Silly Observations

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I’ve been in the middle of a health episode since just before Labor Day and unfortunately the various treatments I’ve been doing haven’t worked. My lung capacity is still down over 10%. So I’m doing another Solumedrol blast this weekend. Hopefully the second time is the charm. I’m calling King Arthur and his knights back out of the castle for another gallop!

Wide awake and jacked up on steroids at 4am, I may as well riff on religion, right? Some friends and I were talking about religion yesterday and one said all religions are crazy fictions, with Mormonism being among the craziest. Here’s what I think:

1. In just the visible universe, what we can see from Earth, we know there are billions of stars in our own galaxy and billions of galaxies. We estimate the entire universe is at least 250 times bigger than the visible universe, or maybe infinite. We are small. We are ignorant. We barely have a grip on what the universe is all about.

2. Here on Earth, we barely have a grip on how our own brains work.

3. When someone dies, something that was there is no longer there. Call that something the soul, life energy, whatever. Where does that go? Does it go somewhere or does it just dissipate into the ether? Nobody knows.

4. In short, we know next to nothing. If you have a religion that helps you deal with these unknowns more power to you. I’m not going to get worked up about your belief system. It would be nice if you didn’t try to ram it down my throat, however, and most people don’t. The ones who do are loud. That’s why fundamentalists and rabid atheists annoy me equally. (Also, I don’t like many of the political stances taken by religious organizations, but I’m not getting into that here.)

5. People are going to find their own belief systems. This cannot be stopped. So why stress over what people believe? (As long as they don’t harm the rest of us with it.)

6. Even people in organized religions rarely believe every tenet of the religion. If you talk to people about what they actually believe, there are as many belief systems as there are people. I think most Westerners and maybe most non-Westerners too, whether they know it or not, live within an eclectic belief system comprised of many tenets of many religions.

7. When it comes to the Universe, death, God and so forth I suspect we are ALL WRONG. The Truth is unknowable for us at the present time. So how can I hold it against someone for coming up with a fiction that works for them? We all live within our own fictions, religious and non-religious.

8. Don’t bother worrying about what is Truth. Believe what you want to believe.

9. I’m about to epublish a novella called “The Forever Library” in which I talk about what I want to believe about life and death. Stay tuned!

Geez, has it been that long since I’ve posted? I am going to have trouble renewing my blog license.

You know how they always have stories about lost American productivity due to some activity at work? Like, “$300 million in productivity is lost every year in corporate America due to fantasy football.” (Just to make up a figure.) I hate those bullshit statistics. They never seem to take into account that every office has a certain amount of goofing off. And this type of goofing off is acceptable and human. How much productivity is lost every year due to people chatting about American Idol or Lost or 24? Or gossiping about so-and-so in sales? Or daydreaming? (Answer to all these: a lot.) The “lost productivity” statistics seem to assume that if not for activity x, the person would be working. It is more likely that if not for activity x, the person would be engaging in activity y — still not working.

You want to talk about wasted time? I’ll give you an example of wasted time. You know when you watch a DVD and you start it up and the screen that says, “The comments in the commentaries on this DVD are not necessarily the opinion of ACME Entertainment Company.” And then the message is repeated in French. (Stupid French, but that’s another story.) Did someone sue some movie studio based on a comment made in the commentaries? Is that why we are subjected to this? Thanks asshat. Or were these preemptive moves by some studio lawyer? Thanks asshat. More candidates for banishment to the Island of Asshats.

Then there’s also the Interpol warning in English and French about how copying is illegal. I’m sure that has stopped many movie pirates in their tracks! The clincher is that you usually you CANNOT fast forward through all these idiotic warnings.

Let’s say the average person watches 50 movies and TV episodes per year on DVD. (I watch more but let’s go with the average.) Let’s say the warnings in English and French (two each) last ten seconds. So I spend 500 seconds of my life every year watching these warnings. That’s eight minutes. There are about 300 million people in the U.S. and we all watch DVDs, or almost all of us. Let’s say only 200 million people watch at least 50 movies and TV episodes per year on DVD. If my calculations are correct, that means we as a nation spend at least 27 million hours per year watching those warnings.

Forget about lost productivity, how about lost personal time? Think of all we could accomplish with those lost 27 million hours. Ten seconds at a time, we can change the world.

1. Who has the more difficult job, the comedian on the local morning show who has to be “on” at 7am in the morning…or the local morning show host who has to pretend to laugh at the tired comedian’s jokes?

2. What was more impressive, the Broncos’ big Thanksgiving Day win over the New York Giants…or that multi-blue checkered beret that Brian Dawkins was wearing during his post-game interview?

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