I hate unnecessary excitement. Almost all excitement is unnecessary. All of this is because people get excited so rapidly that the currency of excitement is suffering from hyper-inflation. My hatred should be the least of anybody’s concern given that the ones really suffering are those which have good reason to get excited.
As a cultural optimist and believer in progress I need to find a away to reason away the tendency to the increasing levels of unnecessary excitement. This is the way: hyper-inflation of excitement is the balance of cultural growth. Progress is made but in order to continue l’élan vital it can only continue to be made if the progress that was made is canceled out in our perception, leading to excitement inflation.
I hate this reasoning because it connects Bergson, Darwin, Smith, Malthus to the crunching logic of monetary affairs and ‘the markets.’ And if there is one great subject of unnecessary excitement it are the markets. In the late 90’s I thought that the world would take a fundamental turn for the worse if the Dow Jones would pass the 10.000 mark. Now I’m convinced it can only take a fundamental turn for the better if people just stop talking about the Dow Jones as having any a meaning outside of its proper technical field. What I mean is that a turn for the better will only be achieved when people just stop talking at all about the Dow Jones or any of its ilk.
Only when people stop talking, let alone get excited, about this can we shed the third most silly human invention (after nationalist violence and the atomic bomb) which is the area of 3-letter acronyms such as Pay for Performance (bonuses), Key Performance Indicators, Balanced Score Card, Sales Incentive Plan, Manage by Objectives etc. &c &c.
It is concepts like these which I ultimately hate with a vengeance because they personalize something which should be a cherished common project: to try to be better than we were because it is better all around. So: fuck you, Six Sigma; fuck you in your black unlubricated hole, Integrated Quality Management. The knowledge we gain on natural processes is to be gained for 1 reason only: to escape the pernicious effects of unknown, and therefore, unconditioned natural processes.
This was it. No more Hatred.
Bad things come to an end as well. This was a long haul. It certainly had its moments. There was enough raw imagination in it to permit being endlessly diluted to sub-homeopathic doses and still provide just about enough inspiration to an uninspired screenwriter to come up with a TV series which is not entirely Lost as far as entertainment value is concerned.
But all in all it required too much perseverance and provided too little ongoing incentive. That not only might be but most probably was fully intended. Still, the ending definitely pushed it too far. It looked like a first time marathon runner who has overdressed and staggers – dehydrated – to what he takes to be the finish but actually falls a significant ‘somewhat’ short of it.
Absent a clue, I’ll remember Pökler.
Last week, Bob mad reference to the above graphic. I’m in the orange zone. Traditionally, in the summer, we should be in the white or blue zones. Absolutely terrible! I couldn’t imagine living in the brown, pink, “flesh,” or yellow zones. I’d likely kill myself rather than suffer such a near death experience.
Quite unintentionally, we ended up swimming nearly every day this week. It started last Sunday when we were at the cottage. (All the good families of Ontario have cottages–it is proof that you are a member of a good family.) Fortunately, we only live about a half hour from the cottage and we went up there under the theory that because there are more windows at the cottage than at our place and because it is on the water, that it would be possible to have a lower temperature (or, at least, the illusion thereof) at the cottage.
Mica and Gordon had had baths the previous day at a charity dog wash. For whatever reason, Mica’s fur was a bit oily–perhaps because they didn’t get all the shampoo out. So, I hosed her down and then played some fetch in effort to dry her off. The ball fell into the water and she went in after it. I didn’t expect that. She then panicked because she didn’t know how to get out. I pulled her out and she was a bit upset, but from then on, she really enjoyed being in the water. Eventually, Blythe came down to see us and she tried to call Mica over: the most direct route was by water. Mica started on her journey (all of about thirty feet) and then panicked again, so I had to go in and help her out–my first time being full-body wet that was not caused by (1) a bath; (2) a shower; or (3) rain in about about a decade.
That’s me swimming!
So, we went swimming in this fashion on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. (Friday is Falafel Friday and that entails going into the Falafel Hut in the city to pick up ingredients; this meant that we didn’t make it to the cottage.) On Wednesday night, the swim was very short: only about twenty minutes because, honestly, I had never seen so many mosquitos in my life. We were both absolutely covered in them. Literally dozens on us at any given time. It was very unpleasant. On Thursday, everything was going well until about 8:00PM when the horse flies came out. We hadn’t seen horse flies all week long (but many, many mosquitoes and deer flies). The horse flies were easily between the size of hummingbirds and sparrows. I have a bite on my middle toe (left leg) that is as big as the toe it is on.
If it isn’t the environmental consequences of global warming that gets us, it will certainly be the mosquitoes, deer flies, and super gargantuan horse flies.
This morning (and by “morning” I mean “mid-afternoon”), as is my norm once I make it to the computer and look at my email, I like to look at the long-term weather forecast. Taking humidity into account, the predicted daily high (which is always lower than actually recorded, or so my experience tells me) is as follows for the next week: 37, 36, 25, 34, 40, 37 degrees. Americans will have to do their own conversions from metric, but I assure you that it is fucking hot, especially for Eastern Ontario. Wikipedia, in its entry on the geography of Ontario, notes that Eastern Ontario has warm, “sometimes hot,” summers and “long stretches of brutal cold” making it “excellent for winter recreation.”
I would like to challenge both points with anecdotal evidence. First, when I was much younger, summer highs (humidity included) rarely went above 30 degrees; now we get 30+ degree days from mid-April to, often, October. In my view, this disproves the “sometimes hot” claim: Eastern Ontario is now “fucking hot” from spring to fall. And, still speaking of when I was younger, it was frequently the case that there was “snow on the ground” (c.f., “dope on the table”) before Hallowe’en. Indeed, my peers and I routinely did our Hallowe’en rounds with full-on snowsuits under our costumes. Now we routinely do not have “snow on the ground” until January. Second, rather than having in excess of “3m” of snow (again quoting from Wikipedia), we routinely have about 5cm of ice. I’m not a climatologist (or whatever), but three inches of ice and three meters of snow are significantly different. Third, in the spring and summer, I think we are far more likely to get severe storms–ranging from a shitload of rain and hail to straight-up tornados–than the traditional “thunderstorm” and, in the winter, I think we are far more likely get ice storms–ranging from extended periods of freezing rain to falling chunks of ice–than the traditional “snowstorm.” Indeed, I can often go weeks in the winter without having to shovel snow. This has been the general state of things as far as I can tell for about a decade now, with each season setting new records for heat, storms, ice, etc.
I hope none of this is taken for “when I was a kid, we walked eight miles to school, uphill in both directions, and in three feet of snow.”
Feel free to complain about your local weather conditions: no celebration of this god-awful weather is allowed.