Order beyond Comprehension

Nothing is more alien to the mind of the military monk than change.

The quote is from J. F. C. Fuller who has the distinction of having more periods in his name than I. Among other things. But a companion to this is: nothing is more irritating to the military mind than a form of order they can neither understand nor control.

This weekend I came across this cartoon: [Link]


and I was immediately precipitated into consideration of my years of dealing with the Yankee army’s policy of “clean desk”. First of all, the name is completely inaccurate. No, not the desk part. We had desks, nice steel ones painted olive drab (O.D.) green, when I first went to work for the YA. Rather, it is the ‘clean’ part that is horribly, in all the depths of that word, inaccurate.

The opposite of clean is dirty and I have seldom had dirt on my desk and when I have it is either immediately removed or kept in a proper storage container. In some, many, instances it was actually soil but that is another distinction only understood by the most sentient of infantrymen. So for a time fraction greater than the floatability of Ivory Soap my dest was not dirty and hence within the modal usage of American English, ‘clean’.

Not so. The proper term for the policy would be messy desk and the nature of messy is almost uniquely military. 

In the same vein, the opposite of messy can be taken to be orderly or ordered. My desk is always highly ordered. But from continual experience I know that that ordering is not always apparent to other people, especially FD SCP. But it is NEVER apparent to the military mind. And therein lies the discontent.

I would be informed that my desk did not meet “clean desk’ policy. I would respond that it was neither dirty nor disordered. The only response would re reiteration. At that point, after a few years of nodding and then ignoring, I found a wonderful way to ‘nuke and pave’ the discussion.

I would ask why the minion of mindless organization was so insecure as to be unable to endure an ordering he (never she) could not comprehend? And the fireworks would begin.

No serving member of the military can admit to insecurity. It is alien to both the culture and the society. I have speculated that this is why disorders such as PTSD and Shell Shock and Funk are so much worse in the military. It is hard enough for nerds to confront insecurity, for military bogs it is, however, almost impossible. 

So they try to divert. Accusations of insubordination or mutiny are not uncommon. But if one stands one’s thesis and persists they will slink away. Until the next time. If one only brings the subject up in this solitary context. Somehow insecurity over the incomprehensible is barely, marginally, acceptable. But must not be spoken of openly. Or, at least, only by nerds who are necessary evils to preclude the destruction of the nation. 

So it’s quite a good cartoon. 

Marriage and Politics

Another morning of lowish temperature. Not as low as yesterday but low enough to provoke a search for heavier gym pants. The pair I had initially substituted for the summer ones were inadequate and being a shivering ORF I opted for more substance in the hope of lower thermal diffusion.

The podcast this morning was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas”, the third in their coverage of a rather strange conference – aren’t they all, it seems? – called Ideacity. The subject of this one was contemporary mating rituals. There were three and they were all varying degrees of Extro which indicates once more how biased society is these days. The first segment was an economics academic prattling on the economics of modern (?) marriage. Sex barter. It reinforced my observational hypothesis that economists and economics are whacked. The tenor was decidedly that women endure sex for the sake of something — anything? – else. 

I subscribe to Wrangham’s cooking model of marriage: men stay around for the cooked food. And sex is mutual beneficial, it provides the women with offspring and the men with gratification. Not only does it make more sense, agree with my observations better, but anthropologists, in my observation, are less whacked than economists. 

The second segment dealt with social media courtship. The proponent was some sort of business analyst who kept prattling about her excellence at maths at what I took to be about the level of high schule algebra. Definitely teleological and not at all scientific. But at least honest trial-and-error correction approach and as close as they came to any aspect of Intro. She also did a better job of exploring the external versus internal dimensions of courtship. 

The last segment was a man who sold himself. On the stock market, not the meat market. The stockholders voted on his courtship. And his wife-to-be bought him. Blatantly Extro. Revoltingly so, in fact. Nauseating. At least to Intros. 

But then I thought about the upcoming election and the politicians courting the electorate. And all three of these folks came off amazingly honest and above board. No blatant lies. Like saving jobs that are going to be eliminated by the economy anyway – and wasting taxpayer funds. And doing things touted as benefiting the voters which actually sicken them and shorten their lives. 

So even the Extro tummy wobbles are better? It seems so. And there is cooked food involved that is edible. Unlike politician fare. 

Another datum indicating I should be happy to be ORF.

Sleep and Such

Once more into the boundary of week out. The outer boundary. And another pseudo-shabbat. So we have to endure all manner of superstition and mysticism on the media but tomorrow will be mundane day and we may resume a modal trajectory. The temperature was not as low as threatened by the weather beavers but whether that was the usual, not-polar-vortex, weather or just being early. Sometimes the temperature continues to fall after Sol becomes visible due to increased wind. 

I did a bit different this week out. Finished a podcast episode of “The Linux Luddites” rather than the usual to provide both variation and incite cogitation. The noise was definitely more amenable. Less self-discussion of the nonsense and stupidity being uttered. But the learning material was quite different.  And the thought processes.

Noted an article [Link] that claims that seniors get adequate sleep but don’t feel it is enough. Hockitus non est! Been that way since I was in my fifties. And haven’t had a dozen good night sleep since heart attack. I am of the opinion it is about brain chemistry although the article says naught along that azimuth. So my discontent is unabated.

I was rather befuddled that the O’Bama would name a justicer as tsar of Ebola. I can see not laying the duty on a medicalist but why not a nicely fascist military guy? The kind who can order firing parties unblinkingly. If history teaches us anything it is that the rule of law functions negatively during epidemics. For the bogs, that means that being strictly legal during epidemics gets more people killed. Of course that may be the administration’s intent. They may think the country needs to lose a sizable fraction. And a lawyer can have all the nice paperwork drawn up to implement martial law and firing parties and all that, all nicely legal. And they can probably find military guys to do the dirty deeds and leave the tsar to bleed?

After all, the black plague was the womb of modern democracy, wasn’t it?

Sturgeon’s Prize?

I ran across this cartoon:

yesterday in an email. My initial thought was that I am not sure I quite agree with the father. My second thought was that the Peace Nobel, while not about nerdery but instead Nobel’s haunted conscience, is still a worthwhile prize. In that it is like the others. It recognizes some accomplishment. Admittedly, the peace Nobel is considerably more subjective in that regard than the nerd prizes. But none of them are any more than recognitions on a subjective level that the recipients have done something. In the case of the nerd prizes there is some substantiation of the accomplishment so only the selection is subjective. But the peace Nobel is completely subjective and that, in a sense, makes it a lesser prize.

Of course, we may argue that the peace Nobel is more important than the nerd Nobels since they only recognizes things or ideas while the peace prize enhances the survival of the species. Arguably.

But then what do any prizes matter? If we agree with them we nod and smile a bit and if we don’t we ask “Why did that ferd get the prize? Must be politics.” The recipient gets a bit of attention but happily can soon escape most of the notoriety as soon as some media facade acts irresponsibly for attention. Modern society is unable to give attention to positive role models

Which brings we back to the cartoon. I suspect I would be more concerned if my child got the peace Nobel than not. Occasionally they give it to someone who has done a great service to the species but usually it is politics or statement or some other manipulation. And that kind of attention is not healthful.

Day of Tempests

A hydrated morning thus far. And the weather beavers foretell great tempests this evening into the morrow. So I have crossed my phalanges that the Arab Electron Uncooperative does not do its usual bug out when foul weather emerges, 

Today is the holyday of Christopher Columbus and the supposed discovery of the Americas. Which seems a bit ridiculous, as well as having the aroma of evil, given, in the first instance the arrival of homo sapiens in the Americas thousands of years prior to Columbus, to say nothing of all the Europeans who got here before him, and in the second do we really want to exalt the nastiness that Columbus was and brought with him? But I am informed that today is now also a holy day of native peoples in the Americas which is also nonsensical since no humans evolved here and calling them native is exaggeration. I much prefer the Canadian ‘First Peoples” since that clearly avoids this bureaucratic septic tank. 

On which azimuth the podcast this morning was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with the myth of Eve (and Adam, but peripherally.) I have to admit to having been bemused, especially with the rather whacked religionist propaganda. It seems rather obvious that Eve is a heroine who saved humans from the trap of Eden – a kennel, at best – and the complacent asentience of Adam. 

That’s after we suspend disbelief on a story that is so full of holes it makes Swiss cheese look solid and adamantine. The tenor is so obviously agrarian that we have to wonder what happened to all the hunter-gatherer precedents? And what cultural or social structure the tale was crafted to combat? 

Enough. Let us leave it that the story is like Star Wars, a fable of good and evil that quite ignores which is which.

Out Takes

No falling. Dihydrogen oxide, that is. Almost pleasant in park. And trying a bit of variation in podcasts. Since it is the back side of week out and I have been receiving rather a bit of cartoons lately it seems meet to dispose of some.

First, this one [Link]

from Magnetic Inductance Flux. This one rather struck me as how almost all humans operate. But the second thing was that all the leading-up bad habits were things that we have “bought” into. They only hurt us if we let them by our bad practices. We don’t have to consume (unhealthy) process foods; we can minimize or negate their intake. But we don’t and thereby we become co-conspirators with the manufacturers and sellers. So the primary difference between these things and the furrin group is that we don’t have to cooperate. So does that justify response? Seems so, at least from Augustine’s point of view. Definitely a just war. 

I was rather taken by this one: [Link]

because its all about life. Life, so far as I can tell, is a chain of glitches. You get over most of them; some modify your existence; and eventually one of them kills you. But several intriguing questions are promised: if glitches are discrete, what are their mechanics?; and do they accumulate to a catastrophe and if so, what is its landscape? These are both maths questions so for those of you who think algebra is something never used after high schule, please calmly shut down your computer and run terrified – shrieking at the top of your lungs – out of your room and into the street where the constabulary can assist you to the nearest fool farm. 

The next: [Link]

struck me with the obvious association of puffed wheat cereal. I recall a period with all manner of commercials about the wheat being shot from guns, which was rather a conceit, which is what Halloween is these days. I have never consumed puffed wheat cereal although I did consume puffed rice cereal as a bairn, especially in the form of cookies formed of a mixture of margarine, marshmallow puff, and the cereal. This was the ’50’s after all when modern was more important than healthy – see the first cartoon – and probably the origin of most of our consumer habits today I have not consumed cereal since adolescence when Lactase ceased to be secreted by my corpus, which makes me the rare non-mutant in Amerikan society.

Lastly, this cartoon: [Link]

which is a classic of a bygone age but still captures the social and physiological reality of television. Selah. One cannot improve on this relative perfection.

Proceed forth to pseudo-shabbat services – or not – as one desires. Or not.