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Stray Sunday Thoughts

Every once in a while you time your weekends right. Yesterday was a glorious fall day, and I spent it cleaning the house, doing laundry, mowing the lawn (Hey, grass, it’s fall already, stop growing!), and finishing two books from the comfort of the porch. Today, cool and cloudy, is get down to business day – writing a “serious” paper for an upcoming conference in Singapore, sharpening my presentations for the AASL conference in Pittsburg, and continuing to edit the program for the MEMO conference. Weekends, you got to love them.

Weekend blogging should be free from the normal restraints of professionalism. So just a few random thoughts…

1. You have to love the power of satire. If you’ve not seen the Pastafarian website, take a look. The creator of the site is asking that schools give equal time in their science curriculum to his church’s belief that the world was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster and that global warming can be directly correlated to the decline in the number of pirates (graph included). A worthy descendant to Swift and his A Modest Proposal.

2. Another very funny, very irreverent satirist is Bill Maher, and I just finished his book New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer. I would caution that most of his thoughts are not terribly polite, and if you have a particular fondness for the Catholic Church, George Bush or mass media celebrities, you will not care for much of what he opines. But for the rest of us, he’s just about as funny as it gets. Oh, I’d probably not buy this for my school library.

3. As a guy gets older, he spends more time reflecting on what he has and hasn’t done with his life. The number of condom dispensers one finds in gas station men’s rooms has increasingly upset me. I see these machines and wonder why I’ve never had the sort of love life that’s required a fast lurch to SuperAmerica and a desperate fumble for quarters. Sometimes it just seems that everyone in the world must be leading a much more spontaneous life that you are.

4. I am now about 40 pages into Ray Kurzweil’s latest book The Singularity is Near, an optimistic tome about the time humanity and machinery evolve into a single piece of work – supposedly just after technology gets smart enough to start inventing itself. I’m sorry, Ray, this stuff still scares me silly. I keep thinking of the evil Core from Dan Simmon’s Hyperion/Endymion series. Compassion from a computer program seems about as likely as compassion from… well, there is no need to get political here.

5. My cousin Dave was once found in the attic eating mothballs. After having his stomach pumped, his mom asked him why he ate them since they couldn’t have tasted very good. His reply, “I thought they were marshmallows and I’d get to a good one sooner or later.” I think about Cousin Dave’s philosophy now and again when I’ve spent too much time waiting for a book or movie “to get good.” Life’s too short to wait for anything to “get good.”

That’s it. Off to write about “The Knowledge Worker Redux” – whatever that means. Happy weekend.

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