Friday, July 17, 2015

In Retrospect, I Kind of Blame the People of the Mountain

So many years ago, back in the halcyon age before the Internet (and computers for that matter...) I had a grade school teacher who was a bit of a hippie. 

Regularly at school assemblies he would bring his guitar and we would all sing songs along the line of 'If I Had a Hammer', and 'Leaving on a Jet Plane', with the lyrics written on huge sheets of white paper in the front of the school gymnasium. 

One of Mr. Case (for that was his name)'s standards was 'One Tin Soldier'. For those unfamiliar with the song in question, you can review it here*

*As presented in The Legend of Billy Jack**

**I'm not going to even attempt to explain The Legend of Billy Jack

Now, the song is a pretty straightforward 70s peace anthem swaddled in vaguely Tolkien-esque middle-ages village imagery*

*If you could fit the entire 70s into a giant stock pot and let it boil for a very long time, it would eventually reduce to something not unlike the song 'One Tin Soldier'

So the basic story is this - We have the Mountain people who supposedly have a 'treasure'. We also have the Valley people who live next door and would very much like to swing by and borrow a cup of treasure. The Valley people send a polite note requesting the treasure, the mountain people send a deliberately vague note back, and so the valley people slaughter the mountain people and discover that the treasure is, in actual point of fact, the words 'Peace on Earth', which are for some reason know only to the mountain people hidden under a rock.

Now, as a kid I readily accepted that this was a story about bad valley people who killed their neighbors, but looking back on it now I can't help but think that the Mountain people have to take at least some of the blame for the whole situation. I mean, I don't want to blame the victim here, but let's take a look at how easily the whole situation could have been cleared up by having the following simple conversation-

 Hey, we've heard you have a bunch of treasure. 
The 411 is that it's tons of gold. We'd like you to give it to us.
 FYI, we're totes willing to kill for it.

I'm sorry, what?  We couldn't hear you over our enormous beards

Your tons of golden treasure.  Please give it to us. 

Oh... I totally see where the miscommunication here is.  
We don't actually have literal treasure like gold or silver or anything like that.  
When we say treasure we're talking about a 
metaphoric representation of peaceful coexistence.  

You what now?

 We wrote the words 'Peace on Earth' under a rock. See?  Look, you can totally see it.

Why would you even do that?

It's ... like.. a metaphor.

Why did you put it under a rock?

Because shut up, that's why.

Why are we even a part of this conversation?

Oh CHRIST, not them again.  Screw this, we're going home.

See?  Totally cleared the situation up and nobody had to get slaughtered even a little bit.

Honestly, it's like the Mountain People wanted to get wiped out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


A bit of backstory -

For the last couple of months I've had an ongoing issue of some kind going on in my guts.  I'm still not sure what's going on exactly, but my current theory is that an alien is going to erupt from my sternum at any moment.

As part of the ongoing quest to figure out what exactly is going on I've been going through a series of medical tests. First the simple stuff - bloodwork, etc. That showed nothing wrong. Then the 'poo samples' saga (which has already had far too much discussion here)  This also came back and showed nothing wrong. Then we progressed to the ultrasound to check organ function - this was notable for including the following exchange-


I suppose this is where most people make the obvious joke 
about finding out if it's a boy or a girl.

(In a voice of unspeakable weariness) 

... yes.

Once the ultrasound came back showing nothing wrong we moved on to something called a radioactive injection test*.

*Because apparently the name 'Fiendish Death Ray Test was already taken, but they still wanted to sound really sinister.

As tests go it was fairly non-threatening (despite the ominous name). The basic upshot of it is that they put an IV in your arm and fill your veins with radioactive goo. Then they mount you on an enormous metal sandwich board  and scan your organs for traces of radiation. The practical upshot of this is that you can watch on the conveniently placed monitor as your liver, gall bladder and small intestine all light up in dayglow colors as radioactive goo gets processed through them.

Now the answer to the two obvious questions -

Yes, the test came back showing nothing wrong, 


No, I do not appear to have been turned into the Incredible Hulk

I confess to being disappointed on both counts.

While I had to wait to hear back from the clinic for the first answer, I ascertained the second on my own through the simple expediency of recruiting a colleague at work to attempt to make me mad and see if it caused me to transform into a giant green* rage monster**

*possibly grey 

** Arguably not the world's most controlled experiment...

One slight procedural hitch - I don't really get angry very often, which caused a little difficulty. So in practice the experiment ran more like -


Did you hear?  You're not going to be allowed to have a teacup pig at work in the new offices


Oooooh.  <Sad Noise>


No, you're not supposed to get sad.  You're supposed to get angry!


But that's really sad news!


If you don't get angry how are you going to turn into the Hulk?


Well... maybe some Hulks aren't triggered by rage.  Maybe some Hulks are triggered by other emotions.  Maybe I'm Sad Hulk.


Sad Hulk would be Awesome! Sad Hulk would say things like "Sad Hulk wrote you poem. You probably won't like."


"Sad Hulk Eat whole tub of ice cream.  No one ever love anyway..."


"Sad Hulk lay down until DIE."

Please begin submitting your own quotes from Sad Hulk with the hashtag #SadHulk.  My debilitating stomach pain will totally be worth it if this ends up on the Nerdist.