Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 New Year's Catchphrases:




  1. 2013: Really? We're gonna do this?
  2. 2013: If you insist.
  3. 2013: I got a bad feeling about this. 
  4. 2013: Wait. Let's think this over before doing anything rash.
  5. 2013: Didn't we just do this last year?
  6. 2013: Again?
  7. 2013: Do we have to?
  8. 2013: This looks dubious.
  9. 2013: Sure, Why not?
  10. 2013: This is a bad idea.

Friday, December 21, 2012

THE MEANING OF LIFE (close enough anyway)


There is none, but there is a close, close approximation.

On this, the end of the world (?) {December 21, 2012} I am writing that yesterday, the day before the end of the world, I watched Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" (1983).

I have watched this movie many time throughout my 46 years, because I am that way.  I think it is hilarious, and I have always thought, that at the end of the movie, they summed it up in an offhand way with this quote, which I had memorized for along time, being a Monty Python fan.  It goes like this:
M-hmm. Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. 
And for years, I thought this was a great summary of some good advice, but it isn't, of course the MEANING OF LIFE, as the movie title suggests, but just some sound advice, and it's funny because it is basically saying, "there isn't any meaning of life, just be nice."

But last night, watching the movie again, I finally found, after close to thirty years of loving this movie, the true nugget of the film.  It happens in a board meeting of otherwise douchebag executives.  One of them starts off asking about "item six" on the agenda.
Exec #1: Item six on the agenda: "The Meaning of Life" Now uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.

Exec #2: Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: People aren't wearing enough hats. Two: . . . this "soul" does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia. 

Exec #3: What was that about hats again?
This is the entire crux of the movie, and I have been missing it for thirty years.

Now this isn't the "meaning of life" as there is no intrinsic "meaning of life" but it is so close, it bears discussion . . .  { there's more, but this is a book excerpt from the book I'm working on.}

here's the clip:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Simple Rules for American Problem Solving


As Americans, whenever we face dire, complicated, and urgent problems, we must remember to follow a few simple rules:


  1. Slogans: Yell short, catchy slogans at anyone who might disagree with your worldview. Repeat talking points. Eye rolling should begin as soon as the other side responds with their own canned responses. 
  2. Simplicity: Offer simple, easy to understand solutions that only address the symptoms of the problem.  While imperfect, this bolsters the worldview of your "side".  Use hypothetical situations to explain why these imaginary situations bolster your own arguments.Insist that there is only ONE cause, and therefore, only ONE solution.  If the problem involves many causes, it is too complicated for America to solve.  
  3. Anger: Be angry. Be very angry that someone fails to see the genius of your solution, or the solution that your "side" offers.
  4. Derision: Make sure to discount any idea from the other "side." Admitting that they might have good ideas is a sign of weakness.  The other "side" is full of idiots.  Obviously.  No one from the other "side" will ever have a good idea, no matter how reasonable it sounds.
  5. Victory: Always make sure that your "side" wins, at all costs.
  6. Stubbornness: Reject nuanced positions or complicated ideas that might require compromise.  Compromise is for the weak.
  7. Emotion: Appeal to emotion when making an argument.
  8. Win: Every problem is a contest that must be "won" at all cost.  The other "side" must lose.  And they are wrong. They must be reminded how wrong they are. Even if you don't know the answer to the problem, be absolutely positive that "their" answer is 100% wrong. Point out the weaknesses in their solution, demanding an absolute perfect solution.  Offer no solutions.
  9. Criticism: Point out the weaknesses of the other side's arguments, while obfuscating the weaknesses of your own side.
  10. Accusations: Demonize the other "side." Blame them.  Use terms like "blood on their hands."  Point out the worst examples of people on their "side," and claim that these bad examples represent the entire group, while simultaneously ignoring the lunatics on your own side.  Generalize.  Make straw-man arguments. 


I think with these simple rules in mind, America's future will be better, brighter, and more civil.  Freedom.

Monday, December 10, 2012

#71 Electric Light!


Electric Light!
Electric Light!
Without you,
It would be quite Night.

Display our Clutter
Very Bright!
Without you,
We would have no Sight!

Electric Light!
Electric Light!
Without you,
Dark would be the Night!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

#72 SMALL MAN FROZEN IN BLACK AND WHITE


Edgar Allen Poe
Curled up in the street.
The winds of Baltimore
Cooping election day.
"In great Distress."
Baltimore Poet.

Threadbare ankles
Dirt and grime
An alcoholic's pounding brain
In someone else's clothes.

Fevered Baltimore Poet
Curled on the street
Beside a dingy wall.

In a stranger's clothes

Taken to hospital
Barred windows.

Dead in less than a week,
Delirious:
Talking to spirits,
To a cruel Father,
To Ravens, to Eleonora,
To The Lost Lenore,
To Death in the City in The Sea.
Dead in less than a week,
Five in the Morning.
Who was Reynolds?

Griswold was not amused.
False obituaries, false memoirs.
Defended by Baudelaire,
A Raven made famous.
Small man
Now frozen in Black and White.

About Me

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I am the author of 8 books: Android Down, Firewood for Cannibals, Brain Giblets, The Cubicles of Madness, Booze and News, Get Your Zen On, Zen Happens, and most recently, Robot Stories. I live and write in Michigan. My website is at danmanning.com

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