Category Archives: Philosophy

Mac Attack

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When my kids were young, I used to swing by McDonald’s on my way home from work every Family Night to pick up Happy Meals. I remember how I always had to make sure I got the right combination of boy and girl toys. The Happy Meals were cheaper on Family Night so as a provider trying to make ends meet, Mickey Dee’s was my lowest cost option. While it is true that my kids loved these little toys, the low price was undoubtedly the overriding factor in my decision.

Today there are several debates raging over the toys that come in Happy Meals.

One point of contention seems to be that McDonald’s specifies the gender preference of its toys. Maybe I am just being a little dense, but I think if a toy is born that way, why not specify? The bashers believe that toys should be gender-neutral. After all, “What father wants his sons to be limited in their choices?” Ah.., me.

Another point of concern surfaced recently because apparently kids in San Francisco are eating these toys and getting fat. I totally understand why the San Francisco Board of Supervisors are trying to curb childhood obesity. After all, fat kids might grow up to become fat adults, and what adult looks good in a pair of leather jeans when their ass is too fat. Plus, imagine the disappointment of ordering a Happy Meal and spethifying a boy-toy, only to find a tiny plastic Alien figurine in your box. I am sure that would be very uncomfortable.

Welcome to San Francisco, did you want that with fries or a fruit?

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Blue Pigeon

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Every Saturday during the last days of summer, I sat out on my patio conversation set for a morning cup of coffee. Those days were always slow to begin, and so the mornings went by quickly. Sometime before 11:00 a.m., we would hurry off to the Main Street Guymon Farmer’s Market. As summer wound down in the Oklahoma Panhandle, I was saddened that the fresh supply of homegrown garden produce was coming to an end.

It was the next to the last weekend that the Main Street Guymon organization would block off 5th Street between Ellison and Main for the locals to sell their produce and crafts. It would be the last Saturday for some of the vendors, as the mornings grew colder and their gardens grew bare. We bought a thirty-five pound pumpkin for five dollars, and found just enough zucchini to cook our last zucchini pizza of the season. We took a little longer picking out what to buy, because there was less to choose from, and we knew we would not see some of these folks until next season.

Two men were selling honey grown in one of the men’s beehives. I knew both men, so we traded pleasantries, and then we traded stories. One of the men had a novelty cane made with pipe fittings, and when he flipped it end for end, it became a novelty golf putter. We talked about the same things that we have always talked about when we run into each other. We told the same stories that we always tell. We listened to the same tales we had heard before, and we behaved as if the tales were being told for the very first time. This is what you do when you see someone you enjoy talking with, but do not know them well enough to talk about anything else. That is what we did.

The man with the novelty cane began to tell me his Blue Pigeon joke. I may have heard him tell it once before. It’s the one about the time Guymon had a big problem with pigeons.

The city had tried everything to get rid of the pigeons, but the pigeon population continued to grow, and so did the mess they left on the buildings and sidewalks of Main Street. The city officials heard about a traveling man who guaranteed he could get rid of the pigeon problem, and at no charge, but on one condition. That single condition being that they could ask no questions or the fee would be $5,000. The city leaders agreed.

So, the traveling man came to Guymon, bringing only a single birdcage with him. The Mayor met the traveling man at the corner of 5th and Main, just a few yards from where we stood that morning at the Farmer’s Market telling stories. Then, the traveling man reached into his birdcage, pulled out a Blue Pigeon, and immediately released it up into the air. That Blue Pigeon flew straight down the middle of Main Street, and as it flew, all the other pigeons that had lined the building tops took flight and followed that Blue Pigeon. They followed him down to the stop light on the highway. Then, being led by the Blue Pigeon, they all took a right turn and flew on out of town, never to be seen again.

The Mayor was extremely impressed, and now he had one question he felt he had to ask. The traveler reminded him that the fee would be $5,000 if he were to ask even a single, simple question. The Mayor, being fully aware of the $5,000 fee, still felt that he had to know, and so he asked the traveler, “Do you have any Blue Illegal Immigrants?”

I did not laugh at the punch line. There was an awkward moment of silence.

The man explained the punch line to me. The other man mentioned that the joke might not be politically correct. I said that novelty cane is “really something.” We told another story or two. I bought a container of honey, and hurried off to pick out some other produce from the other vendors. That was the last time I saw the two men at the market. Only a few vendors showed up the last weekend. I guess the two must have decided not to sell honey that last Saturday.

I was glad I bought the honey when I had the opportunity, although I could give the man a call if I needed more. I have enjoyed the honey, but it turned bittersweet for me last week. The man who told the Blue Pigeon story passed away, a week ago, Saturday. I was stunned when I heard the news. I reflected on how I had just seen him such a short while before at the Farmer’s Market. He seemed fine; he was fine. We had traded stories. You just never know what the future holds. You just never know when someone will go. Just like that. You just never know.

I wish I had laughed.

I blog, therefore I am.

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Surely, if René Descartes had been a blogger or even known about blogging way back in the 17th Century, he might have been known today for the Blogito instead of the Cogito, and his famous philosophical statement would have been blogito ergo sum instead of cogito ergo sum.

For those not fluent in Latin, cogito ergo sum translated into English is I think, therefore I am.

OK, let’s imagine for just a moment that when René was pondering the meaning of life and his own existence, he had decided to spend his existence blogging, instead of fathering modern philosophy. Well, modern philosophy we could probably live without, but what about 3D movies?

“What?” you exclaim, “No 3D movies? No Avatar? Did this guy invent 3D movies too?”

Not exactly, but he is the guy that came up with the link between algebra and geometry. It turns out he is considered the father of analytical geometry too, so this guy definitely got around and even had the Cartesian coordinate system named after him. Now I’m no expert on 3D movies, but I’m thinking that René’s handy-dandy little coordinate system formula could have something to do with how they program all this 3D movie stuff.

So just think about this, if René had been sitting around blogging all the time and did not do any pondering, he would not have been the father of anything, except maybe the father of blogging which would have been kind of cool too.

So why did I decide to start a blog? Dare I tempt fate and rob this world of some great philosophical or mathematical discovery because I’m blogging instead of pondering? No. It may be true that I’m a pretty smart guy, but seriously that is a highly unlikely scenario. It is, however, very likely that there will be no one else available to ponder cleaning my garage, mowing my lawn, or taking out my trash whilst I blog. I think, therefore, my chores will just have to wait.

Blogito ergo sum.