Category Archives: short

I got an A in high school biology but this is all I can remember

Eleven years after high school biology, I remember nothing but these three things. They improve my life on a daily basis, but they definitely do not grant me the title of “Knows Stuff About Biology”:

  1. I write delta (Δ) to mean “change” in my shorthand notes, which saves time.
  2. I retain a limited understanding of the concepts of enzymes and activation energy, an understanding I deploy exclusively in the creation of metaphors. (e.g. “The activation energy needed to make our BYO-paper-maché-bobsled party a successful one is pretty high.” “The enzyme in that hookup was tequila.”)
  3. I know that biology is complicated and memory is a skill, and you will impress me if you know a lot about biology or remember what you learned in high school.

If you’re reading this, Dr. Merritt, I’m sorry. Although! I do remember that I enjoyed your class. Which is all that teachers care about, right? The lingering personal impressions they made upon their students? Also, your unrepentant combination of Birkenstocks and wool socks was bold for its day and remains an admirable stance.

My Digital Resolutions For 2013 (Not Numbered)

  • Never read the comments section.
  • Treat Facebook and Twitter like a phone call, not a television.
  • Do not flip out when a free website changes its terms of service. They’re allowed to do it; you’re allowed to stop using the website.
  • Support web artists whose work you value with purchases, not just pageviews.
  • Stop freeloading and donate to news outlets and service organizations whose missions you value.
  • Remember that sharing a link is neither a vote nor a donation.
  • Use Facebook only for conversation and link sharing, never as the platform for created content.
  • Stop reading articles with titles that begin “Top 15…” or “8 Best…” etc.
  • Continue to not use emoticons anywhere, in any fashion.
  • Apply a high standard of relevance and interest before attempting to tell someone about a video or comic you saw online.
  • Tweet like your girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, future employer, and favorite aunt are all reading it.
  • Make sure your blog post is important before going back to edit it after it’s ben publishedd.

we trust our eyes and tongues but we crowdsource the rest

My office’s heating system is aggressive and my boss recently asked me if it felt warm in his room. I agreed that it did.

This made me realize how we trust our eyes and tongues but like to crowdsource our other senses.

Crowdsourced senses:
Touch: “Does it feel warm in here to you?”
Hearing: “Do you hear a high-pitched whine? Wait…there it is again!”
Smell: “Does this milk smell bad to you?”

Senses we don’t crowdsource:
Sight: “Do you see a dog in this room?”  “Go pet that dog there.”
Taste: “Does this taste like shit?”  “This tastes like shit.”

presidential elections should happen in the spring

Presidential elections should be held in the spring. If we all went to vote on a sunny Tuesday in March, borderline-high on the exhilarating strand of optimism you can only get from an early spring day, we’d vote for the candidate who inspires hope, not fear.

Also, more people would vote, because it’d be an excuse to take a walk outside.

remarkably prolific

Occasionally I come across an artist, frequently a writer or musician, who is described in a bio or review as prolific or “remarkably productive.” (Mostly recently it is the Spotify bio for Derek Vince Smith, who makes music under the handle Pretty Lights. If you haven’t heard the album “Making Up A Changing Mind,” you haven’t felt as good today as you could be feeling.)

I want to meet these people and find out how they go about their business. I wonder what the prolific benchmark is for a musician, or a writer, or a stand-up comic.

probably my favorite joke

Ain’t no party like a North Korean party cuz a North Korean party is MANDATORY.

I’ve heard other versions of this joke (substituting Russia or Liz Lemon for ‘North Korea’), but this is the basics. I can’t remember when or where I first heard it, but it’s been years, and it still gets me.

Oh, it still gets me.

inspirational quotes from the moment of inspiration

I recently saw an e-mail with this quote at the bottom:

“Integrity means doing the right thing even when it’s not convenient.”
— US Airways Capt. C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger

Solid quote, from a guy who probably knows what he’s talking about.  But Capt. Sullenberger is famous not for being a rich vein for one-a-day-calendars, but for landing a plane safely in the Hudson.  And you can be sure while he was doing that, he wasn’t sprouting wise maxims.  It was probably a combination of technical pilot-speak and swear words.

I’d like to see a compilation of famous people’s quotes uttered while they were doing the thing that made them famous.  Some guesses that come to mind:

“Well fuck me.”
— Bill Buckner

“I wonder if that was even worth the flight to Berlin.”
— Neville Chamberlain

“I hope to high heaven those Prussian bastards show up on time.”
— Sir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

“[humming while tapping a pencil]”
— Albert Einstein

“Fuck shit fuck I’m going to kill ever goddamn bird in New York.”
— US A Airways Capt. C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger

I’d buy that calendar.