Posted by: David | September 24, 2011

Decidedly Ambivalent

My brain has been trying to generate oxymorons lately. Chatting with my buddy on the drive home, he used the word “ambivalent”. The brain seized on this word while he went on talking about whatever. This post’s title was created while my friend prattled on about his problems. I forget what he was talking about, but I tried to write the word down on the back of a gasoline receipt (yes I keep track of my MPG, and yes, they vary) while driving and holding the cell phone. Not smart. I got A M B I written down as the pen started to skip … and gave up. AMBI would be sufficient. No need to wreck my car … All this is probably symptomatic of the dread of the approach of winter. Or maybe diagnostic of a more problematic condition: TDD. Terminal Distractivity Disorder …

almost superlative 

incredible honesty

profound trivia

absolutely arbitrary

Next the brain tries to think of words which defy oxymoronic pairings. There are so many of them. Not that the brain works all that hard on these. I mean how many fool’s errands can I be expected to carry out? Don’t answer that. What is the opposite of doorknob?

vanilla (no, chocolate doesn’t work here)

quality (thank you Mr. Pirsig)



It’s not fatigue per se. Nor is it ennui. Nor anything else in italics. The summer was very busy and the opening of the school year likewise. I have a healthy workweek routine and get a good solid 6-7 hours of sleep most nights. The weekends pass in a flash. One blog friend tried to encourage/chide me. Pip pip she says. Another blog friend pointed me to a new band, Givers, whose first disk, In Light, kept me happily listening for a good solid month despite the way my car’s CD player skips on the bumpy road to and from work. The stack of magazines by the bed grows alarmingly high. Not Hoarders high, but concerning. Which ones have not been read and which should go to recycling?

Autumn 2011 has officially arrived. None of the 26 parts of the falling UAR satellite hit me. With great relief, I read Update #15:

Sat, 24 Sep 2011 07:46:42 GMT

NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty.

Then some guys in Italy say that they exceeded the speed of light with some neutrinos. But only by about 6000 meters per second. So according to Uncle Albert (Einstein) they arrived before they left. We’ll see about that. Discuss among yourselves.


  1. I found that satellite thing disturbing. With all its technology, NASA didn’t know when or where it would land. Now they don’t know where it landed.

    Love the photos. Walk the horses, but zip across (through?) in your car. Did someone stand by those bridges to collect the fines, or what? It’s not like they had traffic cams back then.

    Yeah, a lot of shit NASA does is disturbing. There is a grimy underside to space exploration. But then you have those amazing things like landing on the moon and Apollo 13.

    That’s a great question as to who and how fines were collected in the pre-automobile days. This bridge is Vermont on one side and New Hampshire on the other. It’s the longest ‘two-span’ covered bridge in the world.

  2. Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave… The mind is terrible thing. Keep it in check. Glad to hear you survived the space junk dunk. 😉

    Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter, I’m doing my best dude. Avoiding the satellite was easy. I just stayed away from the South Pacific that night.

  3. Seriously ridiculous. Government assistance. Creme brûlée. No, wait. Not that last one.

    LOL! Maybe you meant creme brutal? It’s a very nasty recipe.

  4. Exceeding the speed of light — I’ve seen it, sort of.

    In transparent media, such as water, the speed of light is less than it is in a vacuum. Highly radioactive materials emit particles as they naturally decay, some of them leaving at faster than the speed of light. The blue glow associated with nuclear reactors is due to the Cherenkov radiation, “electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle (such as an electron) passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium.” (Wikipedia)

    Hi Mike, thanks for coming back and commenting. Right, and then there are those ‘tachyons’ they’ve been yammering about for years. I found an interesting factoid in my brief research of the journalistic Cliff notes on the Italian neutrino experiment. Apparently “Tens of billions of neutrinos pass through your fingertip every second.” This is probably why my hangnail is not healing very quickly.

    • Oh Dog! All I want to do is leave before my poop hits your yard!

      Hi rumpydog and thanks for commenting. I do believe this is the first time I’ve had a canine commenter. Regarding your poop and my yard, I advise you to time your visit so as not to meet up with our Jack Russell Terrorist. He’d have strong opinions on the matter of your deposits. And he’s a very vocal dog.

  5. First, the opposite of doorknob is lock. Then, I’m glad you ducked the space junk. I really thought it would land on my car like limbs always do but I was lucky. Good oddly normal post, Dave.

    I’m not going to argue because when a man is talking in the forest, and there is no woman there to hear him, he is still wrong. When I first read your comment I thought “eewwww limbs land on your car?!” like arms and legs. So how’s that for normal? You meant tree limbs I’m SURE.

    • Gosh I thought the doorknob/lock thing was reasonable. And, why yes I did mean tree limbs. I suppose arms and legs would do less damage to the car but the image is just dreadful– What kind of movies have you been watching anyway?

      It was reasonable I just didn’t like it that much. I guess I don’t buy that a lock can be the opposite of a doorknob since a doorknob can contain a lock or itself be locked. Oxymorons I like need to be more conceptual than object-oriented. I’m full of it tonight. I think I’d better get to bed …

      You know you’re right, I recently watched Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto so I can blame that vision on that movie. Good question. Wretched movie. Unless you like a lot of blood.

  6. I live in a very old house and the antique doorknobs are completely separate from the locks. (And I need to get out more.)

    From the looks of your garden endeavors I’d say you get out plenty. My brain is beginning to see your doorknob versus lock concept, though it still not allowing oxymoronicity. My brain can be a real asshole.

  7. Must know, on the back of what?!?

    There’s that senile distractibility again! Thanks for catching the missing object. It was a gasoline receipt.

    • Good. I was afraid I missed something. After re-reading the sentence half a dozen times, I decided to ask.

      Shouldn’t it be “Walk your horses or pay two dollars.” “FINE!”

      You forgot your question mark? I like your read of the sign. As I think about why they were so concerned about how horses got through the bridge, I imagine that there was more safety consciousness working here than revenue sourcing. A horse being led is much less likely to spook or do some other crazy thing once they enter the oddness of the bridge. But who knows? FINE!

      • Yeah. I don’t get it either.

        It probably was FINE. There were probably just as many scofflaws back then as there are now, the folks speeding down the interstate at 75-80 mph, guzzling fuel and endangering life.

  8. I was so excited about anything being able to travel faster than the speed of light. If only I could learn to do it I might actually get someplace on time for a change.

    Yeah right. You make up for tardiness by making the trip in the first place.

  9. The TDD symptoms mean that you work too much. I saw the map yesterday. In all countries except Spain and France people work more than they can stand. That is absurd. Notice that the last 200 years have brought about an immense increase in productivity. Before, maybe a man could with his work sustain 2 or 3 people or maybe even 4, but now a man can sustain 20 or 30 or maybe 40 with his work + machines.
    So, all people in the West ought to work less, not more. Instead, what is happening?
    That your Geithner and even Obama and that brave Merkel say we should work more.
    Producing what?
    Producing crap that can only be sold with intense advertising.

    So here is the system: work more to produce more to sell more for people to buy more so that they need to work more to make more money to be taxed to finance the arms industry towards controlling the world.

    Now here we would quote the poet about the donkey whose eyes have to be covered up when it works on the treadmill.

    Yes. Absolutely. I’m happy with my routine, and the 40 hours a week that I spend are mostly assisting others with their productivity. In the field of education, I feel much less guilt about the crappiness of the product. Granted there is still much advertising and packaging, but the ostensible goal is worthwhile. I agree that we should work less, and that our work should be more directly connected to our survival rather than connected to all sorts of financial instrumentation. I attribute the TDD to the mighty river of instantaneous media. The resulting e-hypnosis, however, is but another mode of enslavement, keeping us from noticing the filth on the floors of our cages.

  10. I think you ought to try and play some Packman.
    I tried and failed instantly, because I had also again forgotten who swallows who there. But fear not, there is a Youtube video where you can see it being played so that you can just sit back and rest and don’t have to do anything yourself. Now you can’t beat that for entertainment.

    I never cared for this game. Or any other video games for that matter. Although I did play some Mario Bros. on the first Nintendo back in the ’80s. I was in shock most of that decade. Reagan was president.

  11. Now, after long deliberation, I thought that maybe rather than watching packman being played, you could listen to Luegid vo Bärge und Tal played on an instrument that I had never seen before which looks like a flute but is about 6 or 7 feet long.
    The song is very old, the only old Swiss song that I really like.
    It is an evening song, says the sun is setting, the shadows are growing, the little star sits in its place and God will look after the valley.

    (Now I remember the instrument’s name as something like Fujara. The man who plays it says he is from Belgium, but looks more southern. The song is a little too long. However, after every line there should be a moment of silence to allow for the echo to come back, for this is played normally in the Alps. It is by now only folklore, but I did see the real thing once.)

    Now that is really something. Thank you very much! You’re right, it is a bit too long. But rather haunting.

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