Your Moment of Existential Horror

Skeleton Mirror is emo, reflects  only darkness

Skeleton Mirror is emo, reflects only darkness

I have no idea why we’re on this big Video Kick lately, particularly as we’re working on a computer that refuses to update Flash to something dating to this century, but we are. One is using the Royal We, of course. One wouldn’t mind using the Royal Wee on Prince Hot Ginge, whose birthday it is, should one ever get a chance with that nasty ginger, but it appears unlikely, as he does not travel in our elevated social circles. But I digress.

One digresses.

Here is one video that will simply creep you right the fuck out. It’s 1962 footage of the late Kenneth Stevens, Clarence J. LeBel Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, saying words. Saying words while being X-rayed. I’m not sure what possible super-powers one might receive from a session like this; perhaps alliteration? the ability to extemporize in rhyming couplets (rap)? But certainly the ability to live on as a creepy YouTube video. His official obit from MIT is interesting.

Stevens is best known for his “quantal theory of speech,” which explored why — despite the apparent diversity of sounds across different languages — human speech actually exploits only a small fraction of the sounds that the vocal tract can produce.

In 1952, while Stevens was completing his doctorate, the MIT linguist Morris Halle, together with colleagues Gunnar Fant and Roman Jakobson, proposed that all human speech sounds could be described as combinations of 20-odd “distinctive features,” such as the placement of the tip of the tongue, the shape of the tongue, whether the glottis (voice box) was opened or closed, the shape of the lips, and so on.

Stevens, who collaborated closely with all three men, observed that these distinctive features seemed to describe configurations of the vocal tract’s “articulators” — such as the tongue, glottis and lips — in which small deviations had little effect on the sounds produced. This is by no means true of all configurations: In most cases, small deviations would actually yield large sonic differences. But, Stevens argued, language users would naturally converge on the more stable configurations, which would lead to greater consistency in sound production.

Quantal theory was not, however, just a theory of speech production; it was also a theory of speech recognition. If humans had a limited repertory of sounds that they could produce reliably, then the auditory system may very well have evolved to key in on them. Stevens spent much of his career indefatigably investigating the implications of quantal theory, both experimentally and through mathematical modeling, frequently in collaboration with Halle and, later, with Samuel Jay Keyser, another MIT linguist.

In the pursuit of knowledge in this rarefied field, he produced and starred in the following creepy-ass video, asking that musical question, “Why did Ken set the soggy net on top of his deck?”

Transcript, courtesy of YouTube robots, who are comically inaccurate:

0:03 the fifth

0:05 protect

0:06 repair

0:08 rip-off

0:09 the top

0:10 ka

0:11the death

0:13 going there

0:14 beset

0:15 is there

0:17 asar [that can’t be right!]

0:25 hock

0:26 that t

0:28 tier

0:29 attack

0:30 that uh…

0:31 the two

0:33 protector

0:34 the talks

0:36 tech

0:37 repair

0:39 hindi

0:40 he interrupts

0:41 the

0:42 he are

0:44 the are

0:47 why didn’t care will set the starting next week on top of his deck

0:52 i have put blood on her to clean your shoes

You WHAT???

George Carlin on OccupyWallStreet

George Carlin on Politicians. Reminds me of the joke Second cousins twice removed, once forcibly

George Carlin on Politicians. Reminds me of the joke Second cousins twice removed, once forcibly

For those of you who are aural learners rather than visual, here it is in video:

And for those of you who are more cerebral and/or don’t have your glasses with you right now, here is the transcript:

There’s a reason education SUCKS, and it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the REAL owners, now. The REAL owners, the BIG WEALTHY business interests that control things and make all the important decisions — forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. YOU DON’T. You have no choice. You have OWNERS. They OWN YOU. They own EVERYTHING. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations; they’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State houses, the City Halls; they’ve got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the news and information you get to hear. They gotcha by the BALLS. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying — lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want — they want MORE for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They DON’T want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that, that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting FUCKED by system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin’ years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want OBEDIENT WORKERS. OBEDIENT WORKERS. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passably accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now they’re comin’ for your SOCIAL SECURITY MONEY. They want your fuckin’ retirement money. They want it BACK. So they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it ALL from you sooner or later — ‘cuz they OWN this fuckin’ place. It’s a big CLUB. And YOU AIN’T IN IT. You and I are NOT IN the big club. By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long, beating you over the in their media telling you what to believe — what to think — and what to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-workin people — white collar, blue collar — doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-workin people CONTINUE — these are people of modest means — continue to elect these RICH COCKSUCKERS who don’t GIVE a fuck about them. They don’t give a fuck about you, they don’t GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOU. T HEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU — AT ALL. AT ALL. AT ALL. You know? And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care … that’s what the owners count on, the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes every day. Because the owners of this country know the truth — it’s called the American Dream … ‘cuz you have to be asleep to believe it.”
George Carlin’s Final Words To The World…

George Carlin on “The American Dream”. The greatest 3 minutes of his career, and the final 3 minutes of his career. The PTB are aggressively trying to keep this video off YouTube and Google, so I thought I’d upload it so it can’t get deleted as easily. Everyone needs to watch this! “It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.

Any questions?

Cthulhu wants you to stay in school

Sense and Sensibility and SeaMonsters and Regency Period Tentacle Porn

And just why does Cthulhu want you to stay in school? So you can read awesome books like Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Promotional book video below (yes, books come with videos nowadays, I guess so they can still appeal to the illiterates out there who can’t watch tv without moving their lips):

To say I was skeptical of the merits of this tome would be to understate the case to a positively perjorrific extent, and when I picked it up at the bookstore what actually ended up selling it wasn’t the book; it wasn’t even the premise, although with me anything with tentacles is a pretty safe bet.

It was the po-faced study questions in the back. I wish I had it handy, so I could type out the best bits, but here’s my absolute favorite:

10. Is Monsieur Pierre a symbol for something? Name three other well-known works of Western literature that feature orangutan valets. Are those characters also slain by pirates?

I always HATE the part in the comedy of manners when the ourangutan valet is slain by pirates. I mean, you know it’s coming, right? But what can you do about it, right? Nothing; amirite?

He also wants you to stay in school so that once it’s finished (oh, doesn’t everyone have a book they’re working on, destined to be put aside and picked up as the eons pass and never, ever finished?) you can read His autobiography, as told to Neil Gaiman.

I never knew my parents.

My father was consumed by my mother as soon as he had fertilized her and she, in her turn, was eaten by myself at my birth. That is my first memory, as it happens. Squirming my way out of my mother, the gamy taste of her still in my tentacles.

Don’t look so shocked, Whateley. I find you humans just as revolting.

Which reminds me, did they remember to feed the shoggoth? I thought I heard it gibbering.

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Promises, Promises

Yep, that’s the way this scam works.

Every downturn in the economy causes several things. Maybe even more than several. But the one that annoys me because it shows that not even people who are paid to write and get printed on actual physical paper have anything even approaching an institutional or professional memory:

The fact that every frakking newspaper on the planet comes out with the same faux-callow retread: OMG, Post-Secondary Schools Are Like Totally Ripping Off the Unemployed.


Of course.

It’s what they’re for.

Far too many of them anyway, and if you doubt that, you can take a quick browse through Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream.

Which doesn’t make my decision to apply to grad school any smarter or dumber than before, for lo, I am a terrible snob, and I wouldn’t go to some podunk Potemkin College. There are only three schools in the world who seem to be offering the opportunity I’m looking for: one in the UK whose name I can’t remember, Stanford, and Simon Fraser University, which happens to have the new school of Communication, Arts and Technology just about a ten minute walk from my apartment.

And of these, SFU is the greatest, because it’s the most wide-open, the most affordable, and smack-dab in the middle of a community to which I am connected up the proverbial wazoo. I’m not connected to them literally up the wazoo because I don’t like them that way, okay? Okay.

I’ve been told that Stanford has a program for deserving people from out of the country with whom they want to work, and I’d like to think I’m one of those people, they just don’t know it yet. And the UK would be nice, and I’m pretty sure I could use BoJo’s webguru as a reference, and I can easily get an EU passport, what with having been born in France and so on. And god knows, I haven’t got enough paperwork in my life, so here goes a round of rooting through online prospecticusses and presumably interviewing, because when you’re the scholarship applicant, they’re not gonna take a shot in the dark: they want to look in your actual eyes and see if the retinas match with anyone on the Ten Most Wanted list.

Especially if you’ve indicated a preference for distance learning, a desire to collect professors’ home addresses, and you’ve listed a cabin in Montana as your address.

As if that weren’t enough, I’ve also taken on a major role with the Social Media Club of Vancouver, and I’m applying for more paid blogging gigs, as well as upping my post frequency on True/Slant.

Which is basically all my posts tagged WorkLife Balance are ALSO tagged Speculative Comedic Fiction.

Next up, figuring out how to apprentice myself to this guy. I spent a significant part of last year trying to convince local hotels this would be a good idea in advance of the Olympics, to no avail. Obviously, the man has mad hotel-persuasion skillz.

Promises: hmmm, isn’t that the name of a rehab center?

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CSI Shebeen Club: Monday, March 15th

Cross-posted from The Shebeen Club to get some more bangs for my bucks. To get the most bangs for your bucks, you should buy me drinks on a day I’ve just broken up with someone.

But there…I’ve said too much.

Vancouver Police Museum morgue by John Biehler

Interested in writing crime fiction or mystery novels but feeling unprepared for conveying the fine details of investigation and forensics? Join Chris Mathieson, Executive Director of the Vancouver Police Museum, as he introduces you to policing and the forensic sciences. Bring your questions, and he’ll do his best to answer them.

The Vancouver Police Museum is an independent non-profit organization and registered charity dedicated to telling the history of lawlessness and law enforcement in Vancouver. It also happens to be housed in Vancouver’s former city morgue and Analyst’s lab. In addition to its many popular programs for children, it also offers adult oriented tours on the history of vice crime (Sins of the City) and has recently announced a workshop series called “Forensics for Adults” that explores topics such as forensic pathology, blood spatter and ballistics.

About our presenter: In addition to being Executive Director of the Police Museum, Chris has also been a blacksmith, a philosopher, a university mascot and a neuroscientist. Mind you, he claims not to be as interesting as that sounds.

Chris Mathieson of the Vancouver Police Museum

The Dirty Deets:

7pm-9pm Monday, March 15th, that’s this coming Monday

The Shebeen, Behind the Irish Heather at 212 Carrall Street in Gastown

$20 buys you dinner and one drink, preregistration is not required but please do bring cash. We have the back corner of the Shebeen reserved for us.

See you then! Surgical masks and latex gloves optional.

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