jimagain

Rants & ramblings of the disaffected

Archive for the tag “evolution”

Why The Dinosaurs Really Became Extinct

There are a lot of theories about how dinosaurs became extinct. Since no one really knows what happened, you can pick your favorite one. If you’re a scientist and you don’t know, you can guess as long as you call it a theory.  This does not work in third grade math because I’ve already tried to make up my own theories. Apparently our teacher is not a scientist because she’s not buying any of my theories in math.

So what happened? Asteroids, say some! Others blame changes in the climate or a lack of food. Some say that evolution just deleted them and started all over with small mammals. Whether it took place in one cataclysmic destruction or due to small changes over a long period of time by less dramatic events, one fact is without dispute. They’re gone!

It’s not ‘scientific’ to blame ‘asteroids’ for their demise because I don’t think that video games had been invented back then. And have you ever noticed their scrawny little arms? They couldn’t have operated the game controllers, anyway!

I think that they became extinct because their names were too complicated. Think about it! We know they had extremely small brains despite their huge size. Some of them even had brains as small as a grapefruit. Now, can you imagine it? Two big dinosaurs are munching down on a clump of ferns when one is about to step into a tar pit. Before the other can even pronounce his name, it’s too late. If they had smaller names it would have made all the difference. “Hey, Earl”, say one, “don’t step in those tar pits!” “Whew! Close call there. Thanks Bob.”

See how that worked?

Because dinosaurs are now extinct, every thing we know about them are from books written by people who have never seen one. The problem with that is obvious to me; if dinosaurs couldn’t read, how would they know they’re supposed to be extinct? Since they don’t really know what happened to the dinosaurs so we have to call them experts!

There are something’s that you can’t learn from books. For example, all the books tell us that they had small brains but none of them tell us why. So I’ve got a few ideas of my own. Who knows, some day I may even write my own book?

So why were dinosaurs so dumb? It’s really very simple. I think it’s because they could never pass third grade at dinosaur school. And probably because they had a third grade teacher like mine, Mrs. Bloat. She is tough and old, too. If anyone could have known the dinosaurs firsthand, it would have been Mrs. Bloat. Now I like to learn but at school we don’t learn anything important like dinosaurs. It’s all boring stuff like history, mathematics, and science. None of that is anything practical that we could actually use in life.

My theory is that all the dinosaurs tried to learn about fractions and ancient civilizations in places with funny names like Mesopotamia, but with their grapefruit-sized brains, they all failed to pass. When their moms found out, they soon became extinct. “Another ‘F’ on your report card,” she would have cried, “You’re grounded. Go to your room for a million years!”

Let’s face it, school was a bad idea for dinosaurs. For one thing, all the desks and chairs were just too small. And if the tyrannosaurus sat too close to the stegosaurus, all they did was fight. Beside, their forearms were just too small. They were always late because they couldn’t tie their shoes or carry their books to school. Imagine them trying to hold a pencil to write with or to raise their hand to ask a question, like, “May I be excused to go to the restroom?” One hundred and fifty millions years is a long time for even a dinosaur to ‘hold it’.

Make sure that you read my book about dinosaurs when it comes out, That is, if I can pass Mrs. Bloat’s third grade class. If I don’t, I too may become extinct.

And now you know why the dinosaurs became extinct, which makes perfect sense to me. Mrs. Bloat gave me an ‘F’ on my book report.. She must not be a scientist.

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Good Night, Bob!

So much for normal…

Another night at the office working late. Twilight is falling, the sun is tottering on the horizon as if it were precariously perched on the brink of nothingness. Azure beams of sunlight stab between the blinds before surreptitiously fading into oblivion ten minutes later. I’m alone. As usual. The other career underachievers that share my office have long given up the appearance of effort, retiring for the day. It should come as no surprise as most my co-workers have opted to abandon productivity for a ride on the corporate welfare bandwagon all the way into retirement.

For them, work has become a vestigial appendage cast aside on the trek of corporate evolution.

Alan is always the first out the door and the last in. Counting down the minutes at the office from the moment he pulled out of his driveway this morning; his entire day was spent terrrorizing productive employees with random acts of unsolicited socialization. His arsenal includes personal matters, mundane questions, or any other pursuits of a trivial distraction not related to work that he can pursue; buzzing from cubicle to cubicle pollinating every conversation with his well-honed repertoire of irrelevant pander.

‘Eeyore’ has left as well; that’s what I call him. Don is the office gloom-monger-er. Parked beneath a perpetual black cloud, he patiently waits for something to go wrong. From there he typically launches into an extended tirade against technology before digressing into what’s wrong with society and politics and the rest of the world in general.

Two hours earlier you would have heard a spontaneous outburst erupt across the office, a shrill, high-pitched laugh that could only be described as a cackle. That would be the receptionist flirting with the deliveryman. This time next week, he will have been discarded as emotional flotsam for the next available fling. Not that we keep count but we’re already on no. 37 this season. Refer to the chart behind the door in the break area, the one with the stake through the heart.

Last to go was, Cynthia. I’m not sure I can explain how a ninety-eight pound female in heels can make such a clatter? Coming down the hall, she sounds like a Clydesdale on a cobblestone street; clop, clop, clop. She’s the overpaid Human Resources guru whose job it is to redefine success to an increasingly lower state of expectation thereby boosting morale. She cheerily spouts sporadic bits of pop-psychobabble like a jack-in-the-box wound too tightly and regurgitates them to employees at meetings or splashes them across bulletin boards.

It turns out we’re a random collection of dysfunctional misfits that researchers studying abnormal psychology dream about.

Welcome to my world.

I’m a draftsman pretending to be an engineer and this is our dysfunctional corner of the galaxy. In our cubicle zoo, a dysfunctional Dilbert-esque psychology has long since seized the occupants of this office like a grievous murrain. Ours is a place in the corporate universe occupied by chronic underachievers where now we subsist in an incapacitating state of sub-par mediocrity. Once we had ascended those lofty peaks of corporate success before slowly lapsing into a collective employee stupor that dissolves neurons, leaving us the impaired assortment of office zombies we are today.

Forty minutes earlier, I had looked at my watch. “About that time,” I announced to myself. “Any moment now…” Alan suddenly ducks his head into my partition. “Anything I can do before I leave?” It may as well have been a prerecorded messaged played back. We both know he doesn’t mean it. It’s just his signature exit before he departs the building. I utter some rhetorically random retort involving sheer absurdity just to see if he will respond.

And then its silent.

Back to the present…under the garish glare of a flickering fluorescent light, the office is cast in a surreal ambiance of artificial light.

I digress for a moment to that troublesome light. Earlier this week…I complained we ought to get that thing fixed. “I think the ballast is going out.” “Put in a work order,” they said. The last time maintenance checked it out he said, “can’t find nothing wrong.” I argue there is. He dryly states, “turn in another work order if you want it checked out.” And they will, four to six weeks later. That’s how we play the work order game here; a perpetual version of procedural musical chairs; a cyclic chase-your-tail series of pushing papers from in-basket to out, generating forms and excuses. Solving the problem has no legitimate place in the work order game.

Where were we? Oh, yes. Back to the abandoned office where now I can get some work done.

I sit fuming about that light as I plod on under the luminescent glow of the monitor beneath the flickering light. The light worsens to a phosphorescent stroboscope, an oscillating mental metronome of rapidly flashing light pulses with the intent of brain-washing that lulls me into an unnatural rhythm. Soon I lapse into a lethargic stupor. And I sigh out loud.

And that’s when I hear that familiar sound.

From within the employee break area, I hear the sound of a refrigerator door slowly creak open. The faint glow of dim refrigerator light scintillesces from the darkened room, followed by the sound of a hollow metal door being sucked shut as it closed.

I hear it coming. Like a lumbering run-a-way amoeba, lumping along tediously across the tile floor.

I can only describe the visitor as a gelatinous mass exiting the fridge, an amorphous blob of stray cytoplasm that oozes and wobbles and slides across the room. Toward me. It’s a bit unnerving the first time I admit when I encountered this phenomenon but I’m not fearful of the bizarre occurrence. Running away from a gelatinous blob isn’t a major concern should it suddenly turn malevolent. I have real feet and a musculo-skeletal structure; the blob only has pseudo-pods. The primordial protoplasmic creature lumbering along has no teeth but I suppose if you were to lay motionless long enough, he might eventually be able to engulf you by the process of exocytosis.

“Hello Bob,” I say casually as I continue to work, not bothering to look up.

Maybe I should explain more, in case you’re still freaked out a bit. Bob is a spore spawned from leftovers that have been leftover again in the employee fridge. Lurking in the stale, musty air on the back shelf which he shares with the fuzzy blue macaroni.

I simply call him, Bob. What ‘Bob’ is is a matter of taxonomy; you may prefer to categorize him a mycelium or some mutated form of spontaneous generation, an example of punctuated equilibrium; but I prefer ‘Bob’. I will leave that question up to the zoologists and the philosophers.

Bob slowly, tediously pulls himself up into the chair beside me. And he sighs. “Man. You guys have really got to clean out that fridge. Its getting rank in there, even for me.”

He slurs his words slightly but for an amoebic creature with no larynx, I think he articulates well.

“I told the cleaning lady to take care of it”

Bob has one appendage, a tentacle like protrusion he uses for grasping and occasional gesticulation for emphasis when making a point. “Jim,” he wraps his tentacle over my shoulder, “I think it’s time we got rid of Myrtle.”

Maybe you don’t routinely take advice from gelatinous masses inhabiting your fridge, but Bob’s opinion carries a lot of weight with me.

“It’s not my call, Bob. Somebody else has to make that decision.”

“They should promote me to office manager. I’d fire some people around here if I ever get the position.”

This whole scene isn’t nearly as bizarre as you may think. And Bob is actually a pretty nice guy, once you get to know him, in spite of being a mutated form of leftovers. Must have been those additives; some synthetic chemical reaction or something…or some random case of evolution, spontaneously generated. After all, a refrigerator would make a perfect incubator for evolving life with it’s controlled environment and a plethora of nutrients, and an ample light source to initiate a photosynthetic jump-start of bio-synthetic processes. And despite having jello for brains: No, literally, he has gelatin for brains; for a discarded, mutated leftover, he’s very intelligent.

We have frequent conversations when I work late. Tonight is no exception. We discuss things for the next hour before Bob yawns and announces he’s retiring to the fridge. “I’m starting to thaw out.” And then he adds, “Jim? Go home. You look like crap.”

It’s hard to argue with logic like that. “I rub my eyes and hit the save button before shutting down my laptop. “I think you’re right, Bob. I’m outta’ here.”

“See you later”, he says as he plots a course toward his habitat. “Oh, and leave the TV on, will you. I’m trying to catch up on my current events.”

“You got it, Bob. Good night.”

“Hmmmmmph.” And with that I hear the sound of a hollow metal door being sucked shut as it’s closed.

“Good night, Bob,” I say affectionately.

‘Stoopid’ & Stoopid-er!

How man fell off the evolutionary wagon.

The internet, like my brain, is a vast labyrinth of almost infintessimal series of connections and interconnections, forming circuits traversing and meandering along at a perpetual bifurcating path of diverging transmission trunk lines.

That’s why I can rarely put together enough of the neurons and synapses and dendrites in the right sequence to construct an intelligent thought, let alone a complete sentence, or…gasp…write a coherent paragraph.

Darn that evolution!

That’s the problem when you rely on random chance & chaos to design a brain out of a bunch of unrelated spare biological left-over parts. The brain looks like something purchased on a government contract; or another inferior product being pluggged on one of those interminable infomercials we’re constantly subjected to. Surfing through the channels: looking for good wholesome, uplifting content on TV like gory horror flicks or blood-n-gut action movies; and all you find is infomercials. It’s like running barefoot and blindfolded through a cow pasture; eventually you know you’re going to step in a cow pattie. It isn’t easy to find quality programming with real substance. Take American Idol. No. Literally. Please take it because I can’t stand to watch grown people make complete idiots out of themselves on national TV and being subjected to ridicule. It’s like re-living Junior High all over.

Watching a full episode of modern TV is like hooking a giant cerebreal vaccuum cleaner up to your left ear canal and turning that ‘sucker’ on! It’s worse than having a digital network enema. That’s not a remote control, you’re giving yourself a lobotomy in High Def. The sad part is that it’s all self-inflicted. Why don’t you just give yourself a mental wedgie, or something?!!

We went from occasional episodes of Gilligan’s Island and the Beverly Hillbillies, which you could only catch one night a week on a black and white TV screen the size of a shoe-box; now we got 24 hour cable TV on Flat-screen that could double for the old Drive-thru, minus the chesy little speakers and the 13 teenagers crammed inside the trunk. Is it any wonder why society is in a mess?

The more we watch TV, the ‘stoopid-er’ we get. That’s what happend to the Neanderthals. Evolution was going just fine, man was making great intellectual progress; then TV came along and the whole thing fell apart after that. Next thing you know those Neanderthals were going the wrong direction on the evolutionary interstate.

There’s a lesson here for all you civilized ‘goobers’ reading this, if you get stuck in front of the TV night after night. The same thing will happen to you as the Neanderthals. Before long, they were living in caves, dragging their women behind them by their hair, and staring dumbfounded at simple obects like ‘fire’ and the ‘wheel’. They’re watching the cro-magnons versus the missing links on reality TV episodes, chunking piles of solidified stegasaurus ‘poo’ at each other instead of doing their homework or going to the library. Then they have to resort to grunting and making wild exaggerated gesticulations trying to communicate while they watched the network news outlets.

Is that what you want?

No, you won’t see this episoide on the Discovery Channel.

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