it did not. So I stopped rowing (yay for me not being even stupider and continuing). But did my body warn me, way back an hour earlier? Something along the lines of "Attention, this is your body speaking. What you're doing is stressing your back muscles. Back off if you don't want a BIG problem."
Did my body say that to me? It did not.
Is that an intelligent design? Nooooo way.
I guess so ...
Click bait. It's the modern cousin of the old carnival freak shows. "Two Headed Woman! Just a nickel!" Show the sign to enough people and enough would part with their nickels to view the freak of nature. Which was usually a normal woman with a fake head attached.
Nobody offers nickels any more but they DO offer their time and their eyeballs. And although they're not worth much individually, the trick is that there's millions out there so succeed in capturing just a small percentage and you're golden.
It's fun to reverse engineer them, to ask oneself just what's the motivation to click. This one, for instance. It starts with "If you can guess". And then goes on to "can you identify". Hmmmm. Guessing and identifying are pretty much completely different. Does IQ correlate with guessing? I'd have guessed ... not. Or rather, if the questions are carefully chosen, with given prior information supplied, and you have to make an educated guess based on what you've been told and through using your brain to draw subtle conclusions that support your guess ... then yes, that'd reflect IQ. But I'm willing to bet real money that's not what you'll find if you click an ad like this.
And note the IQ listed. 140. That's genius level. Not many geniuses around. And yet - I'll bet a good chunk of those choosing to waste some of their time clicking will find to their amazement that they've got genius IQs! Yay for them!
But you don't have to be a genius to realize that clicking the link is pretty much going to get you what the two headed lady audiences got a century ago. A big helping of "not much".
On Being a Busy Bee
I have a hard time not noticing that, for most of the day, our cat likes to quietly philosophize. By which I mean - snooze. And our dog follows a similar philosophy. Their lives seem to be summed up by “be fed, run around a bit, snooze”. And in the case of my dog, bark like a lunatic at any and all squirrels and postal workers.
This behavior contrasts markedly with the birds I see in our garden. They’re flitting around, here there and everywhere, looking for something to eat. They don’t sit around a great deal.
Can I conclude that a top priority of life is to find something to eat? Outside, where life is hard, it takes up a good bit of time. And inside, where food is freely offered, it’s a quickly accomplished task. One that, once accomplished, permits us to just lie around and relax. Judging from these examples, I’d be forced to say yes, that would seem to be the life's goal.
And yet … humans. We don’t seem to advocate this approach to our time on this mortal coil. Especially in North America there’s this nagging sense that if we’re not eating (or sleeping or having sex) we should be DOING SOMETHING. Just sitting around is lazy. It’s a waste of time. It’s … non-productive. A sin.
Of course, if we busy ourselves we can perhaps earn more money. Money which lets us buy and eat even more food! But we can’t eat it all, can we? There’s a limit. And we wouldn’t want to try, unless a steadily increasing number on the weight scale is our goal.
Stuff! That’s an answer! With more work and more money we can buy more stuff! In fact, our society has evolved such that the creation and purchase of new stuff is seemingly its core activity set. Civilization would crumble if we didn’t keep working and buying and working and buying. Until we die, of course.
So does this make us happier than my cat or my dog? I can’t be sure, of course. But judging from their expressions I’d tend to think maybe not so much.
This is an important observation, so pardon me while I close my eyes and quietly philosophize about it. Zzzzzz ....
That is the question
The next time you want to say "begs the question" I urge you to instead say "raises the question". That way you're saying exactly what you mean AND you're saving "begs the question" for its actual meaning, rather than steering it away from its lovely purpose in logic and disputation.
Ahhhhh, Tuesdays. Just the time of week for a grammar rant, don't you agree?