New Study: Extinct Animals Were Mostly Bad At Capitalism

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A new government study reveals a correlation between animal species which have gone extinct in the last few centuries, and their lack of participation in the free market system. To put it bluntly, the species which no longer survive were lousy capitalists.

At best some of these breeds had attained a rudimentary comprehension of bartering. But most animals packs or other social orders do usually border on socialism or communism. Even the bees, whose own numbers have recently been on the decline. Despite living in a system of monarchy, essentially a dictatorship, bees have proven to be beneficial to the planet and to mankind. Unfortunately they have been unable to protect their assets, and are known to invest widely and foolishly.

Experts now place some of the blame on the animals themselves, for not adapting and embracing the simplest of financial concepts or even a common currency.

extinctMany say this is one aspect of a larger problem. Wildlife in general is unwilling to adapt to modern ways of life.

Even to this day, most animals refuse to cooperate in any established social norms. Governments around the world have invested money, time, and effort. They have installed ‘Animal Crossing’ signs on roads where automobiles and animals often intersect. To this day though, you would be hard pressed to find any animals actually crossing at the signs. They refuse to use them or indeed obey any traffic regulations. You would think they couldn’t even read them. Everyday, animals still haphazardly cross the busy roads and highways whenever and where ever they please.

The Law of More

The Elimination of Middlemen

The Elimination of Middlemen

Moore’s law, put simply, states that computing power will double every eighteen months. This was predicted back in 1965 at the dawn of modern computing and has so far held true. What used to be a precious and costly commodity is now being produced at an exponentially faster rate. Some find this humorous, in a sardonic way. To others it is overwhelming.

The Commodore 64 when it was introduced boasted sixty-four kilobytes of RAM, all within that ‘little’ box. There is the famous quote from one of the pioneers in the industry where he can’t ever foresee anyone needing more than 64k. Only a decade earlier such an extravagant amount of memory would require an entire building. Nowadays memory is so cheap you can easily afford to store a well-stocked bookstore on the phone in your pocket.

It’s amazing how far we have come. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai it took two tablets to hold ten short paragraphs. Nowadays even the most basic tablet or ereader can store dozens, even hundreds, of books in their entirety.

Horse-Faucet Remains

Horse Faucet RemainsThe sweaty fog of delusion hung over the ancient bones and fossil caves. Six erections and a batch of wristwatch clams stuck sweetly in Horse-faucet’s coat pocket., he stapled the ransom note to his forehead and strode into the bar.

He spoke liquid words that stirred the dust of a dozen sleeping drunkards. Dentist was nowhere to be seen. He was in fact on hiatus, trekking the egg yolks of dilapidated villas and the recycled law enforcement strategies which had battered many a poor man.

The sun fell swiftly like two large omelets skiing naked in a carbonated water bag. Horse-Faucet knew the meaning of the word facilitate, but often confused erotic with exotic. He spent too much time in pet shops and smelled of sleep… bad sleep.

Just as the last train was turning its oars toward the ocean, Horse-Faucet found himself face to freckle with the impeccable shot of Dentist’s long arm. Time stood still, the air was so stiff you could get rug-burn just thinking of pork. Paper-cuts flew left and right, when the steam cleared and frogs settled in for the winter. Dentist lay dampened and Horse-faucet was gone, never to be thought of again.

(recently recovered in an anarcheological dig within my closet, the notebook it was extracted from has been carbonation dated circa 1991)

Bugs

BakerI’ve always hated bugs. I also used to think the words ‘Erotic’ and ‘Exotic’ meant the same thing. Imagine my unimaginable repulsion as I was walking past a pet shop advertising ‘Exotic Fish’.

Try to conjure the look on the store clerks face just before calling the police. Luckily I was abducted by aliens just moments before I would have been dragged from the large aquarium by a dozen frothing cops.

The aliens were very pleasant. They told me they were from a planet where there were no words for ‘erotic’ or ‘exotic’ and they were envious of my ignorance, saying, “You don’t know how good you have it” with that peculiar alien sigh we all love so much.

It’s a shame that we had to annihilate the lot of them, but they were godless heathen barbarians after all.

I returned home to live with my family in their luxurious mobile home– to set the record straight, it was not a mobile home in the sense of a house on wheels designed to rust around the rotting white trash in a trailer park, but rather a number of rooms hung from wires at different lengths, spinning and bobbing over a giant baby crib.

We were soon evicted and bused into a bathroom that was shared by an entire floor in the scummiest motel this side of the river Euphrates, it was the best day of my life.

Besides winning the lottery in thirty three of the continental United States and being inexplicably cured of my spleen cancer, I was also elected to the seat of ‘Token Incurable Maniac Faculty Member’ at Harvard. And, all sixty-seven counts against me in the pending federal subversive aggravated jaywalking case were mysteriously dropped.

I was unfazed by our squalid living conditions. A family of six, all in one room with absolutely no privacy, often being mistaken for a toilet by the stone-blind transient patrons of this motel. We were happy and in love and addicted to fifty-eight different chemicals at last count.

Ah yes, the good old days. I can still hear the early morning screams that seemed to come from nowhere, the indescribable and unidentifiable smell that would fill the air several times a day.

I am better able to describe the whole situation now, when I was interviewed on Letterman I was overdosing on pesto-bismal and could barely contain my composure to answer any of his questions.

DAVE: So, I hear you hate bugs.

Me: Yes… Well, no… What the hell is this some sort of interrogation?

DAVE: Hey! Hey! Settle down there, kid! Hey, don’t touch. Biff! Get
this freak off me!

Me: You pigeon-toed manipulator of human morals! You defiled my cat and destroyed all my household appliances! I am going to slice your body and sell it by the pound to cannibals.

DAVE: We’re going to take a commercial break, and when we come back O.J. Simpsons will be here!

When Letterman’s army took over Europe in 2023 I was, of course, banned form the continent. Spoiling my chance at the gold medal in the liver destruction competition in the next Spring Break Olympics which were held in Marrakesh that year.

I was distraught.

But, I had acquired enough camel cash finally to get a real, live camel.

camel

‘Been to the Desert on a Camel with Dead Batteries’

At least I thought it was real. Not until I was submerged in the nothing depths of the Mojave Desert and the stupid animal just seized up and fell over, did I learn that it ran on eight ‘D’ sized batteries. And no store for a hundred miles at least, in any direction. As they say ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitten.’

Nothing, no water, no life. Just the sand, a plastic battery operated dead camel, and I. Doomed to the greasy baking gristle that would become of my crisping skin, a hell of desert heat. Probably destined to die of heat stroke, again.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Ohio

mg_bombheadinsideYou know what man? Fach Ohio! Eight hours of driving and the campground we’re looking for doesn’t even exist. We’re turned away at every subsequent spot, ‘All full up, try Sea Grove Park.’

Dismally we return to the car, ‘They told us to try you.’

The roads twist and just and disengage, branching out into dark, obscure county roads and Highways named after the Alphabet.

We get the attention of a police car, to ask for assistance and directions. Their pleasantries are a welcome mat of thorns. We tell them we’re looking for somewhere to camp, the cops turn on their flashers and more squad cars pull up behind us and make the display even brighter.

Two officers come to the window with a ‘what the hell are you doing in these parts’ demeanor. One of them rattles off a list of everything they’d like us to produce; Drivers License, Registration, Proof of Insurance, Proof of Purchase, Proof of Citizenship, Social Security Card, Medical and Dental Records, Work History and Tax Records for the past six years, all winning lottery tickets in our possession and any pornography we might have.

We suffered abuse and accusation before they understood that we were trying to ask them for directions. After some deliberation, a silent admittance began to shine through their dogmatic attitude of authority, they were as lost in these backward boonies as we were.

We gave up all hope. The police finally bid us goodnight, and we hopped back onto the turnpike, heading for the nearest rest stop.

Service plaza coffee, parking lot hotel. A hell full of hippies sleeping in and on their cars. Let’s wake these bastards up, the locals anyway, the ones with Ohio plates. Let’s make them party! In honor of their wonderful home state, in honor of a newly wonderful state of mind.

“Come on, ya fachs, get up! It’s four thirty, the sun will be rising soon!”

These roads won’t lead anywhere for us, only back to where we never wanted to be in the first place. So come on, native, lead us to the watering hole or the Booze ‘n Burgers. Take us somewhere we can let the car cool down while we roam along a stream or ascend into the trees.

Been up all night at the rest stop playing pinball, giving up when the machine overwhelmed me with at least a dozen balls for me to juggle at once.

Outside it is tranquil Light is just streaking the Eastern sky, between watermarked clouds with flat, black bottoms. The sun is yet to make it’s initial peek over the horizon, but it seems to be preparing a spectacular entrance for those brave enough to wait it out.

People are sprawled out on picnic tables, asleep, huddled up in large wads of sleeping bags and blankets. Headlights from trucks and cars are view-pointers for the constellations.

Birds in the trees are going crazy. Chattering on and on, moving from branch to branch, tree to tree. An owls god is as good as any, but fall is frighteningly imminent this morning.

They’re all on edge, ready to attack. Don’t shake the tree. We kept them up all night, and they’re trying to figure out what to do now that the cold is coming.

Chirp, chirp. What’re you going to do? I don’t know, what are you going to do? I’m not sure, let’s check with everybody else. Chirp, chirp.

They flutter around in confusion, trying to put it to a vote. Same thing as last year? Chirp, chirp.

South again? Fach south! We go south every year! Is that all you can think of?

The birds chirp wildly, almost in a riotous state, until one steps out and demands attention from the rest. “Well, can any of you think of somewhere else to go this winter? Anyone? Anywhere?”

The tree is silent and still. A slow remorse and resolve falls upon them, the birds all come to agreement on the plan.

“Come on, everyone! We’re heading South, again!” Chirp, chirp, chirp.

The sun makes its first appearance, coming over the Eastern sky. The birds gather in formation and disappear high in the sky. And cars full of hippies, some just waking, some still up from the night, flock together in line on Ohio’s winding turnpike in search of the paradise camping ground.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter (circa 1994)

Crumbwalker

seussBIGSpring came like  a peck at the trees, of all the glue that comes from your knees, and a crop report from driving fleas, into the outer powdered donut for the blow up.

Personification walks in and says she’s never felt quite real.

She can tell the future, but she can’t tell it much. Time won’t listen. Throw grenades at the clowns who chug tequila. Put your mug into his hand so he can really feel you.

Watermelon fruit nuts, I still don’t have to peel you. Comb your spigot and spit it at the ant can’t shine.

Absolution in tin cans, free boarding toxic constants, consultants to your kidneys, living in somebody else now.

Crab fray, a shellfish knockdown at absolutely no cost to you and for no reason whatsoever.

Puzzled, they mixed up your face. Your eyes point out from different angles in your head, making it impossible to discern anything. Bad split screen out of focus 3-D, and you forgot the glasses.

Chinese washtub soundtrack, a fuzzy theater transforms your lungs into someone else’s point of view. Strangulation in the ribcage on the screen. All they could do is watch.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Cop Dog

I’ve had so much coffee I’m at the point where I feel like a complete raving homicidal maniac. I’m glad to have found my peace.

spotteddogFezby is in the corner, arguing with the dog. “See this cigarette? Dog! This proves my evolutionary superiority over you! Got it?”

Of course, the dog isn’t paying him any attention, but staring off into a gray memory of the good old days as a cop dog, sniffing out these ugly humans.

“Not only can we produce fire, we can inhale it!” Fezby takes a long drawn drag from this cigarette, and lets it pour back out over the dog’s head.

Of course, the dog outlives Fezby by several years, and makes a better tennis partner than that old crust could ever be.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Chicago Baseball in October

-or-
Twenty Three Shopping Days Left Until the End of the World
(circa 2004)

yellowbugHave you seen this years new bugs?

There are the new little bee’s that seem to be just absolutely everywhere. There’s the recent upgrade of that beetle that looks like a ladybug, all new features for this season. There was a translucent tiny green spider on my car window this evening.

All the regular old bugs have disappeared by this time of year, even the spiders have given up their battle for my room, regrouping to invade again next spring. But all the new bugs, they stick around a little later into fall…

But my question is, where do they come from? For years and years I was accustomed to the same old bugs every summer; flies, ants, bees, wasps, those rolly-polly things, earwigs, caterpillars, worms, and every couple of years some locust or cicadas.

It was maybe five years ago i first noticed a new bug. I remember it vividly because for a brief moment I thought I was first witness to some previously undiscovered species.

Until some one saw me staring and said, “Oh, that. That’s the new bug…

But now, they are everywhere, and every year seems to bring more. Are they all, like that Asian Beetle that came over to eat all our trees, accidentally shipped over in shoddy fruit boxes?

In my more paranoid moments I believe them to be tiny government robots, but that’s another story for another time…

The game is on again, I have to go. The Cubs are winning, and once again, Sammy is tracing the outline of some ancient seal in the outfield with his feet…

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Sandcastle Implosion

eyeballAnd then there was the one guy who woke up one morning with a terrible earache. He struggled out of bed, unraveling himself from  the blankets.  In the bathroom, he located a q-tip, and probed the inner workings of his ear canal.

The cotton swab squishing in his head made a painful grating sound, like sandpaper grinding directly on his brain.

He pulled out the q-tip and a gold-ball sized portion of his head, skull and gray matter came out with it, rotten and dripping parts splattered onto the bathroom tile.

He went into the living room and retrieved the phone from it’s hiding place under the sofa. Fingers flipped through yellow pages, until he found an ad for a doctor who sounded good enough.

Still holding the q-tip in one hand, he dialed the phone with the other, and make a doctors appointment for next Saturday.

Ξ
‘Sandcastles imploding,
Unplugging a million brain cells,
Dislodging a million more memories,
They sizzle and scatter and
slip out of place.
Ξ

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

Jack and Jill Did What Now?

Today’s Writing Group Exercise: Jack and Jill,
tell your own version of the story…

stepwellI’ve long been suspicious of the whole Jack and Jill fable we are fed. It seems simple enough and certainly innocent when we are kids, but as I get older I asked more questions and grew ever more suspicious. And then the thought struck me one day…

‘Jack and Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water.’

Who the heck builds a well on top of a hill? Accessing water from under the ground is something we humans have been doing probably as long as we’ve been starting fires and drawing risque pictures on cave walls.

I don’t think it took us very long as a species to figure out that the lower you go before you start digging your hole, the less effort the ordeal will require.

You see some of the phenomenal wells dug in antiquity that look almost like inverted skyscrapers carved out of the ground. No easy feat to accomplish in any regard, but why would we make it that much harder on ourselves by starting the project at such high elevation?

What, then, were they really doing up on that hill? How did Jack really break his crown? And what, exactly, what Jill tumbling toward?

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Some thoughts While Waiting on a Download

59777_472276904594_4559975_nThere is something urgent we all must address before we proceed any further as a civilized species. It’s the matter of Time.

I realized it had become out of hand the other night when i was in the middle of downloading a new exercise program. I found the proper file //:sit_and_slim.exe and clicked on it. The little download progress bar appeared and started to determine how long this was going to take. And the estimate always fluctuates when you first start it up, doesn’t it? Kind of like an old Chevy; start it up and the gas gauge shoots to full, you have to wait a few moments to get any sort of realistic reading.

So the digital needle shoots from 18 kilobytes- per- second, up to 512 and back down a few times before settling. Estimated download time; five minutes thirty five seconds.

Now this is where i take issue.

Once it seems that the download (or whatever I have the computer do that is involved enough to warrant a progress bar) has settled into a nice pace and can give me a level reading of how much time it will consume, I try to plan the next several bits of my life accordingly. And I try to base my plans on the estimated time allotted.

Time has never been an easy thing for mankind to judge. I say judge instead of measure because I do not believe it to be a simple mathematical science, and in no way exact; everyone can understand the theory of relative time when its explained in the ‘an hour with a pretty girl is shorter than ten minutes with a boring book’ metaphor; there is also the idea that time slows down as one travels at rates approaching the speed of light; there are also those who believe that time is curved, or even that it actually moves backwards.

So given the complexity of the situation and the widely varied beliefs about time, I think it is commendable that we have found a relatively reliable way to measure the passage of communal events. I think its also particularly intriguing that even in the days before computers, electric light, even telescopes or sophisticated math systems, we- as a whole- have been able to determine that our little planet takes roughly 365 days to circle once around the sun.

By now, with advanced technology, we have determined the exact increment. We have made checks to previous theories, correcting our calendars and clocks as we learn more. The science of judging time has become so precise, that ‘one second’ is now defined as: The time needed for a cesium-133 atom to perform 9,192,631,770 complete oscillations.

Yet, invariably I come back to my computer exactly five minutes and thirty five seconds later and the progress bar reads ‘estimated time to complete: 2 minutes 08 seconds’.

It’s not my computer or my Internet connection. My computer is a hybrid of sorts; the processor is made of a highly sophisticated silica-like fungus which feeds on electrical impulses and reproduces quickly to meet my computing needs. For quicker Internet access i have a miniature sub-atomic particle accelerator buried under the house wired into a quantum-optic monster-cable; meaning that I am able to download the next ‘star wars’ movie even before it is filmed, as long as its not foggy out.

Besides, if it were my computer, the progress bar ideally would be able to take this into consideration. ‘Not running up to speed today, expect delays’ or some such thing. The computer should be able to see how badly it has estimated in the past and adjust accordingly.

But quite the contrary, I have found myself making such adjustments. After a couple weeks of arriving back at the computer early- only to see I still had minutes to wait for my downloads, or installs, or saves- I started mentally recalculating the times in my head. “Progress bar says ten minutes, I’ll come back in fifteen”.

One should not have to do this sort of math in ones head. Not with a computer sitting in front of oneself in broad daylight to see. Wasn’t the computer invented to alleviate us from such complex mental processes? Isn’t this the reason I have allowed it into my house? To do such work for me, instead of creating further headaches?

This frustration is only exacerbated by the fact that when I return to the computer after the adjusted allotment of time, the progress bar still reads “estimated time to complete: 1 minute 58 seconds”.

Now I begin to feel this inaccuracy is intentional. More than my previous feeling akin to ‘a watched pot never boils’, I now think that this is being done on purpose.

It reminds me of a lot of professional sports where play is based on a clock. The initial fifty eight minutes of a pro basketball game proceed much like any other fifty eight minutes, but those last two minutes can go on forever- and the bigger the game, the longer they seem to last.

And I am not talking about relative time or the sensation that time seems to slow down in moments of extreme excitement. I am talking about the very real fact that I can stand up from the television when the two minute warning clock pops up- I can make a sandwich and a cup of coffee smoke a pack of cigarettes download the latest fitness craze (weather permitting) excavate ancient ruins buried miles under my backyard and translate the fragments of writing found there-in and then return to the television- and there is still a minute thirty left in the game.

Who is behind this and why is this allowed to happen? Is it professional sports? The broadcasters? Or possibly the advertisers? This last thought seems the most plausible, as I return to check my download and see the progress bar surrounded by desperate ads all urging me to click on them.

Whatever the cause of this, I think it must be stopped. We have spent far too many thousands upon thousands of years getting to this point where we can describe so precisely the passage of time, only to let it be manipulated by outside forces with ulterior motives.

It makes me question how many of our senses, perceptions, devices and beliefs are fiddled with or altered to fit someone else’s agenda. How much of the information we receive- beyond being filtered by our own perceptual constructs- is corrupted before it even reaches us?

Or possibly, is our collective perception just simply that faulty? Instead of hinting at some sinister force deliberately misrepresenting measurements of time, is this actually showing of our ineptitude and the inherent flaws in mans attempts to describe the phenomenon which surround him? I imagine a galactic progress bar, which measures mans reach for enlightenment, and most surely reads, ”

one minutes twenty three seconds to go; evolution nearly complete”.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter (circa 2003)

Cleansing

392970_10150475775589595_1975948021_nCleaning goes against nature. Look at your pets next time you tidy up around the house. The animals scurry away- not that they are scared they will get swept up and discarded- but because cleaning is simply unnatural and wrong.

I don’t think a job like states attorney comes with a loaner-suit on the premises in case you come to work out of uniform.

Everybody waved goodbye as the gym teacher ran off, struck and tumbling, in a twenty one dodge ball salute. Cheerleaders circled, their purple and green tongues slithered up and tangled in the high branches of the trees. The fire cackles, dancing like an Egyptian, kicking a leg out and arms to grab those closest. Not far off a bird mimics a song in a language not spoken in ten thousand years.

The next day, not a trace.

I was twenty four at the time, and I was repeating my senior year for the sixth time. But I would not give up, that’s the important thing. It was hard to take it seriously anymore. The teachers were definitely unequipped to have a student around the school for ten years, especially the teachers whom he had tenure over.

It was a precarious ledge for a young wizard. I remember the only time I had tarot card reading and the lady looked me straight in the eye and said “You are a joke- the fact that you believe what you feed yourself is more scary than it is unfathomable. I doubt you will be able to decipher what I say to you right now”.

I have never had the desire to seek a reading since, and still cannot make out the cryptic message that strange old card-reading lady relayed to me.

I went back to the woods a couple times a week for the next year or so. Looking for clues, something left behind. Maybe a call from that damn bird.

It got hard to remember exactly where it had taken place. I would sit on a branch and wait for the sun to set, trying to superimpose my memory on top of my surroundings to see if I was in the right spot. A couple of times, I could see the fire again.

For a moment I could watch it dancing on the rocks, and feel its hand as it reached out to grab me. A flash of heat against my face, and it vanished. I would sit for a minute more, and then wonder back to the path. Noticing always a strange silence in the woods, as if the animals had all run away.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter