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Posts Tagged ‘time’

When the Big Picture is Just Too Big  

Never judge a deep space telescope by its clunky cover. Be it ever so humble – the Hubble.

The universe, which is vast, has taken on new dimensions thanks to unwelcomed discoveries from that meddling Hubble Telescope. Just when I was getting comfortable with my place in the 200 billion galaxy cosmos, the Hubble discovers that it’s 10 times larger than originally thought, thereby making me 10 times smaller – thanks a lot Hubble ass-tronomers. Could you make a guy feel any more insignificant?



A galaxy is defined as a localized cluster of stars numbering between a few hundred million (108) stars to one hundred trillion (1014) stars, each orbiting its galaxy’s center. That’s almost as many stars as Adam saw when he first laid eyes on that forbidden fruit known as Eve. Most galaxies are 3,000 to 300,000 LY (light years) in diameter (about the same diameter as Charles Barkley). Galaxies are separated by distances on the order of millions of light years from each other (about the same emotional distance between Atilla the Hun and his estranged son Caitlyn the Hun). And because our immeasurable inky playpen is so crazily proportioned, I began this little essay with the understatement of the epoch: “The universe, which is vast…”


A 60-year-old 3rd Grader Discusses Light

Yes it’s real. Spiral Galaxy not spiraling out of control, but spiraling into control. Such is life.

By definition all discussion about light is illuminating. For example, a light photon is sometimes referred to as a wavicle because it possesses properties of both a wave and an icicle, I mean a particle. It travels at 186,000 miles per second – unless it’s in a construction zone, in which case it slows down to posted speed limits in order to avoid the double penalties. But for the life of me I don’t know why the photon would “play nice” and slow down to avoid a ticket – I mean who’s going to catch it? In theory nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, but I once saw a zebra sprinting at 186,001 miles per second. It’s true. Of course, at the time, the zebra was being chased by a lion doing 186,000 mps. Motivation is where you find it.


But these alphanumeric hieroglyphs I produce with droll ardency cannot touch the absolute enormity of the cosmos. To get some sense of its outlandish proportions one has to approach it with a measure of humor and unorthodox comparisons. For a down to earth, intergalactic comparison (love the mixed metaphor), our Milky Way has a diameter of at least 100,000LY. It is separated from its nearest galactic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, by 2.5 million LY. To put this in perspective, 2.5 million LY is almost as far as PBS’s Rick Steves traveled in 2010. There’s a lot of vacant acreage out there in space just screaming to be developed. Of course no one hears those silent screams because in space there’s only the sound of silence. That might not be totally correct. I think Einstein, Goddard and Elon Musk have all heard the siren call of the eternal cosmic voice – Giuliani, Weinstein and Heinrich Himmler, not so much. Read the rest of this entry »

On Coping with Temporal and Spatial Imprecision in Early American Folk Songs


No issue too trivial, no remedy too irrelevant in structuring my universe.

She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes 
She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes
She’ll be coming round the mountain, she’ll be coming round the mountain,
She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes

She’ll be riding six white horses when she comes (Hee Haw) 
She’ll be riding six white horses when she comes (Hee Haw)
She’ll be riding six white horses, she’ll be riding six white horses,
She’ll be riding six white horses when she comes (Hee Haw)

Most of us feel a mystic kinship to Early American folk songs: case in point, the jaunty call and response song She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain. Traditional ditties like these from the Early American songbook convey a sense of unbridled optimism stretching out over a robust country ripe with opportunity. And yet for all its nationalist fervor and manifest destiny the song fairly bristles with an inexcusable lack of time-space coordinates. More specifically, once the listener realizes an unnamed and otherwise phantom “she” will be coming ‘round the mountain, our first reaction is to wonder when she’ll arrive – when will “she” be coming ‘round the mountain? Our reptilian logic centers are primed for processing the precise locus of this event. And despite our anticipatory curiosity, all we are told is that she’ll be coming ‘round that mountain, “When she comes.” I’m afraid this simply will not do. Although I loathe words that have a “b” followed by an “h”, I nonetheless abhor songs whose feel good, sunny lyrics betray an appalling lack of time and place. Read the rest of this entry »

Railroad Time Zones: A Case Study in the Greater Good?

Early depiction of Time Zones or Belts as they were called in 1883. Better for you than Toaster Streudel and less confusing that a Thursday Night edition of Monday Night Football.

Early depiction of Time Zones or “Time Belts” as they were called upon their introduction in 1883. Eventually citizens found them less confusing than a Thursday Night edition of Monday Night Football.

Ogg returned to the cave and proudly presented his proto-wife with the spoils for the day – a scrawny pterodactyl. She cast one withering glance at his meager bounty and huffed, “You call that hunting and gathering? You’re all hunt and no gather. Would it kill you to gather some berries once in a while?”

In a similar way I return from my writing desk and hope to present you with more than a scrawny bird-brained essay to chew on, lest you cast one withering glance at my meager typing and huff, “You call that hunting and pecking? You’re all hunt and no pecker. Would it kill you to gather your thoughts once in a while?”

My speculation here is extravagant. Not only in assuming prehistoric man spoke English, but in assuming readers are interested in an essay that tries to bypass the usual clichés of “Life being about the journey” and instead suggests an even less appealing theme: “If everyone behaved more like me, the world would be a better place.” Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Always Now

Finally! A watch that always tells the correct time.

Be it ever so humble there’s no place like Now. In fact, it’s the only place there is. Time wise you can’t be any other place else. Forget Greenwich Mean Time or Daylight Savings Time or even Hammer Time. There is only one time you can actually be at and that time is Now. Of course there’s a future known as “Soon” and a past known as “Then”, but you can only refer to those times. You can’t actually be there because of the inescapability of Now. Now is everywhere, forever yoking us to its immediacy. It never stops. Now is both obsolete and reborn every instant. It repopulates as soon as it’s able to like fruit flies or Mormons. Read the rest of this entry »

Teenager’s First Sexual Experience Reconfigures Brain

  • Calls event “Hecka Rad, Way Better than Gaming and Profoundly Filthy in a Good Way”
  • Vows to repeat act to the exclusion of all else
  • College likely to be a six year plan now
  • Tells parents,”Mom, Dad – I’m all about bullet points now” 

Parents to Kyle: “Get over it already, kid.”

Steubenville, OH

Hyperventilation marked the first sexual congress between Kyle Mahorn (age unimportant) and Sara Chambers (age also unimportant). This premeditated coitus went off as planned last Sunday morning when Kyle’s parents were praying at St. John the Baptist Church. “I’m just beside myself,” an excited Kyle gushed after gushing. “I’m like completely a convert to ‘strange’ now. I mean I’d heard all about it and I’d spent a lot of time practicing alone, but I never thought it’d be like this. All the time you hear about the fraying of society and the loss of community and all this disintegration stuff, but this…this is like interstellar superglue and will bind a society together faster than martial law or Costco coupons ever could. Boy Howdy, this thing looms large in my future and will naturally cause me to straighten up and fly right…well straighten up anyway. Man, I’ve got to tell everybody how good this is, although I’m probably just preaching to the choir.”


When asked why his passion with Ms. Chambers was so transformative, Kyle got that far away look in his groin and explained; “I’d always looked at sex as sort of a solo act because that’s the way I’d been doing it for the past (number of years unimportant), but when I was with sweet, sweet Sara, I found the more I thought about her, the more my universe compressed into an infinite singularity until va va voom – the Big Bang. I’ve since developed an intense affection for her and plan to repeat the experience to the exclusion of all else. In fact it’s not even a plan. It’s just something I’m going to do.”


“It’s funny how perspectives can change. Until now I’ve always been vitally interested in playing World of Warcraft, but since I’ve made love to sweet, sweet Sara, somehow whether the the Druids of Le Grange can storm the armory and retake ancestral Beulah Land just doesn’t seem so important now. No, this act, and it’s no act, is a real game changer. Sara possesses telekinetic powers. She just looks at my pants and they begin to move. In the middle of our lovemaking it struck me how much unnecessary complaining people do when they should be down on their hands and knees doing exactly what I was doing. This is a free gift to mankind. You can even pay for it if you want to. The point is this should be the headline everyday, everywhere:  Sex allows transcendence of space-time. Confirms Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity.”

“And Sara, sweet, sweet Sara. Like I say, I’m attached to her in ways I can’t explain. I want to have her children, buy her a house, protect her from evil and if marriage charts are any indication, divorce her in 12 years and repeat the process with someone else. It’s that good!”

Kyle continued, “Anyway this is my calling. It’s all I want to do and although I may not be God’s gift to women, they sure are to me.”

Sociologist estimate this freakish hallucination occurs in American males somewhere around 5000 times a day, more so on weekends.