Friday, January 20, 2012
12:00 pm pst
The History of the Future: National Nothing Day
By Congressional Act, symbolically signed into law on October 13, 2017, October 13 was set aside as National Nothing
Day, after it was discovered that it was the only remaining day on the calendar that wasn’t already set aside as a national
day for one thing or another. Though SPAN, the Society for the Preservation of Anything Normal, expected a major fight
with the Greeting Card Industry, surprisingly there was no opposition. Overall, in 2017 the Greeting Card Industry reported
a profit of 148 billion dollars, an increase of nearly 5% over the previous year, which they attributed to their newly introduced
line of National Nothing Day cards.
Monday, January 16, 2012
11:58 am pst
The Readjustment of Time
Part of Mandrake Chapman’s
ongoing series, The History of the Future
As early as
the late Twentieth Century, there was a move underway to coordinate the world’s major governments and corporations with
the International Atomic Clock (IAC). In short, there was a move underway to establish a standard world time that everybody
everywhere would be coordinated with. There were several agreeable reasons, though none that was exceeding compelling,
why doing so would be a good idea. Most dealt with commerce, and communications, and communications about commerce.
However, even then there were those who were alarmed that doing such a thing would cause something potentially bad, but they
really weren’t quite sure what that might be. Understandably, their cries were ignored.
Though many individuals and companies
had been using the IAC for their time standards since its inception in the mid-20th Century, it was in late 2031
that Tell-All, the world’s largest telecommunication provider, adopted the IAC as the standard for all of its communication
devices. Soon, all hand held communication devices everywhere, as well as all computers, were linked to the IAC.
Therefore, whatever time you had on your phone was the exact time that everybody else in the world saw, down to the nanosecond.
Except, of course, for the differences in time zones.
Because everybody knew that the time on their cell phone was absolutely right, that became
the world standard for the increasingly few clocks that had still not been linked to the IAC. Even clocks on such mundane
appliances as coffeemakers and microwave ovens had been linked to the IAC. And whenever there was a discrepancy
between the IAC and an unlinked clock, it was always assumed that the IAC was the one that was correct, regardless of how
much the unlinked clock might be off.
In the Spring of 2033… maybe… the most influential businessmen in the West were all
approached by a man who was known simply as Kevin. Kevin announced to these businessmen that he had control
of the IAC. In fact, he had been manipulating the world’s time for the past several years, slowing it down and
speeding it up as he saw fit. What Kevin offered to the highest bidder was the ability to control time. It was
the ability to stretch the work day out into twelve hours while the workers are thinking they’re only working eight,
and then to make up the difference by shortening the nights. There really would be a reason why the nights go by so
fast, but these afternoons, man, do they drag on and on.
Kevin further threatened that if they didn’t take him up on his generous offer
he would shut down the IAC, and, consequently, every clock in the world. Undoubtedly, everyone believed Kevin to be
barking mad and refused to pay, but in a cordial manner, of course. What followed was a relatively brief discourse in
which Kevin insisted that he wasn’t bluffing, and the businessmen assured Kevin that neither were they, all the while
both sides becoming increasingly less cordial, until finally, they called Kevin’s bluff. If he bloody well wanted
to shut off all the clocks in the world, then he best get to it. So, much to their collective surprise, Kevin did.
Virtually every clock in the world either went blank or to flashing twelves, letting on that it no longer knew what time it
was, and quite frankly, neither did you. In fact, you truly could no longer say with any certainty what day of the week
it actually was.
be certain, there was quite a bit of chaos. There were panicking and riots. There was a bit of widespread mayhem
where thousands of people lost their lives, and several major financial markets in the world lost all they had, too.
It was hard to tell, though, if all that happened were a direct result of Kevin, or just the sort of thing happened on a regular
basis in the world anyway.
Really, on the whole, not much changed at all, except everybody suddenly had a vivid lesson in relativity, the kind
Einstein only dreamed of. It didn’t take the officials long before somebody figured out what was probably fairly
close to a second, and from there the rest was easy. By then, however, everybody had lost all real respect for time,
and the suffix “ish” became standard for any measurement of time that was required to be anywhere close to precise,
and those that didn’t need to be at that level of precision were generally ignored altogether. Birthdays were
worried about a lot less. People got less excited about anniversaries of any kind. For the most part appointments
became a question of eventually, showing up to work was more a matter of whenever, and going to lunch and actually coming
back was pretty much “around then.” Leaving work at the end of the day, however, remained spot on.
And Kevin? He wasn’t
hard to catch. People who come up with schemes like that aren’t usually at University on athletic scholarships,
so there wasn’t a whole lot of chasing that needed to be done. And when he was caught, he was more than willing
to make a deal. He claimed he had wiped all the clocks clear but one – the one he still had. And that’s
probably why they let him go. After all, they figured, it was probably punishment enough to be the only person in the
whole world who truly knows what time it is, but nobody else cares.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
12:12 pm pst
The Emperor shows his appreciation after being told that
he was naked.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
4:02 pm pst
Friday the Thirteenth
It seems the idea of Friday the
Thirteenth comes from earlier superstitions that both the number 13 and Friday are unlucky. When they come together…
what do you suspect?
In many cultures, 12 represents a “complete” number. After all, it is the smallest number that
can be divided by 2,3, & 4. Think of all the things we know that come by the dozen – months, hours, inches,
apostles, the 12 tribes of Judism, the 12 gods of Olympus, dice, donuts, and eggs. Thirteen… just mucks things
up. As well, there are even old Norse and Jewish legends that say if 13 people dine, then one of them is going to die.
A good thing to keep in mind when inviting people to your Friday the 13th parties. Just consider the Last
Supper from Christian mythology. It was on a Friday, and there were 13 present. Why it is referred to as Good
Friday is beyond me.
And Friday is unlucky because… well, it just is. Really, nobody seems to have cared about Friday the
13th before the 19th century. The earliest record in the English language of Friday the Thirteenth
being unlucky is that of a British journalist in 1869, but since then we’ve developed all sorts of phobias.
“The fear of Friday the
13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom
‘Friday’ is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen).” Of course,
not everybody sees Friday the 13th as unlucky. The Chinese, for instance, believe the number 13 is lucky.
But then, there are those who believe that it is unlucky to be Chinese. Seriously: Chinophobia is the fear of
Chinese people, Chinese customs, and anything else Chinese. As far as that goes, there a phobia for fearing American:
Amerophobia. But why stop there? Xenophobia is pretty much the fear of everybody who isn’t you, and Autophobia
is the fear of yourself. And then there’s Panophobia: The fear of everything.
So is Friday the 13th really unlucky? According to
a study done in Britain, there are actually fewer accidents on Friday the 13th than other random combinations of
week days and days of the months. But that could be because, as the study pointed out, fewer people leave their homes
on Friday the 13th, and on that day, overall, people tend to be more cautious.
Me? I think I’ll err on the side of caution and stay in
the house all day.
the way, there are three Friday the 13ths in 2012: January, April, and July. Indeed, it would be a
rare year that didn’t have at least one Friday the Thirteenth.
“Amerophobia.” 2011. Boredom Relief.
11 Jan. 2012. http://www.blifaloo.com/info/phobias.php
“Chinophobia.” 2011. Boredom Relief. 11 Jan. 2012.
“Friday the 13th.” 27 Dec. 2011. Wikipedia.
30 Dec. 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th
“The Phobia List.” 17 July 1995. phobialist.com.
11 Jan. 2012. http://phobialist.com/
“What Phobia is the Fear of Yourself?” 2012. Answers.com.
11 Jan. 2012. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_phobia_is_the_fear_of_yourself
“Why Friday the 13th is Unlucky.” 2012. About.com.:
Urban Legends. 11 Jan. 2012. http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/historical/a/friday_the_13th.htm