Obviously, You're Not a Golfer

I read to my daughter's kindergarten class today. Today being April 20th.

I read them Oliver Jeffers' Stuck, an absurdist kids' story about a boy who gets a surprising amount of stuff stuck in a tree while trying to get his kite down.

Why did I bring up the date, 4/20, which alert internet readers will recognize as the Marijuana Number?

Because I discovered that when you have a Q&A session with a bunch of six-year-olds, you get to have exactly the same conversations you had when you were twenty and doing bong rips.

Possible theories they had on how all the stuff (including a house, a large ship, and a blue whale) stayed stuck in the tree:

  • Glue tree
  • Tape tree
  • Tree that is not made of glue or tape but has it, like, on the leaves?
  • Tree leaves are actually super-strong Venus flytraps that grab onto the stuff
  • Tree is not an actual tree but instead a tree-shaped robotic mechanism controlled internally by an evil man bent on getting things stuck in tree simulacra

I floated the possibility of an implausibly gravity-dense tree and blew their fucking faces off.

This led to the probably-inevitable "whoa, knrk knrk, uh, what if there WASN'T gravity, man?!?!?!?" bongwater philosophy discussion that so many of us have enjoyed in our respective youths.

We agreed that no gravity would be a cool thing if you had a space helmet and a trampoline and a hammer to smash through asteroids. Because we are reasonable people.

Then they all drew silly stories. It was more than I'd hoped it would be. I got two hugs and a 'splodin' knucks at the end.

One of the hugs rubbed off a strong artificial apple-cinnamon incense smell on me, so to complete the day's theme, I now smell like a head shop.

The Dark Side of the That's-No-Moon

The first eight minutes of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" synced with Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". They say the whole movie works. Of course, they also say that Slender Man is real.

This is the best one of these I've seen since they did it with "The Wizard of Oz", which is a better thematic fit if you think marijuana is great. As many Slender Man people do.

We talk about story beats, particularly in sequential art stories like movies and comics, and it's not just a metaphor. Language itself is inherently musical, regardless of whether you speak a tonal language, and stories themselves are often most satisfying when they have a musical-ish structure. On the flip side, even "Add It Up" by the Violent Femmes feels like a three-act play to me.

So while I don't think there's anything grand lurking here, there is probably something in our instinctive pull towards certain rhythms and changes in stories and conversations just like in music, the way most popular music was built on a handful of chord progressions.

If I had fuck-you money and an attention span worthy of the name, I'd start randomly pairing concept albums with movies just to see how often I get a decent hit. I bet it would be statistically significant, but then again something this subjective just screams confirmation bias.

There is crazy magic in our stupidly repetitive and predictable brains. Hell, sometimes even I think Slender Man could be real.

Mr. Fart’s Favorite Colors

This design came back to bite us on March 24th. The very system meant to keep passengers safe enabled a mentally ill Germanwings co-pilot to lock himself in the cockpit and slam into a mountain at the speed of sound. The locked-out captain was armed with full knowledge of the system, a fire axe, and a motivation that dwarfs any hacker’s — and still he could not penetrate the door.

What’s striking is that this incident did not prompt any change in cockpit protocol in the United States. The FAA is improving mental health checks, but at 30,000 feet, we still have a security system where the parameters are widely known to criminals; where the method of abuse is clear; where we see no way for people outside the cockpit to stop it; and we’ve still decided the public is best served by keeping the people in the cockpit in charge of the lock.

This is the right choice — there are far more potential suicidal bombers in the cabin than in the cockpit.

On airline safety protocols and how they're going to make your phone, your money, and your life safer. If the government doesn't keep insisting on screwing it up.

This is hilarious, poignant and spot-on. Via Merlin.