Friday, October 28, 2011

Two Sad Women

A nice spring evening. Two sad women joined me at my table in my favorite old greasy spoon cafe. They said they liked the new environmental bumper sticker on my car outside, and I said what a nice surprise to see them. And because they were caring idealists we talked about the sad state of the world, about stuff that could make us quite glum or infuriated if we let it. But the dire state of the planet was not why they were sad.

No, it was just that one friend, especially, was having a blue day. No use pretending otherwise, we agreed. Let's not deny the reality of mood swings or whatever it was that might have unconsciously triggered such a day of shadows. So instead—we laughed. We savored greasy food and sucked old-fashioned milkshakes and we laughed. Blame the laughter on me.

Towards the end of the evening, as we headed out the door, I joked, "Oh my God! Here you are trying to be blue and I've medicated your feelings! Oh, how awful!" As we stood by our cars we agreed it was sure nice to have switched to a cheerful evening. And off I drove.

As I cruised along the river I could have reflected on how my inner nerd had been satisfied by our serious talk of science and the environment, or how my inner child got to show off my travel photographs, or how my grownup self got to have an adult conversation. Instead I thought about humor. Children laugh so easily while we adults are so serious. What gives? We all know how to be heavily burdened, and competitive, and worried about "enough-ness." But humor? We claim to prize it but we sure don't do it much. In fact my default self—let's face it—is to be a serious nerd! (can there ever be a non-serious nerd?)

Or, at least, that used to be my usual self, back in another life. But on this night I was able to help two friends escape from gloom. Isn't that nice? But how?

It helped that my travel pictures allowed me to "pull their legs." First, I showed a set of pics from the "San Juan Islands"...actually from a town a couple hundred miles inland that had been used as a movie set! (for Snow Falling on Cedars) We chatted. Then, back to the photos, I showed the very crowded "beaches of Rio de Janeiro" where crowds increase towards dusk as the heat of the day eases off... actually pics of a day of international fireworks in Vancouver!

So to my "how?" question I find two answers: sudden permission to be silly, and repetition: It would not have been the same to omit the chatting for repetition allows for a rhythm to build...or something like that. Speaking from my nerd side: To merely have a series of jokes, without any chatting, would have been irritating. Say, did you know that songs use repetition? There is something comforting in the moment of returning to a familiar chorus. Like a conversation that turns again to warm safe laughter.

When I spoke of "sudden permission" I might have more accurately said, "Sudden surprise permission"... Surprise is an integral part of humor, and of traveling too, for surprise seems to catapult us into the child world. Indeed,  a common romantic moment is when our sweetheart makes us a surprise meal. Presto!, a "surprise moment" of loosening up for the magical child to be taken care of. In that state, wondrous things can happen.

Humor, I suppose, is a way of taking care of those we care about. For a nerd to learn humor it might be best to start with taking care of people via small talk. The principle is the same, I think: putting the human heart ahead of seriousness. In conclusion, let's take care of each other.

As my new bumper sticker reads: ...We all live downstream.

Sean Crawford

On a nice evening

footnote: one of my favorite comic book collections is Strangers in Paradise. The comic's title comes from the Tony Bennett song that comments that without love we are just- (title)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Citizens, Jobs and the Liberal Arts

I don’t have a Liberal Arts degree myself, but at least I have a degree, a degree in my chosen profession… There is a lot of regret in the phrase “at least.”

Looking across the USA, I wonder if historians will one day refer to these years as The Troubles, this polarized distressful time when civilized discourse has been replaced by personal attacks. Is even academia embedded in The Troubles? I wonder, as across the land I see the respectful search for truth being discarded by those who are full of passionate certainty, devoid of humble spirit, and devoid, as well, of any respect for other searchers.

I have great respect for the Liberal Arts, the arts of perspective and respectful discourse.

I have mentioned Scott Berkun’s essay-blog before. Recently, in the comments to an October 17 2011 blog-post exploring the value of philosophy degrees, I found this one by a guy I will call Joe. The bitterness of Joe’s last line perfectly represents The Troubles.
Peter Drucker indicates management is a Liberal Arts profession. (Others) suggests college is not the place to really learn. I have found as much useful professional information in (some) books as I did in my entire graduate program. Costs less and I don’t have to schedule my life around class times.

Challenge yourself to grow and invest in that growth. Let the folks who really need to waste money do so. Encourage the reductions in grants for college since you are paying for someone else to waste their time.
Such a bitter line. It baffles me that Joe has gone in for extra learning, as in first a post-secondary degree and then a post-graduate degree, and still, somehow, Joe values neither learning nor his fellow students. Did he go through his youthful campus years as a hard atom, bereft of community? Joe reminds me of that fellow in the 19th century comic novel Three Men in a Boat who “never looked at the stars and wept, he knew not why.” My hypothesis? Joe went through his degree years hoping for a job, not an education; he missed out on the stars because he wanted data for his “professional information.” He was, in short, a mercenary.

History note: The Roman legions were volunteers who fought for free, with the army supplying the rations, catapults and so forth. As free men from a poor city they outfought the mercenary (for pay) soldiers of wealthy Carthage… Perhaps it’s a symptom of The Troubles that today’s kids don’t know that in the republic of Rome men fought as citizens, not as conscripts. (Draftees)

In my day campus vandalism, such as writing on toilet stalls, was only by undergraduates. Such vandalism was because some of them, while having gone in with barely above average IQs, felt burdened, felt like conscripts, felt they “hafta be there” in order to “get a good job.” The graduate students lived vandal-free because they had freely volunteered for their extra learning. I wonder, after reading Joe’s comment, if this has changed. I wonder, too, if those who have missed the stars, missed out on the awesome spectacle of humankind’s slow hard climb out of the muck, are the same ones who are part of The Troubles.

History note II: In Drucker’s day there were faculties of economics and sociology, but not of business.  Drucker, to the surprise of academia, insisted on writing educational (not training) works in the field of business. Then Drucker invented “management” as something that could be taught. His first work was The End of Economic Man, where he explained that money isn’t everything.

In replying to Joe’s comment, I referred to Drucker, but I don’t know if Joe “got it.” I wrote that Drucker was expected by his parents to go straight from high school to college. Instead, at the age of 17, an age when a year is forever, Drucker went off to apprentice for one year with a merchant trading company in Hamburg. Surely he did this to learn about the world, not to get a job as a merchant. After his year he went to college and earned a law degree. Again, his purpose was to learn, for he never made the slightest attempt to practice law. To me college is not where “you hafta lose years” out of your life, rather, college is a bittersweet part of your life, valuable for its own sake.

Joe is probably correct in thinking the tricks and techniques and vocabulary of business can be learned outside of school, such as on the job or weekends at the library. This was what people did in my father's day, before Drucker came along. Not so for the liberal arts, not on your own.

For example, successful novelist and college teacher John Gardener wrote that reading Shakespeare on your own was no substitute for being led through the work by a professor. Yes indeed.

A library teaching machine can give the facts, but it is being on campus, having contact with others, that gives you feelings about the facts. There is no substitute for blithely saying something that is commonly believed in your clan, only to see, in response, a look of revulsion on the face of your professor. (I’m remembering a blond South African who said something anti-Negro. By graduation the student had changed) It is from the liberal arts, as the War on Terror rumbles on in the background, that a clan member, and Member of Parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, extracts her concepts, concepts for putting the War into perspective for herself and her constituents. As I documented in an earlier essay, (Backfire, Sept 2010) no terrorist of the “global reach” or “cross-border” jihad sort has a degree in the liberal arts. (In contrast, conventional terrorism, of the within-the-state civil war sort, attracts all types: Philosopher Jean Paul Sartre claimed to have been part of the resistance in Vichy France)

I suppose the ideal, for someone of college (above average) IQ, would be to get a three or four year degree and then get a one or two year “after degree” for job/professional training. (My own campus has added a fourth year to the degree, adding it at the bottom as a "high school make up year," according to the vice president) I know you can do this already for journalism in Ontario, and for social work in Victoria. The latter stipulates, in the university course catalogue, that it has to be a real degree, and not in, say, engineering.

I greatly respect engineers. In the faculty of engineering, of course, the sheer course load means there is a limit as to what non-engineering courses can be taken. Still, the faculty offers an honest university degree: It is not a conservatory of engineering. With a quasi-rounded education the students will think and ask questions. Upon graduation the engineers will be given a plain steel ring to symbolize some needed thinking. By the way, if “nerdy” engineering students are “wild,” it’s not solely from sheer stress. (Accidental pun) After graduation, they will require the strict respectability of a banker or undertaker or married person. It’s no surprise if the student years are something of a stag party.

In contrast, the future builders enrolled at technical school—and let me say that three of my siblings have tech diplomas—are not there to learn the questions but the answers. They work quickly right up until bedtime, deriving the answers to things like fluid flow rates, or interstate highway gradients. Meanwhile, back (time) at university (space) I was supposed to have more free time than they did: My research papers had a far off due date, on purpose, in order to give me the emotional space-and-time to sit under the old apple tree and create new questions and original insights. Apples fall, and maybe… maybe planets orbit not from gravity but from following space-time curvature. (Probably true)

Tech students have a different role than I did: Working on today's answers during every available minute, they are not given time to study history and ask questions. For example: During the post-war years, if they are learning to build the “military and interstate highway system, “the interstate” for short, (Historical Note: “military” is to get around the US constitution forbidding autobahns) then they won’t ask whether neighborhoods should be torn asunder to reduce interstate driving time by almost ten minutes. Nor are techys "trained" to ask, "Why is it always the Black neighborhoods?" Nevertheless, if someone with classes in the liberal arts asks a question, just once in his lifetime, and then helps save an ethnic neighborhood from being blasted into history, then, surely, his college grant has just paid for itself.

It’s tech school that gives you a job, not college. I never hear, as a term of praise, of a “successful plumber.” Because the risk is low, so is the praise. I think university should be for volunteers who accept the risk of not being guaranteed a job, just as Roman citizens, subsidized by the city-state, risked volunteering for the legions. How glorious. I think my siblings, as taxpayers, subsidized me at university, as I in turn have subsidized the upcoming generations, in order for these students in our fine democracy to ask vital questions. Not to mention having "truth, beauty and a life," and being leaders. We all have our parts to play. After high school some will go to tech, others straight to work; some will marry and have children, others will adopt. I’m not too sure about Joe. Like many during The Troubles, he sounds too bitter. Unlike him, I don’t begrudge “college grants” and subsidies. To paraphrase a post-war proverb, “It takes money from all the village to raise a child.”

God save the Queen.

Sean Crawford
Calgary, Alberta
October 2011

Here's a link to a good editorial in the local university student newspaper.

~Peter Drucker is one of an honored handful of Americans who supported Japan in their post-war economic miracle. They didn’t believe him, at first, when he told them how fast they could rebuild. Another such American is Deming. Much of the so-called “Japanese management,” such as in the Michael Keaton movie Gung Ho, is actually Deeming’s invention.

Even before The Troubles, US citizens had a listening problem: In the US auto industry, only the junior leaders, until well after the oil crises, would go to hear Deming, just as how the US army, in contrast to all the Commonwealth countries, sent only junior officers, during the Vietnam years, to the British Jungle Warfare School. In Japan, in stark contrast, the most senior executives would go to hear Deming and Drucker. (For further reading: My essay of June 2011 contrasts the British commitment against jungle communist guerrillas with that of the US army; my essay quoting Vietnam correspondant David Halberstam, of September 2012, shows how Detroit would have faced The Reckoning even if the oil crises had not hurried things along) 

~Speaking of engineers needing a stag party, in Japan secondary school is hard, and later being a “salaryman” is hard, and that probably explains why college is so easy. Like having time for racecars in the manga Oh My Goddess! They deserve that break.

~I have written essays on this site about “anime.” Today there is a popular Japanese animated weekly TV show, based on a best selling novel, Moshidora, known as Management from Drucker (Not sure of the future English title, I don’t think it’s been translated yet) A high school girl has to replace her sick friend as manager for a baseball team. She goes to the bookstore to learn to be a better sports managER and by mistake picks up Drucker’s book on manageMENT. Then she applies the knowledge to the team during the baseball season. Like I said, Drucker is honored in Japan.

~I am teaching another leadership course at work, starting in November. Yes, I will tell them about Drucker!

Monday, October 17, 2011

People, Poppies and Perception Checks

(In Flanders fields, the poppies blow...)
Note to offshore readers: In the British Commonwealth countries it is common for people to wear a red plastic poppy near (Armistice Day) November 11, "Lest we forget" with the proceeds, via the legion, going to the needy veterans. The poem, In Flanders Fields, was written by Canadian Lt-Colonel John McCrae after the death of a young Lieutenant who had been his student in civilian life. McCrae did not survive the war.
(... from failing hands we throw the torch 
Be yours to hold it high
 If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep...) 

"The torch is not a gun: It's peace."
-My grade five teacher, Mr. Thompson, back in the days when our fathers, all veterans, were middle aged schoolteachers, coaches and Scout Masters.

Have you heard? Away out east some old war veterans are dismayed and disturbed. Very little news has reached us back here, but anyway, it seems some folks are proffering their white poppies as a replacement for the traditional red ones—because they profess to see the red ones as making war “romantic.”

Romantic? Really? When my father gave up years of his young life? When my mother’s high school friends, their names now hanging on the old school wall, are forever young? My dad never misses a November 11 service; my mum can never attend because she cries so much. Can anyone gaze at so many rows of silent white crosses amidst the gently blowing red poppies and still say war is romantic?

While I can understand how for very young soldiers a bit of denial is very healthy, I have no doubt that young veterans, and civilians like you and I, and old veterans, are all fully aware of the facts of death. Never mind how Hollywood romanticizes death and war and crime. Hollywood shows many deaths in movies about, say, criminals, and in a TV series about a mafia family. I admit that while I am watching I might pretend that crime families are "romantic," but at the end of the day, in reality, I still wouldn’t want my sister to marry into one—Never!

If you and I know that war is Bad, and poppies are Good, then why don’t those guys back east? In theory, a man—and somehow I imagine a man, not a woman—who cares enough to make white poppies would also care enough to do a perception check. He would easily walk down the street and ask the butcher, baker and hot dog maker, “Do red poppies portray war as romantic?” I know dam well what my parents, along with almost everyone else, would say.

So why don’t the eastern dudes, those modern day “long haired hippies,” bother to ask? I think I found an answer in my favorite 1960’s campus cartoon: Doonesbury. The creator, Gary Trudeau, gave the lead activist the name “Megaphone Mark.” I think Mark’s first name means he has an egotistical vested interest in neither hearing, nor respecting, other views.

It’s such a pity... for your campus years could be a time for broadening your mind by meeting diverse people, just as the "school of life," although with more difficulty, can also be broadening. But not if you start to stay more and more in your comfort zone… until one day you reach a tipping point… and then from that day onwards pick all your friends for being clones of yourself.... and cut off from your  life the non-clones.

For me, as an observer of the human condition, in this, our Romantic Glorious democracy, my choice is clear: For me to seek a narrow life, a false comfort, would be unworthy of me. I love the people too much to cut most of them off.

Sean Crawford,
On the Great Plains,
October 2011
Above I quoted part of the poem, In Flanders Fields. Part of the poem is on the Canadian 10 dollar bill.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Editing and Climategate

By "editing" I don't mean things like that guy at wikipedia barring contributions of global warming skeptics. (See Murphy's link below)

I mean editing my own manuscript.

Note: For a good introduction to the scandal of climategate, for a transcript and vidio, see this link to the CBC's Rex Murphy. The video alone is terrific, but on the CBC National page are just a few links of Murphy's that will get you to things like evil "editing." ( Say, you may recall that in an earlier essay of mine I found a guy doing a 1984 style editing of Michael Crichton on YouTube: the rot is pervasive.)

I thought I would show you a "version 2.5" of my letter that was published in the local newspaper, the Calgary Herald. (I'm copying Paul Graham; he did a an essay called Version 1.0 regarding the purpose of modern essays) I want to encourage people to edit their own stuff. My point in this: Please don't feel your every word and comma is golden. Just let it go: After a flicker of sadness, I didn't mind my piece going to half length.

Context: A couple weeks after climategate broke, when the mainstream media were still not covering the story, a couple guest columnists (not reporters) addressed the issue of AGW: Anthropogenic (man made)  Global Warming. As you would have predicted from my Global Hot Air piece, someone wrote in to angrily to attack them. His letter was headlined Evidence still Valid and it ran, I guess, right up to (if not over) the maximum word count of 250 words. So I wrote one comfortably under that count. It ran a couple days later along with a geologist's letter. The geologist wrote that global warming has happened before, and will again, down the ages, but there is no proof of any link to people.

They gave my letter the headline Heroism

My first draft, 1.0, was over the allowed word count for Herald letters. As Stephen King notes in his book On Writing (recommended by web blog-essayist "Stevey") the formula is [second draft = first draft - 10%] So my shorter version 2.0, shown here, is what I sent in. I call the Herald's version 2.5. I have put the 2.5 parts in red inside my own 2.0 piece; then I've put 2.5 below.

I liked how two informed guest columnists, Mr. Gunter and Professor Cooper, (Nov. 24, Dec. 2) put :"climategate" (the leaked e-mail scandal) in perspective. I disliked how they were attacked by David Reich in his letter (Dec.3) headlined "Evidence Still Valid." Civic conversation, and scientific conversation too, can't happen if people can't be civil. At least Gunter and Cooper are semi-public figures, semi-used to confrontation. Not me. Such attacks are why "man-made climate change" lacks credibility: like the "scientists" exposed in the e-mails, some people want to limit conversation, not increase it. It takes a hero to go against the "consensus of scientists" who believe in attack. For me, Science is NOT consensus; one hero, like Galileo, is all I need. But, like Italians ignoring Galileo, Reid ignored how Gunter's piece, before Gunter even got to the issue of e-mail, had 12 column inches citing evidence from this year, such as Indian scientist's measuring Himalayan glaciers. Reid avoids such science. Reid even avoids common sense when he refers to "groups of climate-change skeptics surreptitiously accepting money from oil companies." My favorite skeptic was a writer too proud and too rich to take any money: the late Michail Crichton. His web site has terrific skeptical writing; he read every word of thick climate reports. While Reid is as bad example, Crichton is my hero.

Well. Looking at the colors, I see my letter was not so much "edited" as "cut for space." I was once asked over the telephone to cut to fit a space, and I e-mailed back a cut version right away. As before, my words were not golden: After a flicker of annoyance, I let them go and moved on.

For me, science is not consensus; one hero, like Galileo, is all I need. But, like Italians ignoring Galileo, David Mayne Reid ignored how Lorne Gunter's piece, before Gunter even got to the issue of e-mail, cited evidence from this year, such as Indian scientists measuring the Himalayan glaciers. Reid avoids common sense when he refers to "groups of climate-change skeptics surreptitiously accepting money from oil companies." My favourite skeptic was a writer too proud and too rich to take any money, the late Michael Crichton. His website has terrific skeptical writing; he read every word of thick climate reports. Crichton is my hero.

What of Al Gore's Oscar winning movie, An Inconvenient Truth?
Since climategate, two members of the academy of motion pictures want to force Gore to give back the Oscar they awarded him, according to the internet.

I see that even while the British prime minister referred to skeptics as being close to flat-earthers, (AP, in the Herald Dec. 6) the British schools, after a court case, are legally required to make nine scientific inaccuracies clear to children when showing it. (Herald, Dec. 18, headlined Why Aren't Al Gore's Pants on Fire?)

Sean Crawford,
a scientist and a gentleman,
Calgary Alberta

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Too Excited for Tech
October 2011

You might think I would get all excited at all this new technology. After all, I’m a science fiction fan, as well as being a thin boned person with an excitable metabolism. So yes, I enjoy accelerating up to the “excitement” gear… but that doesn’t mean I enjoy disengaging the “common sense” gear.

I winced when an overly excited journalist, in my staid solid local newspaper, ignored standard journalistic practice: In an article, he wrote only the word “app.” Come on, app? Do you think my dear old dad would “get it?” For journalists, the standard practice is to write out any abbreviation in full, the first time it is used in an article, even if “everybody knows” what it means, because “there are new babies being born every minute who do not know.” (App means software application)

But some people get too excited. I am old enough to remember when technology was very expensive. Back when French was compulsory for admittance to university, when every second high school student was taking French, in my own high school there was only one French lab, with tapes and headphones, for my whole school. And in my community college, the computer majors had to come in at midnight to get computer time: There was only the one glassed-in computer lab. So today, just as I instinctively turn out the lights when I leave a room, I also instinctively think computers are expensive...

No wonder I am skeptical of the expense when I hear excited parents saying they want computers for every single student in every single classroom. “Computers are the wave of the future!” they say. “We have to start in grade one,” they say… as if our kids will need to put in a lifetime of man-hours on their computers, just as our aristocratic ancestors needed a lifetime on horses in order to show a “good seat.” I say, calm down.

No, I don’t want my nephew to grow up to be laughed at for being less skilled with computers; no, not in the way that less affluent little officer from Corsica was laughed at by the rich aristocrats because he couldn’t ride as well as they could. The poor little guy ended up getting a “Napoleon complex” and attacking Russia.

But what if, when our kids grow up, learning a computer will be as easy as learning a car? Or, if it’s harder than that, what if takes no longer than a year? Let that year be in the final school year. Then if employers and the community and the recent graduates themselves all report back that a year is not enough, start them in the last two years. And then, if needed, the last three. That would be a lot cheaper than a computer on every single desk in every room in the school. (Say, can the kids see their teacher over their monitor?)

Sure, I think it’s practical to have some computers for all the school grades, and, I also think it’s practical to keep from panicking about the future. From what I have seen of human nature, computers in the future will probably turn out to be like public libraries, or ten–speed bicycles: More features and gears than you’ll ever use. (Libraries in this century feature much, much more than just paper books and magazines)

Taking some time to consider human nature is common sense, and using common sense is what keeps me calm and grounded.

I learned skepticism at an early age. I was a boy, drawing rockets, when adults were saying that in the future—a far off future, mind you—people wouldn’t have rotary telephones anymore: Instead they’d have visiphones. You know, with a TV screen. So I drew visiphones, too. Later I would see them on Star Trek, and give them no thought. But as a child I thought: What about privacy? And wouldn’t people prefer to concentrate only on sound? I figured that when I grew up, and had a telephone of my own, I would often talk with my eyes closed. One day, as a teenager, I read the best seller by Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl. Brown said how nice it was for a girl to only attend to sound. And around that time I read an old nonfiction work by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. It turned out you could buy a visiphone today! They were stocked in a warehouse, in—where else?—Southern California. The phones, it turned out, were gathering dust. One might, at the very least, expect a bunch of millionaires to “buy out the store” so they could talk to each other, but no… It seems millionaires like privacy and only attending to sound, too.

I realize, of course, that engineers and computer guys will always enjoy bending over their workbench tinkering with new gadgets and apps, but at the end of the day? They still need to lift up their eyes and reflect on human nature... I’ve written here before about fools who surf all day without ever reflecting.

My guess is that recently an entire software development team at Google got too excited. Harmfully so. The nerds must have said, “Oh boy, here’s another app feature!” They forgot to consider human nature. I will explain.

The Google host for my blog, Blogspot, allows me, for my eyes only, to see a page list of 25 of my essay titles at a time. Of course, this means scrolling down because there’s just no room for 25 blog titles all at once on my screen. At the bottom I can click on “see older titles.” Or, I used to. It has just changed. Now, this “new, improved” Blogspot means I have to scroll all-l-l the way back up again before I can click. It’s an irritation, a needless design error, but I’m merely irritated, not dismayed. It’s not like anyone’s feelings will be hurt. Meanwhile, until recently, I could deliberately click on “statistics.” Then I could see my “top ten posts,” by hit count, for the last “day” or “week” or “month.” It was my choice—but not anymore! Now, for the new exciting blog, always displayed right along with my list of titles, whether I want it or not, is the “cumulative hit count” for all time. Now I’m dismayed.

Going wayyyy back to my first 25 posts I am amused to see a lot of cumulative hit counts of zero. Good thing I didn’t know that at the time, eh? All that work, scrubbing and polishing my pretty little prose… all for nothing. Of course, as an “artist” and “professional” and “middle aged man” maybe I wouldn’t have minded, maybe… I can imagine a young American in Iraq, intent on the war on terror, working hard, striving to inform citizens on the home front, telling her fellow Americans some stories about the Iraqis trying to learn democracy... only to find her successive posts, about something so important to America, getting hits of zero, zero and zero. That would hurt.

Logically, I know, a brand new blog “should” get no hits, but when cold logic smacks up against the number Zero, the collateral damage is to folks of flesh and blood. So, then, why did Google remove any choice for seeing cumulative hits? What were they thinking? I usually think of nerds as being apart from the crowd, but I guess at Google a whole crowd of nerds got excited. I’m reminded of a science fiction fan’s badge from the 1970’s that read “Go Lemmings Go!”

I say, "Let's stay calm." And so I remain skeptical about tech. I am always happy to race along in the excitement gear, but only so long as my car runs on Good Sense tires.

Sean Crawford
Having two space pills for breakfast,
Then holding my cape aside,
To get into my flying car.

in the 21st century,
Calgary, Alberta