THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: March 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

On Contests You're In - Part 1

Back in college, a friend and I had a contest. We each had a water bottle with two liters of water in it. We agreed to drink as much water as we could and not to pee for as long as we could -- we were hoping to make it one hour. Then the plan was to go into the restroom in our dormitory and begin urinating at the same time. The winner of the contest would be, of course, the person who peed the longest. He who pisses last pisses longest, in other words.

I lost. By an embarrassing margin. If I remember correctly, I achieved something on the order of a 22 second stream. My friend managed over twice that -- nearly a minute. It was humiliating.

Last night as I reflected on this experience, I realized that if I had it to do over again, there are two modifications I would make. Two ways the contest should be changed to make it more equitable.

First, I think the diet -- both food and drink -- of the participants should be identical and carefully controlled for at least one week before the contest. It is entirely possible that part of the reason I lost is because of what I ate or drank (or didn't eat or drink) or what my fellow competitor ate or drank (or didn't) in the days and hours before we started the contest.

Secondly, I think the volume produced should also be measured. Different rivers flow at different speeds, after all. And if the purpose of the contest really is -- as I understood it to be -- to determine whether my body or my friend's body can produce more liquid waste under the chosen conditions/constraints, isn't volume probably more important than duration? Quantity exceeds chronology.

What do you think?

Monday, March 24, 2008

On Easter Bagging the Megachurch Way - Part 1

We celebrated Easter the new-fashioned way this year. We hunted Easter eggs and candy. And we tried belatedly but with complete sincerity to explain to our eldest daughter (soon to be 6) that the star that led the shepherds to the manger in Bethlehem was a Christmas symbol, not Easter. But her Easter drawings were nevertheless pretty neat.

Something new for us, though, was the Easter egg hunt done MegaChurch style (pictured below).

Note that of the hundreds upon hundreds of plastic Easter eggs spread around on this quite large grassy area, every single one of them was "found" by at least one child within the first minute after the pastors said "go." (There were warnings given -- appropriately, we later learned -- that the egg hunt for kids younger than three was someplace else on the compound; the space pictured above was for serious, fit and competitive hunters aged between three and sixth grade.)

The official time from start to finish of the egg hunt was announced as thirty-seven seconds. A new record!

A little later in the day, after things had calmed down considerably and almost everyone had either gone into the church for services or to their homes to inventory their loot, I took the photo below which is a much more relaxing scene. (We love our fancy new camera!)

(Fellowship of the Woodlands is what this church that we went to for the egg hunt is called, by the way.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

On the Business of Birthdays - GUEST NOVELIST APPEARS!

Friends and visitors, I'd like to take moment to recognize a true accomplishment in typing. By cutting and pasting it -- with the permission of the author, I hasten to add -- here for all times' sake. And old times' sake, since I'm a couple weeks delinquent on bestowing this honour on my darling older sister. I only say "older" because I have two sisters, each of whom is darling. Anyway, to the good stuff ...

By the way, I got this by email. Shortly after I forgot my sister's birthday. At least I think I forgot it. Maybe I didn't though. It's hard to remember. I've been doing a lot of shopping lately.

From: Laura the Birthday Girl
To: Various Associated People of Uncertain Relationship
Subject: More About My Birthday

Hello Haiku Group Commentary Recipients,

I would like to question why the near majority of my well-wishing has come from sources of a corporate or marketing nature. Bikram Yoga,, World Market, Bank of America-- these are the 'friends' who are quick to celebrate my birthday. Must my birthday go the way of those of other great birthed ones, like Jesus, and just become another secular commercialized opportunity to sell somebody more of what they don't need to make them happy?

Of course, if someone wants to GIVE me more of what I don't need to be happy, other than a gratuitous email or card that some secretary had to handwrite the address onto yesterday (oh, the CYNIC! Luckily I am, actually, insanely cheerful in this moment), that would be fine. I could resell it on craigslist, if nothing else.

I'm sorry if any stores were closed, or having obnoxious sales, today. It could be my fault.

Love, and Happy Birthday to you in advance or arrears, because I may not get you a card in time, having no ulterior motives,


Friday, March 14, 2008


Watch out, friend - flies are getting in.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On Prognostications - Part 2

Updating this post from a couple of months ago, the current Amazon sales rank for Robert Prechter's book "Conquer the Crash" is around 56,000, up considerably from it's ~87,000 sales rank from my original "Prognostications" post.

Of course, sales ranks jump around a lot in the ranges we're discussing, so this update is interesting (at least to me) but not really significant. It's too easy for a very few interested people to move the sales rank of a book up from ~87,000 to ~56,000. I think. And in any event, a sales rank of ~56,000 for this doomsday survival tome is not significant in terms of helping contrarians identify a "bottom" to investor psychology.

Folks are still hanging in there.

(Rightly or wrongly.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

On Josiah Leming - DUDE IS ALL THAT

The part of me that wishes I had an alternative track to my life where I am a desperately impoverished but earnestly and charmingly self-indulgent and really very talented especially for being so young and naive and unworldly singer-songwriter traveling the country with only a guitar and a bag of clothes and a notebook and a stubby pencil that needed sharpening and also being blessed without too much pride so that I could let a pretty girl who is pretty confused about everything herself buy me drinks before we two lost souls stumbled from a bar into the back seat of my dirty beat-up car in some alley in the middle of some small town somewhere in Kentucky or North Dakota or Arizona or wherever to do whatever it is that lost souls do when they're trying to find each other and they're not likely to see each other ever again except for a "thanks for adding me" link or two on myspace or facebook would have it be Josiah Leming's life that I would lead on that there alternative track.

Yes, it's that kid from Tennessee who sang with an english accent on American Idol. Dude is all that. Seriously. See below. Note the nice touch of the upside down painting of the ship in the background.

I hope America gets to find out what Josiah Leming thinks of his experiences in 2007 and 2008 when he gets older. It seems to me from this great distance of exclusively multimedia exposure to Josiah that he is unflinchingly honest in what he says and does. I would so much hope -- if I'm correct that he is unflinchingly honest, etc. -- that he continues to be that way and in ten years and then again in twenty years he's still writing songs to let us know what he's learned and how his life has changed who he is. This is a guy that needs to produce a retrospective at some point. At least that's my opinion.

In part because I also have the feeling that Josiah has this extraordinary and possibly unshakable belief that the world wants him to succeed and everything to be OK for him. I'm praying he's right. It seemed to me that he thought it was his destiny to be the next American Idol. He was very wrong about that, but I don't see that it slowed him down that much. Thank goodness.

The world of the cynic is such an ugly place.

Friday, March 07, 2008


User error defied!

By the way, this is a remarkably brilliant and funny exposition (what does that word mean, anyway?) on politics.

They use the word "contretemps" in it.