Sunday, December 12, 2004

Some random thoughts for the weekend:

Mike: Do you happen to know whether St. Francis de Soupy Sales has ever squared off against St. Vincent de Billy Paul?

This somewhat well-publicized study on what makes us humans happy doesn't surprise me one bit. First, because I've long been convinced that our species is much less social than we like to think, or at the very least, there's a lot more variation and flexibility among individuals than we've been led to believe. Second, this may well be an illustration of the difference between proximate and ultimate causation. In the long run, we may be happiest if we're content with our families, friends, jobs, and communities (ultimate), but on the scale of a day-to-day study, we're more responsive to the joys of an hour of quiet solitude followed by two more hours of our favorite TV sitcoms or sporting events (proximate). The trick is to figure out how to pry ourselves away from the latter in order to invest a bit in the former. Come to think of it, Rick and I are currently glued to our laptops in different rooms of the house, representing a fine microcosm of the above dilemma.

Actually, Rick and I did get out together a few times this weekend, once to an excellent graduation party (congrats, John!) and again to do some Christmas shopping. It's very dangerous, though, to turn two animal-loving fans of culture jamming loose in a mall just before Christmas. For one thing, they tend to have a low level of respect for the lofty pretentions of traditional Christmas songs:

There's Thysanura in the bathroom....

And, if the intrusive bugs aren't bad enough, these malcontents may go off on a reverie about singing vertebrate predators (maybe leopards or ocelots, or else some big crocodilians, none of which in the 'Pede-verse tolerate cheesy canned Christmas music well):

We'll bite you if you keep singing,
We'll bite you if you keep singing,
We'll bite you if you keep singing,
And we'll tear off your ear.

(The 'Pede will scuttle off and behave itself for now, but don't expect things to get any saner for the next few weeks. You have been warned.)


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