Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tag, I'm it

The latest blog pyramid scheme, uh, six degrees of separation experiment has come my way via my friend Tom. Oh, bugger, no tag-backs! The rules of the game (much more straightforwardly presented at Tom's place):

  1. Don't take yourself too seriously. No, that's not rule one. Rule one is to link to the person who tagged you, which I have now done twice, since any job worth doing is worth screwing up the first time.
  2. Turn the rules into Calvinball, not the nasty kind played by Republicans, rather the kind where you actually post the rules and dare your victims to violate them and incur the secret penalty that changes on your whim.
  3. Pretend that your biography hold some intrinsic interest to someone other than your mom. Mine is in fact less interesting than Tom's (unless I lie) - no hits of ... oxygen at high altitude, but I can nonetheless come up with six random things to write about myself. The challenge will be to stop at six.
  4. Tag six people or blogs or at least Eliza programs that appear to pass the Turing test. I have actually never met any of the poor benighted bloggers I plan to tag, though there's always a chance.
  5. The results of ESP being themselves pretty random, I have to let the person, uh, victim know that he or she has been tagged. I'm going to follow Tom's lead and use both a comment and an email. This is so important to me that I created a seventh email address for myself that does not reveal my secret identity to anyone who lacks the secret decoder ring found in packages of the thankfully defunct breakfast cereal Crispy Critters.
  6. Dance with the girl who brung ya, in this case, let your tagger (well, this is sorta like graffiti) know that you've finally passed that difficult kidney ... meme.
Six themes in my life:
  1. My seventh grade math teacher called me a "compulsive student" on my report card, and I couldn't believe that she would say anything back-handed, so I doubted my vocabulary and had to look it up, thereby proving her right. But look, it's undeniable (yes, and the vanity that goes with it). To my undying shame, I still remember my SAT scores and my PSAT scores from 30+ years ago. The shame makes me recall the events, and that makes them harder to erase. Still, there's no doubt I am open to and thrilled by learning even as it gets harder to plug the dike against the entropic leakage of the sea. Even so, I learned how to swim at age 37, I still think I will eventually learn something, anything about music theory and performance (not yet!), and I believe that I could still learn a foreign language to supplement the three years of high school Spanish that permits me to talk baseball with the custodian. I believe that I can learn anything, even calculus (again) so as not to disappoint Richard Feynman.
  2. I've lost a step (not the first step, though), and my vertical leap is down around two feet now, but my hands are still deft and soft. If something volunteers to dive off a shelf in the fridge, I'll catch it. The dog takes tennis balls out on our night walks, not to timeshare fetch with sniffing the pee-mail but to help me amuse myself. I try to see how far away from a streetlight I can get and still catch a ball flung up toward the Milky Way, its dim crescent an echo of the moon. Other than hiking, all my favorite exercises (not the full category of physical activities!) involve chasing a ball. The reason I still play basketball against my better judgment at the advanced age of 50 is that I love the game, I still dream about the game, and I'm still getting better at the game. Tennis was supposed to wean me off hoops before a catastrophic injury, or so I thought. No dice.
  3. I'm a night owl. There's never been a time I remember that I didn't want to stay up late. Only recently have I begun to regret this fact. Since I can't sleep till noon any more, I'm often sleep-deprived, as I will be when losing a few bucks at poker tonight.
  4. Language is my favorite toy, spoken, written, imagined. It provides me endless joy with its sudden twists, its bizarre, often subversive hidden connections, with its transcendental opportunities for novelty in the familiar. Some of these come out as puns, and few appreciate those - but they laugh before they can help it. Poetry helps us understand the world or at least to go on after someone we love dies. For many, the poetry that consoles is scripture; for me, it is not, and often it is not even poems.
  5. I pass everything through a skeptic's lens of reason, but my daughter knows that I'm an emotional being. Sometimes this reason is a poetry-killer. Sometimes it knows to step out of the way. Sometimes it is the source of poetry. The same goes for emotion.
  6. The most important intellectual watershed in my life was my mother's introduction of me to Charles Darwin when I was eleven. Yeah, weird educated family. Well, the public schools in Tennessee weren't going to do it. From my current perspective, I should have become a biologist instead of a philosophy student turned techie, but my vanity got in the way, and physics, which appealed to my ego as hard, didn't appeal to my deep interest, so I wound up out of the sciences altogether. Unless you count computer science, which I don't.
My blogging ships-passing-in-the-night - drum roll, envelope please - are:
  • Philosoraptor, where I've made myself both a nuisance and a valuable contributor to proprietor and philosophy professor Winston Smith for - it seems like forever - four years at least, maybe five.
  • Newscoma in her new home, where it just jazzes me to have a connection back to the farm country soil of my birth, and a journalist to boot - Someday, I'll buy 'Coma and SQ a beer. Apiece.
  • Main St. USA, where blogger truth writes with single-minded obsession, virtually every day, and always with something piquant to say. She (her sex actually a matter of conjecture based on sports fandom, but I'm a guy, and I share some of it, so go figure) , she plainly has the need to get her thoughts down, and I am so sympathetic to that need I just have to say so.
  • Joy of Sox, where my minor, eentsy, embryonic, pathetic, gave up my share of season tickets Red Sox fandom is put to shame by Redsock, who rivals Ben Wrightman and who has the advantage of being, most likely, a real person and not just an AI program bent on the destruction of the now pitiful Yankees.
  • LeftWingCracker, from the city in which I received my pseudonym like a gift that it took me more than thirty years to appreciate.
  • From the Desk of Z, a new pleasure, of whose proprietor I've just made acquaintance in comments and then using the new Google follow feature.
Now, I'm sure that this blog-posting social hack will bring tons of new and interesting traffic here to lovable liberal, but I have to agree with Tom's observation that a picture of a sexy woman would probably be more successful purely in terms of visits, however disappointedly brief. I even went looking for a Sarah Shahi portrait in an idle moment, and I found some eye-popping art, but nothing on Wikimedia Commons or similarly usable, so I'll have to be satisfied with the cold comfort of a keyword.

Now, only at the end, will you understand the power of the dark side. This meme, of course, is the mark of the beast meme - 6 rules, 6 taggees, 6 biographical blurbs. We're all doomed. But I never wanted to go to a heaven that denies admission to dogs, anyway.

1 comment:

Edmond Zola said...

Thanks for the shout out. Hopefully it will bring a third reader to my blog. I've attempted to continue the game as well. Cheers.