Today is Towel Day

In tribute to the great Douglas Adams.
And while we’re at it:

“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”
“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”
“I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”
“I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”
Ford shrugged again.
“Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them,” he said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”
“But that’s terrible,” said Arthur.
“Listen, bud,” said Ford, “if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say ‘That’s terrible’ I wouldn’t be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.”

No specific gin or lizard endorsement.



I know everybody’s heard of Robespierre, but this guy Saint-Just was also fascinating:

When the Revolution began in 1789, Saint-Just was considered by many to be too young, and he was unsuccessful in his early attempts to get involved. In 1790 he took the Civic Oath and so entered the Revolution through the Jacobin party. The next year he wrote Esprit de la Revolution et de la Constitution de France which was a great success. Finally, in 1792, he became a deputy to the Convention. He was now able to make his speeches in Paris, and he quickly made a name for himself as he called for the death of the king. On July 10, 1793 he became one of nine members of the Committee of Public Safety and, along with Robespierre, very influential in the Reign of Terror. He was elected president of the Convention for the month of Ventôse. During this time he called for the arrest of Danton and Camille Desmoulins (a supporter of Danton). They were soon executed.Robespierre was now opposed by many, but Saint-Just stood by his friend and attempted to speak on his behalf. “I defend the man in question because his conduct has appeared to me to be irreproachable, and I would accuse him if he committed a crime. Great God! What kind of leniency is this that plots the ruin of innocent men?” he said in his last speech. Because of this action, Louis was arrested along with Robespierre, Philippe Le Bas, Couthon and Robespierre’s brother Augustin. On July 27, 1794, Saint-Just was sent to the guillotine with Robespierre and died for his Republic. The “Angel of Death” was only 26.

Maserati commercials during the Super Bowl? Clueless barking at a Moonless Tuesday.

Then What?

So, I guess it’s pretty sure bet that we will run out of petroleum before we fatally poison the planet, at least by burning oil for energy. In other words, the planet would be much worse off if there was an unlimited supply. Hence will the Earth save itself by running out of easily accessible fossil fuel deposits.Peak oil hysterics aside, you can tell this is true by how oil companies were reacting to war planning in 2002, verified by a recent document dump:

The British daily, The Independent, has been given 1,000 documents detailing talks between the British government and oil companies such as BP and Shell in fall of 2002 about their share in Iraqi petroleum. The memoranda were gained through Freedom of Information requests over five years by the activist Greg Muttitt, who has a book forthcoming. The documents flatly contradict denials 1) by Shell that its representatives met with the Blair government on Iraq at that time; 2) by BP that it had “no strategic interest” in Iraqi petroleum, and 3) by Tony Blair himself that it was a “conspiracy theory” that he was interested in Iraq’s petroleum as a motive for war.

In every decade since the 1950s, fewer and fewer big new petroleum fields have been discovered. Companies such as BP and Exxon-Mobil are desperate for new fields to exploit and fearful for the future if global oil production has peaked or is about to do so. Iran and Iraq hold most of the likely big reserves of unexploited oil known or suspected to exist in relatively easy-to-get-at regions.

That, plus ads for the Nissan Leaf and it all adds up to a bit too much protesting while the companies maneuver behind the scenes, as much as there remain scenes and any ability or desire to orchestrate behind them.

BUT, even with all of this and the planet saving us and it from ourselves, it still does nothing to change the fundamental predicament: How to get around? This has to be plugged into where and how we live, even outside of the resource scarcity environment we have entered. Indeed it is the namesake and patron of said environment, and these would tend to be only signifiers of a, if not the, greater issue.

If this is optimism…

Giving Bad Names A Bad Name

The collection of misogynist, disjointed and just plain lame Super Bowl commercials on display last night were the saddest collection probably since… oh, I don’t know – last year’s edition. It’s like everything else that has gone meta in gorging on its own hype – SB commercials once stood out for audacity and creativity because they were so expensive and had so many eyeballs. Now the ads [seemingly] enjoy iconic status merely by being SB commercials – and hence can be as lame and offensive as any others.

But the steaming pile de la pile, especially around these parts, had to be this “green” one:

Who are these green police? And why buy the audi diesel if eco stormtroopers don’t exist? This was going to convince someone to buy the car or change bulbs or not use plastic or whatever?

Or have we entered the age of reverse advertising? If so, that’s my excuse for the coke trailer above.

New Model Year

Any time there’s an opportunity to link to Auto Racing Daily, count me in. What will follow the slow disappearance of ubiquitous automobile advertising? Will the gaps in between reality shows become one long infomercial for phony peer journal-reviewed pharmaceutical remedies? It likely won’t go away altogether but, as the ever-glamorous exposition of the car-tastic life sunsets, might we be able to better imagine alternate routes, closer destinations, farther ambitions?

Wherever will we get our catchiest catch phrases? Will JC Mellencamp have to go back to… whatever it is he does? What about all that patriotism we attached to buying cars? Can we love our country and not buy as many cars as often?

Wait a minute… why are we always making such a big show of how much we love our country, anyway? Unless it’s the World Cup or the Olympics, isn’t that something you would do and show quietly, as a reflection of one’s reverence for the nobility of our fore bearers and the land they founded stole, got somehow gained dominion over? And wouldn’t tying our patriotism to car buying only become operative when (like sometime in the next month) the government owns more than half of GM?

You see how needlessly complicated this can get.