What have I been up to? Well, I was pawing through boxes of old stuff and came across a Mandala from my senior year of high school. Mandala was (and possibly remains) the school’s literary magazine, written and edited by the student body. The contributors were the usual suspects: the future math professor, the future best-selling journalist and author, the future Improbable Research Limerick Laureate, the future friends-I’ve-lost-track-of-but-wish-them-all-well, and somewhat unexpectedly, Scott Horwitz. I mention Scott by name for various reasons, one of which is that I plan to reprint his Mandala submission here on the Fergus Falls Review, and another being that Scott departed the world almost 30 years ago now.
I have come to think that Scott was ahead of his time; he was a performance artist before anyone knew what that was. His many and varied contributions to high school life include inventing and leading the rowing team (which was a parody of real intramural sports,) running for class president (and winning,) emulating selected heroes (Steve Martin was on that list,) and…well, being an extremely interesting, wonderful, yet slightly dangerous person to hang around with. His Mandala entry that I will be shamelessly appropriating strikes me as suitably bizarre and nonsensical, and to me at least, astonishing and brilliant. Feel free to agree or disagree or come up with your own interpretation.
In other news, I just started a new job. I continue to manage educational publishing projects, but for a new company and new clients and new people and….well, a new computer, too. They gave me a very nice, brand-new MacBook Pro. No complaints there.
Another friend from high school posted a snapshot of himself and his wife standing on a beach in northern California, wearing surgical masks. “Toxic firestorm” is the phrase from the photo caption that sticks in my mind. The world around us seems to be assaulting us with more and more insults and travesties—I don’t really want to list them all here—but global climate change was, remains, and promises to continue to be the biggest pile of crud that, one day, may prove unavoidable to pretty much everybody. I read that voters in the Carolinas were actually questioning the denials of their elected political leaders on this issue, and the reason was the strong and unusual hurricane, and its aftermaths, that recently swept across the region. Somehow the evidence didn’t sway enough voters in Tennessee or North Dakota or Texas, but the Enlightenment didn’t happen overnight, either. Of course we need a solution to GCC pretty darned soon, like 20 years ago, but let’s leave that alone for the time being.
On election night, candidate Beto O’Rourke looked over the crowd of 10,000-plus at the local baseball stadium, home of the El Paso Chihuahuas. To this throng of supporters he said, “I f***in’ love you guys.” And the crowd roared.
Another news item from the week was the purchase of the Brady Bunch house by HGTV, the Home and Garden Network. For anyone unaware (and could some reader, somewhere, be unaware, you think?) the Brady Bunch was a situation comedy that ran in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and featured six extraordinarily wholesome children and teenagers, as well as their wholesome parents and Alice the housekeeper, who all lived together in a modern house in a generic and unspecified California suburb, as seen in the location-establishing shots that typically began each episode. Now, the good folks who run HGTV have purchased the real-life house for several million dollars with the goal of….wait for it… that’s right!…spending additional millions to convert the house’s interior to the version seen on television! Which is a daunting and amazing task, because the rooms were constructions on sound stages and lacked modern conveniences like fourth walls and functional plumbing. No matter! We’ve got plenty of money to invest, and money is there to be made. Let’s recreate the Brady Bunch house, whether or not it ever really existed.
Maybe some family whose house burnt down in this week’s fires will move into the rebuilt home, where they’ll star in new episodes of the show. I’m sure with a little effort the producers can find the proper family (three boys, three girls, dippy parents, housekeeper in uniform, a quantum dog that winks in and out of existence.) So long as the producers recast family members as they grow out of the parts or prove unpopular, the show could last indefinitely.
Today’s weather in Massachusetts is cold and rainy, and I only wish those rains would be falling on the forest fires in California, where they are needed. I’ve heard people say “God controls the weather,” which presumably is why we pray for rain, or in some cases, for the rain to go away. However, to be snarky about the concept, I’ve never heard anyone say “God controls gravity,” or “God controls photosynthesis, glycolysis, and the Krebs Cycle,” or “God decides which triangles obey the Pythagorean Theorem, and which do not.” The reason, seemingly, is because God does not retract His original decisions pertaining to freshman-level physics, biology, and mathematics, but Earth science is more fungible.
Then again, who knows? Maybe, along with praying for rain, we should pray for the Pythagorean Theorem to remain functional and intact, meaning that it should continue to describe the side lengths of right triangles but not equilateral or isosceles or scalene triangles. Of course the theorem has been proven, not only by professional mathematicians but in exercises completed by 6th and 7th graders. Still, a proof is only as good as the reality around it. If the PT goes down, I’ll wager we’d really be in trouble. The only people who would benefit would be me and my assorted cohorts, because all of the geometry lessons would need revising.
That’s the post for the day. Stay safe and sane, wherever you are.