Category Archives: life not human

Oh, Mousie, Not Your Best-Laid Scheme. A Burns’ Day Tale, Sad But True

Too a Mouse

On Lifting up My Toilet Seat Last Sunday Morning, January, 2013

Wee, sleeket, soggy, floatin’ beastie,
Panic’s no more in thy breastie.
Thou shouldn’a jump’d in there sae hasty,
Wi’out floatation!
Had I but heard, I’d come an’ save thee,
From wet damnation!

I’m truly sorry human plumbing,
Unsuited to your way of coming,
Did lead to your most sad succumbing,
— that hinge-side gap —
and brought you to an end so numbing,
Last words? “Oh, crap!”

Thy attic fam’ly, now, in ruin;
They must be wond’rin what you’re doin’!
An’ no one, now, to feed the sma’ ones
Wi’ nibbles thieved.
An’ January’s snows keep blowin.
Thou shouldst ha’ lived!

If caref’ler foresight you did give,
What then? poor beastie, thou wouldst live!
Instead, kin scan the will for your bequest.
Or did you nothing leave?
Och, they’ll be pissed!

Thou walked the loo, (that’s for my wast),
An’ in you fell. Mistake? Your last.
An’ in the bowl you paddled fast;
Must ha’ been hell.
No splash! You scrambled till you passed.
Tough luck. Oh well.

Thou wee-bit heap o’fur an’ bubble,
Thy end, clearly, more sad than noble.
Now thou’s done in, for a’ thy trouble,
O mouse, so bold.
Now Mousie Jr’s strife is double;
Mouse Sr’s cold!

But Mousie, thou need na complain,
You’ll ne’er make that misstep again.
The best lid-schemes for toilets, then,
Are not mouse-proof.
But now you’re past your grief an’ pain,
Thou careless goof.

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
For now, each time I go to pee,
Or poo, I backward cast my e’e,
Ere dropping rear!
Faced forward, whyles I canna see,
I guess, an’ fear!

Robert Burns

Robert Burns

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Filed under life not human, literature, perspective, tradition, writing

Chomsky vs Chimpsky

What do you do when Professor Noam Chomsky is in town shortly before the premiere of a documentary about his hairy namesake Nim Chimpsky, and neither of them can make time for you to interview them? To be fair, Dr. Chomsky is very busy and more than a decade past retirement age and Nim Chimpsky, not busy at all, is more than a decade past expiry.

Meaning no disrespect to either, I wanted to draw attention to both and found it expedient to deal with both in one piece.

Please leave comments on the article at Post City or on this blog.

Chomsky vs. Chimpsky: comparing a famous professor — coming to Toronto tonight — and a famous chimpanzee

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Filed under communication and media, languages and communication, life not human

Here Comes My Big Brother: Robert J. Sawyer’s Wonder

Robert J Sawyer‘s 20th novel Wonder is being launched in Toronto tomorrow and will be in book stores on April 5th.

ROBERT J. SAWYER  Photo Credit: Christina Molendyk
ROBERT J. SAWYER Photo Credit: Christina Molendyk

Since 2008, I have been attending talks by Sawyer in Moncton, Montreal and Toronto, on a range of topics covering writing, publishing, science and philosophy.

I recently interviewed him for the second time. The first time was at the beginning of his WWW trilogy about the World Wide Web spontaneously becoming self-aware; this time his trilogy is concluded. Please read my article Here Comes My Big Brother: Robert J. Sawyer’s Wonder posted at AE The Canadian Science Fiction Review

or for a very abbreviated version of the interview please read http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Do/March-2011/Wonder-lust-Robert-J-Sawyer-launches-his-latest-novel/ at www.PostCity.com (where you may encounter more of my writings).

Wake

Wake

Watch

Watch

Wonder

Wonder

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Filed under book reviews, interviews, life not human, Optimism & Inspiration, writing

Battle LA Was Not “Blah”!

I lost the battle of “should we go?” but my extremely low expectations paid off!

Battle LA was not “blah”; it was kind of fun. It has all the artistic merits of a trip on a roller coaster. This is a movie you don’t want to arrive late for. Not that you’d have trouble following the plot or miss any witty dialogue. Every line was distinctly unmemorable. But it starts like a cat in a bath.

It would not make a good stage play. Well, possibly a musical.

No complaints about the capable cast (the demands of the script did not exceed their range), and I didn’t hear a yawn through the whole thing.

The story often lacked realism, and I don’t mean what Dr Seth Shostak of SETI recently said at “The Great Extraterrestrial Debate” for the Centre For Inquiry in Toronto, about aliens having better things to do than to wander way the hell out to this uninteresting part of the galaxy. He did in fact say that, if aliens do come all this way, we can expect to get the kind of treatment that indigenous populations often get when they are “discovered” by a technologically superior group.

No, the shortcomings I mean are, for lack of a better word, subtler than that. But I don’t want to spoil it for you by saying the kid takes it pretty well when his dad dies. …Oops.

 

For published film reviews, please see About the writer.

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Filed under film reviews, life not human

Let’s Not See “Battle LA” Tonight

One brother asked another if he’d like to see a film called Battle LA.

The response paraphrased Jean-Luc Picard in one of the great moments in science fiction cinema:

“…..No! NOOOOOOO! ….I will not see that film. We’ve been disappointed too many times before. We’ve believed the previews, and been let down. We’ve seen blockbuster after blockbuster, and been let down. Well, I say, no more! The line must be drawn HERE! THIS far! NO farther! And I….will wait for the DVD!”

(Props to Alfre Woodard, too!)

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Filed under life not human

What Would ET Say?

At the Centre for Inquiry’s “The Great Extraterrestrial Debate” at U of T last Friday, Dr. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) told us what to expect when we finally encounter E.T., which he wagers a cup of “Tim, what is it, Hortons coffee” will happen in the next few decades.

Given the billions of potentially life-supporting planets in our galaxy alone, Shostak takes it as a given that we’re not alone. But a signal traveling at the speed of light may take thousands of years each way. By the time we get word from another civilization, the senders may have been extinct for millennia.

So when we finally get a signal, what will E.T. be saying?

Read the rest at Post City!

http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Do/March-2011/SETI-is-listening-what-to-expect-when-ET-makes-contact/

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Filed under interviews, languages and communication, life not human