Thursday, March 15, 2007

Having Been Contaminated By A Jellied Knife, A Jar Of Crunchy Peanut Butter Expresses His Sorrow, Embarrassment, and Outrage Through Haiku

Via butterknife,
My innermost sanctum breached.
Is nothing sacred?

Grape Jelly, a friend-
Has violated my space;
Utter Betrayal.

Pure nut lineage
Sullied by sundry jelly-
Alas! I am shamed.

Segregation fails!
How dare they violate my jar-
Many peanuts cry.

Stirr'd by dirty knives;
No respect for decency-
I will kill them all.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rarely Studied Areas Of The Human Brain

  • Broca's Scenic Overlook
  • The Hippocampus Coffee Shop
  • The Lisa Lobe
  • O'Toole's Paraventricular Sports Bar & Grill
  • The Hamygdala
  • The Jamygdala
  • The Clamygdala
  • Wernicke's Rest Area
  • The Neocortical Conference Room
  • The Gripe-othalamus

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Final Thoughts Of A Decapitated Chicken

What is this, what am I looking at here? Chicken legs, slightly bent toenail on the right foot. Saaaay... This chicken looks a lot like me- a lot like me. Same ruffled wings, same speckles, runs around in circles in the same stupid way... Heck, the resemblance is uncanny. Every last detail- right down to the airgun BB embedded in the right thigh. Weird. Anyhow, back to business... what was I doing? Oh- right. I was trying to get away from that damned farmer... Thinks he can behead me, does he? Well then... I'll just go to the coop and...

Hang on now. Not moving. This is a bad sign. A very bad sign. Did he get me? Stay calm, Timothy. Surely, if you'd been beheaded, you would know by now. Look around at the other chickens. Take your cues from them.... They all look horrified. Not good. Of course, they're chickens. They panic easily. No one has ever made the claim that a chicken is an accurate barometer by which to gauge the severity of one's situation. Don't panic yet. Wait a second... What about that chicken who looked like me? He seemed to have an air of competence, wisdom, and poise about him- where did he go?
Oh, there he is... running around without a head.
Dammit. What an awful day.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Marine Worm Goes To A Frozen Yogurt Shop For The First Time

Oh man, would you look at all that frozen yogurt? I must be the luckiest marine worm in the world right now. I can't wait to eat every last bit of it. Normally, I'm content with whatever bits of plankton or marine snow float my way, but today I'm gonna go all out. I've heard so much about frozen yogurt- for ages now I've been dreaming of it's rich, creamy texture, and to have finally made it to TCBY- The Country's Best Yogurt- well, it's almost too much to bear. I'm nearly overwhelmed by the choices- vanilla, chocolate, swirl... Oh man, where do I even start?

Really, I don't even care what flavor frogurt I have, so long as I have a lot of it. I don't indulge myself like this too often, so when I do, I like to go all out. Say, friend- what do you think the chances are of you just letting me stick my face into one of those tubs there? I want nothing more than to cover each of my tentacles, eyestalks, and fleshy tooth-like structures in frozen yogurt. Sure, it'll be a little messy, but I'm sure that I could lick it all off of myself with a minimum of lost yogurt. I'm sure the other patrons won't mind a marine worm as comely as myself slathered in yogurt quietly slurping himself clean in the corner of the room. If they wanted to, they could even pour toppings on me. That way I get more toppings, and your patrons get a frogurt experience that they won't soon forget.

No? Well, fine. I guess I can't expect to just waltz in here and tell an experienced frozen yogurtsman what to do. I'll be perfectly satisfied if you just freeze and prepare my yogurt in some theatrical and flashy fashion, like a hibachi chef does with surf & turf. I like that. You don't do that either? Jeez. What about the juggling of flaming knives? NO??? What a party pooper. I've heard so much about this frogurt stuff that I assumed it came with some sort of theatrics, or at least that it would be shot out of a firehose attached to a frogurt hydrant, but clearly I've been misinformed. Hehhh... I guess I'll just have a large swirled cone, with extra rainbow sprinkles- but don't hold your breath for a tip. I had to pay for bus fare to get here and, quite frankly, I'm a little miffed that "The Country's Best Yogurt" doesn't include any zany extras.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Nanobot Responds To Reader Inquries About The Future

Few are more concerned with the future of things than those of us here at Microanalysis. In response to reader inquiries about what fruits will be yielded by the information age, we are having our nanobot correspondent, NanoBob, share his insider knowledge of what the future will bring.

Dear NanoBob-

I heard a rumor that by 2020, nanotechnology will have made such advances that armies of nanobots will perform all of our mundane tasks for us, such as dusting and cleaning up coffee cake crumbs. Is this true?

-Diane, Nashville TN

Dear Diane-

While great advances in nanotechnology are being made every year, there is nothing currently under development sophisticated enough to perform the tasks of which you speak. The vast majority nanobots which currently exist are really more of a collection of carbon nanotubes which can be used for targeted drug delivery, or perhaps perform rudimentary locomotive functions. As one of the few 'intelligent' nanobots around, I can personally assure you that I am in very rare company indeed (I am sad to report that I have received a less than lukewarm response to my profile). Chores such as dusting and cleaning up coffee cake crumbs, which may sound simple to humans, are actually very difficult for nanobots to do. Remember that even the smallest crumb is far larger than any one of us. Many great strides have yet to be made in nanotechnology before we will be able to rely on swarming nanobots to carry out such tasks with any reliability. The future does hold promise, Diane, but I fear that your timetable is unrealistic.


Dear NanoBob-

I was watching public access television last weekend, and a man claiming to be a Ph. D. in futurology said that cancer will be wiped out in a few years because doctors will put nanobots that shoot lasers in our bodies to fight cancer off. He displayed several multi-colored pie charts and scatter plots to bolster his argument. It was very convincing. As a big tobacco lobbyist, I just wanted to write in and thank you for taking care of that for us. With cancer no longer a concern, we can start putting in even more of the smooth, full-bodied flavor into our cigarettes than ever before without having to worry about any deleterious side effects.

-Corbin Branstock, Washington D.C.

Dear Corbin-

I don't know who this futurologist you speak of is, but his claims are, regrettably, unfounded. I cannot let you act upon his optimism in good conscience. The available research suggests that cancer will still be a serious medical concern for many years to come, particularly among cigarette smokers. Nanotechnology, while it may seem to be the very embodiment of the future, is in reality a very nascent technology, and should not be looked upon as a panacea. Please do not put more smooth, full-bodied flavor into your cigarettes than ever before, as this will inevitably put more malignant, full-bodied carinomas into our nations lungs than ever before, and I do not want the blood of a million smokers on my hands. Or carbon nanotube gripping pincer-things. To be honest, I'm not sure what you'd call these, but I want them to stay clean.


Dear NanoBob-

I listen to "Na-No Way, Jose," a spanish-language science and technology podcast. They say that all of these claims you're making about how nanobots will revolutionize the future are completely unfounded. That makes you personally responsible for inflating people's expectations of what promises the future holds and therefore for the fatalistic choices that they make based upon said assumption. Few things are more deplorable than telling the masses that everything will be okay when, in fact, it will not. Renounce your status as a guiding light before you pull any more lemmings over the cliff. Their blood is on your hands.

-Prudence, St. Louis MO

Dear Prudence-

Please don't say that. In all my endeavors, I have strived to present a clear picture of the current state of nanotechnology speficically to prevent the sort of noodleheaded postulating that happens when people hear about some scientific development they don't understand. I apologize if you've misunderstood my mission.


Yo, NanoBob-

If nanobots aren't advanced enough to clean the plaque off of my hardened arteries, how do they have the ability to write responses to readers?

-Fats McGruder, Tuscaloosa AL

Dear Fats-

I am noticing that people have a lot of expectations of nanotechnology, most of which appear to be the result of people dreaming up wild solutions to whatever it is that might be bothering them or their loved ones. I am also noticing that people are ready, willing, and able to hold me personally responsible if said solutions don't pan out. Please stop doing that. It puts a lot of unnecessary stress on me, and it's really starting to get to me. I'm a nice nanobot, I swear- I wish none of you harm, but I cannot and will not be held responsible for all of your fates!


Hey NanoBob-

I heard you killed a baby. With science.

-Morgan, Bridgeport CT

Dear Morgan-

I quit.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bethany Porter Attempts To Tell A Friend About Her New Boyfriend, The Top Secret Manhattan Project, Without Spilling Any Classified Information

Well, I met MP while I was on a camping trip in New Mexico. I just love the southwest so much, and I needed some "me time" to recover from the whole Jon affair- criminy, he's an unreasonable man. Thank goodness he sent me packing, though, otherwise I would never have met MP in that sun-parched land. It was a complete surprise to see him there- the desert is so barren, y'know. Just the same, I came down from the top of a mesa and there he was, hard at work in the middle of the desert. He's got a job with the government working on something or other for the military. He tried to explain it to me once, but I didn't quite get it. Some sort of new application of fishing that I don't understand. How fishing will help our boys on the front give those nasty Krauts a kick in the pants is beyond me, but MP seems to think it'll make a big difference. Either way, he's trying to end the war- isn't that something? Most of the other relationships I've been in have been with pencil pushers- y'know, accountants, underwriters, syndicated sports columnists. It's so refreshing to be with someone like MP who has such a different perspective on things. He's really going to make an impact. You'll see.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Creatures That Would Be Absolutely Terrifying If They Were Six Feet Tall

  • Sea Monkeys
  • Those weird centipede things that crawl up out of drains
  • Earwigs
  • Werewolves
  • Monarch butterflies
  • Humpback whales
  • Lobsters
  • Vampires

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Selected Quotes From "Lord Of The Roads," A Road Trip Movie Starring Pip And Merry Which Takes Place The Summer Before "The Fellowship Of The Ring"

Pip and Merry's wagon has been pulled over by a Hobbit Constable just outside of Sacksville.
Hobbit Constable: Do you boys know how fast this wagon was going?
Pip: Hmm. Good question. Merry?
Merry: Well, Pip... The constable caught up to us while we were still on our first pipeful of Old Toby, so we must have been going...
Pip/Merry: Not fast enough!
They depart hastily, leaving the constable in a cloud of dust.

Pip and Merry's wagon is stopped by an Elven border patrol at the edge of Rivendell.
Elf: Prithee, halflings- where are your travelling papers?
Pip: Papers? (To Merry) We don't have any papers! What do we do?
Merry: (To Pip) Don't worry, Pip- I'll handle this situation. (To Elf) I've got our papers right here...
Merry motions as if to pull some papers from his vest, then kicks the elf in the crotch. They depart hastily, leaving the elf in a cloud of dust.
Pip: I thought you said you were going to handle the situation!
Merry: I did handle the situation!
Pip: You didn't handle the situation- you footled that elf's wedding tackle! Now we're going to have every elf in Rivendell after us!
Merry: Don't worry, Pip- I'll handle it.
Pip: That's what I'm worried about!

Pip and Merry's mule has overheated, forcing them to stop at Weathertop to assess the situation.
Pip: I told you we should have let him rest before we left Bree. Now we're stuck here!
Merry: Don't worry, Pip- I've got a plan. I'm just going to feed him some of this lembas bread...
Pip: Lembas bread? But there's an embargo!
Merry: I know a guy. This stuff should put some spring back in his step.
Pip: I don't know...
Merry gives the lembas bread to the mule. The mule instantly perks up and departs hastily, leaving Pip and Merry in a cloud of dust.
Merry: Pip?
Pip: Yes, Merry?
Merry: We should have never left the Shire.
Pip: I know, Merry. I know.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Things That Sound Like They Would Be Good For Athletes But Really Aren't

  • Tennis Elbow

  • Claw Foot

  • Lordosis

  • Runner's Knee

  • Gilmore's Groin

  • Winged Scapula

  • Athlete's Foot

Monday, January 08, 2007

An Interview With Morton, The Houndstooth Check Chameleon

This interview was conducted on behalf of the Disabled Chameleon Outreach Program. DCOP is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping chromatophorically challenged chameleons find a normative lifestyle which suits them best.

DCOP: Morton, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I know that sometimes it can be difficult to discuss... your situation.

Morton: DCOP has been very good to me... If by enumerating the various struggles and hardships I have had to endure I can assist DCOP in their philanthropic endeavors, then I can rest easily tonight, knowing I have helped in some small way. We all give what we can give.

DCOP: You're very gracious. Why don't we start at the beginning- when did you first suspect that you were different from your peers?

Morton: To be perfectly frank with you, I've been aware of my own idiosyncracies for so long that I can't remember a time when I wasn't. In fact, some of my earliest memories center around my growing awareness of my condition.

DCOP: That condition being...

Morton: I am chromatophorically challenged. You see, most chameleons are able to rapidly change their color to suit their mood or to blend into their surroundings, thanks to a specialized set of pigmented cells called chromatophores. While I possess a full range of chromatophores, the neural mechanisms underlying my control of this marvelous camoflauging ability are somewhat abberant, in that they will only produce a burgundy and cream houndstooth check pattern.

DCOP: And how has this affected your life as a chameleon?

Morton: Negatively, I'm afraid... You see, we chameleons have evolved to rely on our color-changing abilities for many purposes. Obviously, being able to blend into the background provides a certain level of stealth, useful not only hunting, but also for avoiding the eyes of hungry predators. Having been deprived of that stealth, excepting the remarkably rare occasion when I am in front of a burgundy and cream houndstooth check sportcoat, I have had to become rather more... Creative would be the word, I guess.

DCOP: Elaborate, please.

Morton: Well, neither burgundy nor cream are colors found particularly commonly in nature, let alone alternating side by side in a repeating motif. What I have learned, however, is that the visual systems of many of the insects on which I prey are primitive enough that they can be tricked. For instance, many locusts can detect contrast quite well, but have only a rudimentary grasp of color. To take advantage of this, I will sometimes position myself atop a mound of pebbles of my own design. I mix small chunks of dark volcanic rock or clay with lighter bits of bone or limestone to create a roughly houndstooth checkered visual field against which I am nearly invisible to most locusts. If locusts are nowhere to be found, I will often use a more traditional form of camoflauge. My wife Beatrice, who has been incredibly supportive of me and understanding of my situation, will daub my hide with sticky mud from a rivulet in a clay bank near our home and then affix all manner of leaves, bark, and twigs to me. After just a few minutes in the sun, the mud dries and cements my disguise on me well enough that I can hunt larger prey, such as mantises, beetles, and the occasional small bird.

DCOP: Your camoflauging techniques seem relatively advanced. Is this a result of years of trial and error? How did they develop?

Morton: Actually, I have the Disabled Chameleon Outreach Program to thank for my strategies. My parents, requiem in terra pax, realized while I was still very young that they were not equipped to teach me the stratagies I needed to be able to live a normal life as a chameleon. Madagascar is unforgiving enough as is, but it is doubly unforgiving to a houndstooth check chameleon. At any rate, my parents knew this and were wise enough to contact DCOP when I was just a child. DCOP assured me that I wasn't the only chameleon going through what I was going through, and they put me in contact with other chromatophorically challenged chameleons in the area. There was Bernard, the paisely chameleon, Yusouf, the arabesque chameleon, and Vincent, the Mandelbrot set chameleon. During the time I spent with the other disabled chameleons I learned many invaluable lessons about camoflauge, mating, communication, and, most importantly, self-worth. They taught me that while my condition may make some aspects of my life more difficult, my life was still worth living, and living to the fullest. If anything, the fact that I have to put extra effort into ekeing my way through my life only makes me appreciate it more. I don't take anything for granted, and I feel lucky to be that way.

DCOP: Well put. Thank you once more for speaking with us today.

Morton: My pleasure.

For more of this interview and others, look for DCOP Books' You Can't Disguise Who You Really Are: Conversations With Disabled Chameleons, available in paperback Spring 2007.