George Carlin, on Change

change machine

On numerous occasions, I have repeated this experiment, in keeping with the scientific method. I have obtained the same null result as Carlin obtained, each and every time.

A Lesson Involving the Social Use of Color


RobertLovesPi’s social-interaction lesson of the day: different colors of fabric can actually mean something else, besides simply reflecting different wavelengths of light, and these meanings can shift quickly. (I already knew this could happen once per day, but was only just taught that this is also possible for n = 2, allowing me to extrapolate that, for the general case, n > -1, presumably with an upper limit set by the individual’s speed at changing clothes.)

As far as I can tell, n = 0 on weekends and legal holidays, in most cases, and n = 1 on most workdays (but not today, when the needed reflection-wavelength shifts from ~475 nm to ~550 nm after I leave the city of Sherwood, Arkansas, bound for a spot approximately 20 km South of there, in Little Rock, which is still in the same county).

Apparently my key to understanding this stuff is finding a way to analyze it mathematically. Also, posting such “new” discoveries to my blog increases the odds of me remembering them. However, unlike my last such finding (it involved chocolate chips not being a sandwich topping at Subway), I did NOT figure these things out “all by myself.” In fact, without help from two very important people, I doubt I ever would have figured them out at all!

“How are you today?”

how are you

At least in this part of the world, “How are you today?” — or variations thereof — is commonly used as a way to start conversations, as a bit of “small talk.” The odd part of this social convention is that, when people ask this, they usually don’t really want to hear an honest answer — or, indeed, any answer at all that isn’t part of the standard “small talk” script.

The usual answer (“Fine, thanks,” or something like it) is yet another empty phrase — more small talk. Unusual answers, though, have great potential for fun. I first encountered this idea in a class I took, many years before, where the teacher told us that his habit was to answer, instead, with an upbeat, “Getting better!” I’ve tried this, and the facial expressions often seen, in response, are indeed quite entertaining. Small talk is annoying — to me, anyway — but disrupting it, by simply deviating from the usual script, can be a lot of fun.

Here are some other possible answers, but this game is probably most fun if you make up your own.

  • “I’m glad you asked. Actually, my feet hurt. Do you know why?”
  • “Well, I’d feel a lot better if I hadn’t just blown my whole budget for the week on chocolate. It tasted good when I ate it all for breakfast this morning, though!”
  • “Hopefully, I’ll be able to answer your question in a few minutes. Say, where’s the nearest restroom?”
  • “Terrible. My beloved pet cricket just died.”
  • “I’m hoping it gets better soon. Could you recommend a good mechanic nearby, as well as a chiropractor?”
  • “I’m feeling great! There is nothing like a couple of extra-strength placebos to start the day!”
  • “I’m okay now, but I’m not looking forward to this afternoon at all. You have heard about the giant asteroid heading straight for us, right? It’s supposed to hit somewhere near downtown, at about four o’clock.”
  • “Well, I’m broke. May I borrow fifty bucks until next month?”

While I do greatly value honesty, I obviously exclude jokes from the category of lies. Also, suggestions for other funny responses, in comments, would be much appreciated.

Not Poker — Chess. I Am Not Captain Kirk.

Not Chess Mr Spock


Something I have in common with the fictional Captain Kirk, from the original Star Trek series, is that I enjoy playing both poker and chess. In the scene depicted above, from the episode “The Corbomite Maneuver,” the Enterprise is facing an adversary who dramatically outpowers them — and Kirk escapes the situation with an outrageous bluff, right after making this reference to the game of poker.

Unlike Captain Kirk, however, I am not skilled at bluffing, with two consequences:  (1) I’m a terrible poker player, and (2) I do not attempt bluffing as a strategy, unless I am actually playing poker.

I’ve been an activist for a large variety of causes, for decades, and, because of this activism, have acquired a rather large number of adversaries. Many of them have figured out that I don’t bluff, but some — rather surprisingly, considering they have known me for years — have not. The amusing thing, to me, is that I’ve always been quite open about this, but some still fail to realize it, despite my candor on the subject. When engaged in any struggle, I only make statements I believe to be true, for one simple reason: I’m so terrible at bluffing, or other forms of lying, that any untrue statement I were to make would be instantly recognized as dishonest. Since I figured this out, about myself, decades ago, I deliberately choose to only employ strategies which are completely honest. It would be stupid, after all, for me to employ strategies with which I know I have weak skills.

So, unless I’m actually playing real poker, and am engaged in any sort of struggle, I’m basically playing metaphorical chess. This involves figuring out what my opponents are thinking, devising strategies to counter theirs, and remaining at least three moves ahead of my adversaries, at all times. I’m far more like Mr. Spock than I am like Captain Kirk, and always have been. This isn’t going to change.

I find it hilarious that I can post these absolutely-true statements right here,  on the Internet, where anyone can see them — and have full confidence that those who persist in their mistaken belief that I’m bluffing, about anything, will continue to make this enormous error in judgment — until it’s too late. For them, that is.