Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

It's a beautiful fall day, the day after Thanksgiving as I type this post. It's still not 'overcoat cold,' though it's late November. And some of the stouthearted denizens of the seaside town my wife and I bought a cottage in and then impoverished ourselves renovating have either the temerity or stupidity to walk around in shorts. 

To everything there is a season.
Except football and shortpants.

From about 1,200 AD to 1,850 AD, most of the recorded world endured a period that today we call 'The Little Ice Age.' Temperatures were colder than they were during the peak of Pax Romana (and maybe an underlying cause of Pax Romana.) Food was hard to grow. It was hard to stay alive. And most European forests were cut down for heating, building and shipping. 

It's thought by some (the rare historian who thinks in terms of millennia, not years, decades or even centuries) that the Little Ice Age spurred on the great period (or awful period) of global exploration. Mankind was looking for better places to live. When you're cold and your animals die and your crops won't grow and there's no water to drink, you migrate.

Think Genghis Khan. Or Atilla. Or Columbus.

Who knows what havoc will follow along in the wake of our current climate catastrophe. Such occurrences are impossible to foretell. But you can be sure nothing tomorrow will be like it is today.

Just now, returning from a four-mile seaside walk, the dying sea glimmering with life, my wife and I saw a disgusted neighbor doing what people do outside of the city. They have time in exurbia to do these things. After all, they're freed from fending off rabies-afflicted rodents the size of republicans congressmen and fund-raising congressmen the size of rodents. They rake free from leaves a world that wants to be full of leaves. 

Fallen leaves of our natural deciduous state. So of course we abjure it.

I had a professor in graduate school who asserted with a jocular seriousness that all of Western thought could be summed up by one line from the John Huston movie, "The African Queen," starring Katherine Hepburn (who lived about a mile from where I type this) and Humphrey Bogart. Bogart says to Hepburn, "Oh, Miss, that ain't natural." Hepburn replies, "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we all must rise above."

That's it, I said, when I heard that. My formal education is done. Between knowing that Shakespeare is about order and when kings are killed, chaos occurs, and mans' reputed dominion over the earth, as a scholar, you can bluff your way through anything.

Back to my raking neighbor, I said to him as he stopped to say 'hi,' "I hear next year, the leaves will be RFID-tagged and through the internet of leaves you'll be able to program them to rake themselves."

Like most people in dealing with me, he laughed through his nose while his eyes gave off a look of incomprehension, as in, 'what the fuck are you prattling on about?' Damned if I know would have been my response. But then I got to thinking.

Remember not too long ago how the internet of things was supposed to change everything by connecting 22 billion wireless devices from refrigerators to doorbells to refrigerators to washer-dryers to alarm systems to nose-hair-trimmers and more. This was supposed to give us power, control and convenience the aforementioned Romans could never have dreamed of. 

Vaclav Smil, in his book "How the World Really Works," said "...Within a lifetime of people born just after the Second World War the rate had more than tripled, from about 10 to 34 GJ [gigajoules]/capita between 1950 and 2020. Translating the last rate into more readily imaginable equivalents, it is as if an average Earthling has every year at their personal disposal about 800 kilograms (0.8 tons, or nearly six barrels) of crude oil, or about 1.5 tons of good bituminous coal. And when put in terms of physical labor, it is as if 60 adults would be working non-stop, day and night, for each average person;"

But, I asked myself, what happened to the Internet of Things? Has anything gotten easier? What's better today than it was yesterday? And if it is better--for a time or a moment--does its betterness compensate for the badness you feel when the wireless goes out because the power is out because the monopolies that control what used to be public trusts haven't invested in infrastructure since the first interstates were built. Does convenience 85% of the time make up for complete immobility 15% of the time? 

Who cares? 

Not the trillionaire monopolists, their billionaire board of directors, their multi-millionaire lawyers or their millionaire lobbyists. Or the millionaire politicians they bought at knock down prices.

Just now I saw some FCB-derived stunt on AI-assisted Pitch Decks. Oh, blow it out your Interpublicked-Ass, with your AI-Assistance. It takes you 12 weeks to produce a tweet for a client. AI-assist common sense, first. Then worry about chazarai.

Frankly, I'd rather have George Lois, dead one year, or Bill Bernbach, dead 41 years working on a pitch deck than any choreographed banality of ones and zeroes trying to be creative when they were born without creativity, the bastard, wicked spawn of boredom and impecunious.

There's an A/B test for living. I don't understand why more people don't adopt or even understand it .

Use it as a guide for client presentations, for creative, for copy and yes, when your AI-assisted Pitch Deck withers like donald drump's penis will in when wrapped inside an air-fryer inside a desert inside of hell.

  • What can I do better today than I could yesterday?
  • What can I do today that I couldn't do yesterday?
  • What tastes better today than it did yesterday?
  • What pollutes less today than it did yesterday?
  • What helps more people today than we could yesterday?
  • What delivers more now than it costs?
There's very little progress that I've seen that can close to answering those questions. Maybe we should stop trying to be cool by saying we've jumped on the latest over-inflated banal bandwagon.

And try to have an idea instead.
At the least try to make someone laugh, cry or think.

There are worser ways to end this than e.e.

anyone lived in a pretty how town

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anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

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