Archive for May, 2011

My emotional reaction to the US debt US debt is illustrated by the lists below. Please do not attribute the selfish nature of my lists below to my overall selfishness. I assure you that I am as selfless as an empty flower pot.

(These lists go from least important to most important.)
Things that I want to exceed my imagination:
7. The durability of my car.
6. My sex appeal.
5. My wife’s sex drive.
4. The popularity of my writing projects.
3. The balance of my savings account.
2. My good health.
1. The overall happiness of the entire world.

Things that I don’t want to exceed my imagination:
8. The amount of damage my parrot can do with his beak.
7. My megalomania.
6. My waistline.
5. My wife’s waistline. (She’s probably going to proofread this, wish me luck.)
4. The price of gas.
3. The instability of the economy.
2. My health problems.
1. The debt of the USA.

Jokes aside, the reason the debt of the USA is #1 for things that I don’t want to exceed my imagination is simple. I’m living in the USA. Almost all of the things that keep me happy and allow me to function as a member of modern society depend on the nation I live in.

I become concerned when the government can be compared to the victims of the sub prime mortgage crisis. It just doesn’t have the money to cover its obligations. The thing that makes this crisis all the more confusing is that instead of being in debt to a bank, it’s mostly in debt to its citizens.

Companies could take over the duties of governing and providing services if the nation went under, but history suggests that they do not care for my wellbeing even a fraction as much as the government does.

I don’t believe that corporations are inherently evil. Our current growth-based economy has no incentives built into it that would cause companies to care about my happiness. They do have to worry about whether I’ll buy their products, but that is only if I have a choice in the matter. Without a government to enforce antitrust law, what’s to stop them from taking away my choices? That thought bothers me and that is one of the many reasons why I want the government to survive this crisis. A crisis so big that I can’t even completely fathom it.

The world-record holding Rube Goldberg machine was made by Purdue University this year.

I love Rube Goldberg machines for many different reasons.

1. They are absurd.
2. They reflect the complexity of reality.
3. I see them as a reminder that even the simplest things in life can take a dazzling number of steps.
4. They are a form of moving art.
5. They require devotion from the person who builds them.
6. They require a lot of spatial and mechanical reasoning.
7. They are as unique as the individuals that create them.
8. To me, they are an expression of individualism and the capability of the human mind to play with the physical laws.
9. They are a physical expression of the concept of irony.

One of my favorite things to say when I see or hear of something absurdly complex that lead to a simple result is, “that’s Goldbergian.”

:/megalomania: If I was ever a CEO or an important management type, I would consider building one of these machines to hand out business cards or slide my chair out for me so I could sit down. People might think I was crazy for doing such a thing, but as my ingenuity was recognized by others and I gained influence, I would get the last laugh, the last cup of soup, the last tupperware container containing their ego. They would grovel at my feet as my subordinate comfort Rube Goldberg machine rubbed their back and made soothing gurgling sounds. :/end megalomania:

So, in closing, I like Rube Goldberg machines more than I like ciabatta bread dipped in roasted garlic olive oil, but not as much as I like brown butter sauce.

Temporal Gravestones.  A black and white sketch by John C Ricker.

A black and white sketch by John C Ricker

I created this image using a fine-point felt-tip pen. It took approximately 5-6 hours and is the image on the cover of my short story entitled “Precious Metal.”

This is a good example of my black and white hand drawn art. The errors I make while drawing become new paths and the image grows in complexity the way any organism does. I apply simple rules to the construction of the image and only break the rules when my inspiration demands it.