June 21, 2012

A Haiku-storic Day

Besides being the birthday of Philip Davies MP's former Parliamentary researcher, Grainne Magee, 21 June is a rather historic day. Perhaps noteworthy events and hours of daylight are directly related, in which case Norwegian summers must rock. posted twenty five haiku on this day last year and called it the Longest Day in Haiku-storyHere are five more.

China fought the world
to protect its own borders.
Failed. Silly China.

Japanese sub shelled
Oregon, the turning point
of the war for sure.

Johannes Stark died,
lesser Nazi physicist.
Totes not Iron Man.

Rebecca Black born
on her most favorite day—
Saturday, of course.

Greenland rules itself.
Mercator Projection says
that really matters!

Happy solstice, everybody.

June 07, 2012

Swaddle that kahntekst!

Presentation matters, and every nuance of presentation affects tastes. (On the other hand, PowerPoint presentation dont matter too much. Everyone uses Prezi now anyway.) On a basic level, we understand this all too well. At Chipotle, ordering a burrito bowl and ordering a burrito are two very different acts, and you’ll rarely see a man doing the former or a woman doing the latter. Sticking with suburban casual dining, a rosy or indigo filled Jamba cup is much more eye-catching than a brimming branny one. But a burrito bowl can contain identical ingredients to a burrito, and golden smoothies may taste like ambrosia. I wouldn’t know about the latter though. I’m still trying to achieve moksha into Strawberry Nirvana through constant ingestion.

My aversion to brown drank speaks to the often overwhelming power of presentation. When the internal and external conflict a dissonance arises that can lead to a dehumanizing utilitarianism. For example, Mother Theresa was a saint, but she was not a sex symbol. While she was inwardly beautiful but not externally pretty, externally pretty people can be inwardly hideous, and that’s just as confusing.

So if you can’t judge a book by its cover, why not disregard covers entirely? Why not just marry a saint with a catcher’s mitt for a face? In fact, why not distill all essences?: reject fermented beer, the other brown drank, and shoot a thimble of Everclear.

I say swaddle that kahntekst — context for the aphonetic. To me, the act of swaddling often seems irrational. Why should I shower, shave and put on pants if I’m not going to leave the apartment today? Full disclosure: I usually don’t do those things on days when I have nowhere to go and, for an unemployed college graduate, there are a lot of those days. But when I do prepare for the day, I’m reminded that looking presentable is a big confidence boost, even if my idea of presentable is a pimp coat and gym shorts.

But even if I pair a poncho with jeans, I have ‘made special’ my physical person. ‘Making’ anything ‘special’ is silly to me. What would be wrong with everyone agreeing to wear jumpsuits from now on, besides scaring the elderly into thinking they’ve time-traveled to the 1950s’ version of the future? Our clothes don’t determine our character.

They don’t, but there is value in even everyday beauty, and not just in fashion. Setting the dinner table can be an exercise in stagecraft, and even jumping up from the couch to cheer the T/thunder can be a dance. Object placement and basic movement needn’t be means only; they can be little works of art, manifesting a careful imagination.

“So… I should spend my days obsessing over how to open a door perfectly?” Well no, but when you go to open a door why not aim to do it well? This thought of swaddling contexts, really cherishing even simple things, is not some push to launder all toil into perfection. It’s an encouragement that even if you spend your days lounging around your apartment with a Golden Doodle, you can discover, create and do beautiful things.

So, in that spirit, here’s something beautiful I found on Wikipedia a few weeks ago. Even though it's a Mercator projection, it's a joy to look at.