Friday, February 27, 2009

Far Away, You Rolling River

I kinda hate seeing our boy getting his hands dirty with the day to day. It's clear he's channeling a pure intelligence. Something we may have never seen or heard before. I'm thinking maybe he should have held out for Spiritual Leader.

He brings to speech-making what Gale Sayers brought to broken-field running. You don't sense the spirit welling up in him, the way you did with King. It comes out of his astonished mouth. Not dark and biblical, like Lincoln, but crisp as an engineer's blueprint.

And then he said, unexpectedly, "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." And that tickled the better angels of our nature.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fred and Henry

Henry Blodget and Fred Hickey were walking down the street one day.

Henry said: I was talking to Macke.

Fred said: Yeah? What'd he say?

Henry: He said the Dow is going to 5000.

Fred: How does he figure that?

Henry: They're gonna put Google in.

Fred: Cheez 'n' Chraackers!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Screen Doors

Today was balmy for a change and now a little rain has come.

I'm thinking about the theory of everything.

A little while ago, I opened the door to the back patio and got a whiff of the breeze. It brought back a very particular feeling about summer nights, long ago, when you could stand in a doorway and feel the wind blowing the rain around.

But it was different back then, because there'd be a screen door between you and the night. The screen door was part of the feeling, somehow.

My house now doesn't have any screen doors. That's because doors today are not meant to be opened. So the feeling I get now is good, but it's different. I'm a little too lazy at the moment to think about just what the difference is.

But I'm thinking that, somehow, the theory of everything is going to have to account for it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beautiful and bright he stood

You don't tug on Superman's cape, and you don't tell Obama what to say.

He's put all the speechwriters out of work. Writes his own stuff. You know he does. If he does have speechwriters, they're all channeling him. He holds them in his thrall.

I could never sit still before, listening to Presidents speak. When Presidents speak, I leave the room. I'm funny that way.

But I do allow myself a peek, now and then, at Obama. He's on all the time! And he's chewing 'em up, out there. He's Muhammad Ali. He's Tiger Woods. He's Sidney Poitier.

Just wait until he gets a real crisis. Then you'll see. He'll be our boy on the burning deck.

But didn't that boy perish?

He was unlucky. Obama, of course, will rewrite the ending.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Carpe Domingo

In my youth, I never considered the religious profession. For one thing, I had no religion. My father was Jewish and my mother was Church of Christ.

I never figured that out. But I went to Hebrew School and got Bar Mitzvah'd, and at the reception an old man of the congregation took me aside and said, "You're a man, now. You can make your own decisions." I took his advice and never went to Shul again.

I liked science. But then I realized that science will only take you so far. That's when I got interested in religion.

I got my religion from Bertrand Russell and Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. And cosmology articles in the Scientific American.

I was into Russell early and Kierkegaard late. And Nietzsche was crazy.

I liked Orson Welles preaching the sermon in the whaler's church of New Bedford. But I wanted Queequeg's faith and understanding.

Finally, I gave up on receiving The Answer. I started concentrating on getting The Question right.

I wouldn't be going into all this if it weren't Sunday.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

In the Year 2039

Interviewer: Mr. Blumen, how does it feel to be so old?

Blumen: I never much thought I could get very old.

Interviewer: I see.

Blumen: You know, I used to work at Google. In the old days.

Interviewer: Your name doesn't appear in any of the official Google annals.

Blumen: Right.

Interviewer: Google disavows any knowledge of you.

Blumen: If I was them, I would too.

Interviewer: What did you do at Google?

Blumen: I was in charge of finding out how much information there was and how much it would cost Google to store it. I had PhD's working for me.

Interviewer: What did you find out?

Blumen: I found out that we could keep up with the input for about 100 years, but after that we would fall behind in future centuries by an exponential amount.

Interviewer: Did Google incorporate that into their famous Algorithm?

Blumen: I dunno. They fired me.

Interviewer: Was that when you turned to blogging full-time?

Blumen: Could be. Who want's to know?

Interviewer: It's well known that you are the world's oldest living blogger.

Blumen: I didn't know that.

Interviewer: It's true.

Blumen: It's a kick in the pants.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Twitter and the Google Man

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, I now have to worry about real-time search, patent pending.

I thought I was up-to-date because I know what David Hume did in 1742. Now I find that I need to know who said what, two seconds ago. Great.

And it's gonna kill the Google Man.

I'm getting a visual. Larry and Sergey, sitting in their empty hot tub, because the Water Department has turned their water off.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Oh, didn't he ramble

It's Saturday night and I have no date. But that's all right - neither does my wife.

It's Saturday night and I have nothing to say. I feel I have a great notion, but I can't think of what it is.

I had too much wine, tonight, with dinner. It's throwing me off my rhythm.

I'm listening to the Jim Cullum band on "Riverwalk Jazz". Somebody's talking about Lester Young, telling about when he got upset while he was performing, he would get a little whisk broom out of his pocket and brush his shoulder off. It was a sign.

I feel that I have been informed.

Which puts me in mind of the story I heard James Dickey tell one time at Emory about the old boy from south Alabama who drove the Governor's car for him. That boy polished that car every day and kept it up real good. But he didn't have one decent suit of clothes for himself. The Governor told him to get some clothes, but he didn't do it. Finally, when his friends started laughing at him, he went downtown to the Men's Store.

The salesman welcomed him in and, quick as a whistle, laid out a fine suit of clothes to try on.

He said, "You could get buried in this."

The boy tried on the coat, but one sleeve came down over his fingers and the other one just barely cleared his elbow.

The salesman said, "Don't worry about that - that's the way they're wearing 'em this year."

And he showed the boy how to stand, bent over just a little with one shoulder held back while the other one advanced, and the sleeves evened up perfectly.

The salesman said, "Hold it right there and I'll help you get into the pants."

But when he got them on, one leg was hiked halfway up to his knee and the other one was covering up his shoe.

The salesman said, "You're not standing right." And he showed him how to stand so both his cuffs lined up within a gnat's bristle.

The salesman said, "Now hold on to that posture. I'll just take forty dollars out of your wallet and you'll be all set."

Later that day, two guys he knew saw him walking down the street.

One of them said, "You see who that is?"

And the other one said, "I sure do, and look how crippled up he is!"

And the other one said, "Yeah, but don't his suit look good!"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What to do if you win the Lottery

Don't tell anybody. Not your wife, not your mama, not your in-laws or the TV Station.

If you do tell somebody, remember you're rich enough to have them killed.

But it's better not to tell anybody.

If it does get around, and there's too many to kill, then get rid of the money as quick as you can.

Give it to Blagojevich.

Then let everybody know that you gave it away. You can keep a few thousand for expense, but you have to tell them that you gave it all away.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Google is a Vacuum Cleaner as big as Wyoming

They got scale. Miles and miles of scale. The triumph of programmers. Did GM ever figure out how to get to everybody who was in a Chevrolet? Not hardly. But Larry and Sergey figured out how to get to everybody with a computer. Er, phone.

Thirty years ago, Bill Gates famously told his programming buddies that they should be paid for their software. Twenty years later, Larry and Sergey said, "Naw, let's just give it all away!"

It's easy to imagine them in their hot tub at night, looking up at the stars and listening to that whooshing sound, coming in from every direction.

Larry says, "I want to be as rich as Bill Gates."

And Sergey says, "Me, too."