Posted by: The Amoeba | December 31, 2012

He and She: Edginess

pairpareShe: “So did you bring home the paring knife I packed with your lunch?”

He: “No, sorry, I left it in a drawer at work.”

She: “Well, that’s all right I guess, it should be safe there.”

He: “I reckon. Safe enough so that I should know, when I get back to the office, whether you’ve been buying the right kind of knife or not.”

She: “The .. right .. kind .. of .. knife …”

He: “Yeah. When I open that drawer, there oughta be two of ’em there.”

She: “Uh …”

He: “You did give me a pairing knife, didn’t you? If they’re not pairing, you should take them back to the store and get your money back.”

She: “That’s not all I’ll be doing at that store then.”

He: “Oh?”

She: “I’m going to get their best hunting and fishing knives too. Never have to buy meat at the grocery store again, they’ll bring us all we want. Though I’ll probably have to tell the fishing knife not to wake the neighbors when it leaves the house at 4 in the morning. And I’ll be packing their lunches instead of yours!

He: “I’m not so sure about this.”

She: “How come? ‘Cause you’ll have to pack your own lunch?”

He: “No. Because you’ll want to be sure you don’t get a hybrid knife by mistake. Gotta watch their pedigrees.”

She: “I don’t think they come with papers.”

He: “They usually come with warranties, don’t they? Better read carefully. You get a hunting/paring knife cross, they could multiply out of control. And a houseful of hungry hunting knives … well, weren’t you looking for a plot for a horror movie?”

She: “Urban fantasy. I’ll run the idea by Ilona, but I think it’ll be too far out even for her. Besides, easy fix. You just keep them in twos, then they’re already be in pairs and won’t feel the need to make more.”

He: “OK. If you’re sure about that. And please be careful what you pick up at the farmer’s market.”

She: “Why?”

He: “Because I don’t wish to try and cut up an apple with a pearing knife. It’d probably bounce off, and I could hurt myself.”

Posted by: The Amoeba | November 10, 2011


Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba heard about the sacking of the long-tenured Pennsylvania State University varsity football gridiron coach Joe Paterno just this morning (10 November 2011) – about a million years ago TST (Twitter Standard Time). That he found out even as late as that was remarkable, as YFNA had quit following organized sport of any kind back sometime around last March. He has become so insulated from “the games”, that when he walked past a restaurant lounge a month ago …

“Hey buddy. Isn’t it a little late in the year for interleague baseball?”

“That’s the World Series.”

“The World Series? St. Louis? Texas?!?

Anyway. By the time YFNA got the news, everybody else and their pet chinchillas knew how the sins of one of his priests had brought down the Church of JoePa …

“This is the Vatican. How may we help you?”

“This is Joe Paterno, Pennsylvania, USA.”

“The Head of the Church of JoePa?”

“You have said so. May I speak with His Holiness the Pope? I seek his advice on a problem we both share.”

“His Holiness has received the news. He will pray for you.”

“I was hoping for something more practical.”

“Prayer is the most practical advice His Holiness can offer, sir. He says, nothing else short of Divine Intervention does a lick of good. Crede expertum.”

And most of them have commented. Either, it’s a scandal that Paterno should, after all his time and accomplishments, be sacked for this one failing. Or, it’s a scandal that Joe Pedo hasn’t already been hanged from the highest rung of his coaching chair at the 50-yard line of the Happy Valley gridiron stadium.

Far be it from Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba to fail to do what everyone else is doing. Comment on all this, that is. Though, he confesses, the train of his thoughts don’t have much to do with what Paterno and his associates have or have not done. After all, he was not there. All he knows, Will, is what he reads on the Internet.

Those thoughts have much more to do with us. You and me, fellow citizens of these Untied States of America.

How it is that We the People can let pass, with scarcely a murmur, the bombing to smithereens of a nation full of people on the scantiest and falsest of pretexts.

How we can accept, and even call good, Our insistence on an economic system that consigns a quarter (at least) of the population to grinding poverty, nonexistent health care, and demeaning servitude. And then we look outside of the USA’s borders …

But so help Us if somebody gets caught with pants down in the wrong place at the wrong time! Right, Joe? Bill? Tiger?

We the People will bring down the great and noble if their (alleged) sexual conduct offends us. But We will support the perpetrators of crimes against humanity if they are successful in convincing us that their bedroom conduct is what We deem to be appropriate.

Perhaps you will forgive YFNA the observation that Our moral sense seems a bit, ah, screwy.

If it were less screwy, perhaps We would use it to examine critically the system that buoyed JoePa up, and then threw him down. How many Penn States, Ohio States, Miamis, Southern Californias – just to name four, within the past year or so – will it take before We recognize that allowing Our universities to be held hostage by professional sports franchises is A Bad Thing?

Do We really need tabloid / soap opera entertainment that badly?

If We do, it’s a really expensive taste.

Measured in the thousands of lives it consumes each year. 95% of so-called “student athletes” in the revenue sports get neither a job in the major pro sports leagues (one of which will apparently be hiring nobody this year) nor a credible university education.

Measured in the subsuming of the supposed primary mission of Our universities – acquiring and passing on knowledge – in the name of supporting the revenue sports. Johnny Carson once famously said that We would pay $10 for entertainment for every $1 we spend on education. Which is about the percentage by which revenue sports budget are growing on Our university campuses while We (yes, We) slash and burn the budgets that Our universities need for its people to acquire and transmit knowledge. Faculty, staff, and students at one major University of YFNA’s acquaintance recently were asked to vacate their jobs – and, especially, their parking places – so that their University could host a weekday gridiron game. Perhaps there’s a reason that the University in question removed its motto, Lux sit (“Let there be light”), from most of its branding (logos and such): a last, lingering concession to the principle of “truth in advertising”.

An expensive taste, indeed. One could almost call it immoral.

Posted by: The Amoeba | November 3, 2011

Rah-Rah-Rah-Sis-Boom-Bah Humbug

Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba has just received an invitation to party.

Specifically, to dress up in the (garish) school colors and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of his favorite institution of higher learning.

The one from which he graduated, piled higher and deeper, just after elephants first learned to shave. And at which he has just been granted the privilege of a title – so long as he finds money to pay himself, not to mention his university (which gets a hefty cut of any money he finds), for this magnanimous gesture.

If you think this is a rare event in academic circles, especially in the sciences, YFNA begs you to reconsider.

YFNA did some considering of his own upon receiving this invitation.

About the mountain of debt that the typical student amasses to attend YFNA’s institution, and most of its ilk in these Untied States … public institutions that were set up to make a college / university education affordable.

About the economic prospects for a student in YFNA’s career field who has graduated with that mountain of debt.

YFNA is convinced that, were he a teenager in today’s Amerika, he would be pointing at a career working for Wal-Mart or driving a truck, his high-school performance be damned. “Go away, nigger peasant. We have an aristocracy in this country now, and our universities are for the noble classes. You are a serf. We don’t want your kind here.”

School colors? The folks who proffered the invitation might be just as happy that YFNA is out of town trying to pay the rent. Otherwise, he just might show up at that party, wearing something appropriate to the occasion.

Sackcloth and ashes.

Posted by: The Amoeba | October 20, 2011

Another Brick In The Wall (Street)

Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba has been observing the Occupy Wall Street movement from afar. When you’re a microscopic protozoon, you pretty much look at everything from afar. The satirical tycoons Reg and Syd have been, too, as you can see here. Yes, that means YFNA has pulled the Dude & Dude website out of the ether. We’ll see what happens with that, this go’round.

As you probably know, there’s been a lot of heat generated by all sides over the OWS movement. In particular, there’s been a lot of attention over how “the media” initially ignored the (ahem) noble fighters for social justice against the global financial oligarchy, and then pooh-poohed those (ahem) poor, sorry, clueless jokers who have nothing better to do than carry picket signs and clog traffic, while their betters pay for the wireless networks over which the protestors sling their propaganda.

YFNA, for what it’s worth, chooses to try to enhance his reputation as an equal-opportunity castigator.

The (ahem) financial oligarchy put themselves into this mess by ignoring, or letting themselves be perceived to be ignoring, their social responsibilities. The divide between “rich” and “poor”, and the growth in that divide, is real. By publicly accepting the Friedman credo that “the business of business is business”, they excuse themselves from the moral strictures that those not in the money depend upon to prevent themselves from getting steamrollered. This has happened before, and so have the consequences. Like “New Deal” programs. Or Mao Zedong (Tse-Tung).

The (ahem) noble fighters for social justice don’t even themselves know really for what they are fighting. Progressive Democrat websites admit this, and the servants of the financial oligarchy, like Dave Ramsey, have taken great joy in skewering the OWS movement over this. “Mad as hell” isn’t going to do people much good, long term – whether the movement fails, or it succeeds. Indeed, it’s likely that the movement’s success turns out to be the worst calamity that its proponents could experience.

YFNA thinks that all sides in the current financial debate need, urgently, to review the history of the French Revolution. In which the OVS (Occupy VerSailles) movement toppled, not to mention beheaded, the country’s financial oligarchy, which greatly benefitted … Napoleon Bonaparte. And cast the country into 50 years of financial, political, and social turmoil, not to mention drafting a blueprint of aggressive imperialistic war that was copied, nearly to the planet’s destruction, in Germany a century or so later.

Be careful what you wish for, OWS folks. You might get it.

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