Queen of the Universe, 10 & 11

10. Do you own or rent a property which has sidewalks that other people might have to walk or push a stroller or use a wheelchair on, ever? Has there been wintry precipitation recently? It’s your responsibility to make your walk safe. No snow. No ice. Wide enough for wheels. If you can’t do it yourself, my benign government will have a postal-code/neighborhood-searchable “Get shoveling help” app, so you can find paid or free assistance. If someone slips and falls on your property because you just didn’t bother, there will be severe consequences. (For example, making you Snow Remover For Life. for your whole block.)

11. Highway sign change: Any sign that now says “Do not pass” or “No passing zone” will become “None shall pass!!”

Queen of the Universe, continued

7. Biting insects and blood-borne pathogens, begone! But with some kind of “don’t screw up the entire food web/population balance” rider.

8. There’s got to be some kind of population reduction. I know this is going to be why the peasants rise up and burn me in my palatial roundhouse, but I think there are too many people. Finding new ways to grow more food seems like a losing proposition, eventually, what with our planet being finite and all. Best suggestion so far: Everyone is reversibly sterilized at birth, no exceptions. Then, after you turn 21, if you want kids, you apply for a breeding license. At first I don’t think there will even be any more hoops than that. You apply for one, you get one. Like a fishing license.

When I’m Queen of the Universe

I was gonna write these up in a Facebook note but then I got all paranoid about ownership and copyright issues. Weird.

Anyway: My Queen of the Universe Platform / List of Proclamations

1. Proselytization is punishable by death. Zero tolerance. You want to set up a storefront or a website or a mail-order business telling people about your god(s), have at it. But you start knocking on people’s doors or invading their countries and telling them they have the wrong gods, and you will vanish without a trace. [Clarification: I don’t mean my personal guard will come and kidnap you. I mean you’ll just spontaneously vaporize. Poof.]
2. All public trash cans that look like barrels with two legs and round heads shall be painted to look like R2D2.
3. Some kind of kilt subsidy. I used to think I would proclaim Tuesdays as Utilikilt Day, but I don’t want to make it too structured. I just want more men to wear kilts, more of the time.
4. Ban advertising. (In part just to see what happens if people only buy things they actually need, or that they happen across and find delightful. Also because I think advertising is a corrosive force, spiritually and psychologically speaking.)
5. No patents for life forms. I feel like genetically modified organisms are a giant Promethean Frankenstein nightmare waiting to happen, but I also think that viral genetic medicine is interesting and potentially beneficial, and I love the Golden Rice concept, so I don’t really know how far to take this one.
6. No Christmas music before Thanksgiving. And no “holiday medleys” of any kind. The severest penalties will be reserved for medleys of holiday music composed after 1900, played on “classical” instruments like violins and cellos and piano, and then broadcast by stations that should be playing actual classical music.


Lunch walk today was Mission: Ducklings.
Lafayette Park: Cordoned off due to a demonstration/protest of some kind. Couldn’t get close enough to see what the issue was. No ducks at all.
Constitution Gardens: Many, many ducks and ducklings (including very sweet little peeping noises from the underbrush), and two herons, possibly great blues (which eat ducklings), and several geese but no goslings.
19th & Penn: Hillary Clinton crossing the street. (No ducklings in her modest entourage.)
I Street between 19th & 18th: The Giant Inflatable Rat. (No ducklings there, either.)

Kindred spirits

Check it out: A jargon-checker called, beautifully, “Bullfighter“.

It just gives me a warm, I’m-not-alone feeling.
I haven’t tried it out yet. I’m just happy someone developed it. And it’s free.

[Postscript, Sept. 2014: It is with deep sadness that I discover the Bullfighter link is broken. It used to be supported by a big consulting firm, but then they dropped it and no-one picked it up, which is a shame. I think the plug-in stopped working circa 2011. The people who wrote the content for the plug-in also wrote this book, which is still available: Why Business People Speak Like Idiots.]

Catching up

Wow, a 6-week blogslack. I blame Facebook.

Couple of things:

Macromediocrity: This bit of sophomory goes straight to the heart of why we started this blog in the first place (remember, it was about American culture rewarding the lowest common denominator). The article I link to above is all happy about the possibilities for independent developers making a living from creating applications for the iPhone. I’m happy about that too. I’m just kind of crestfallen that, given a tool with the tremendous capacity for communication and learning that the iPhone has, people want more than anything for it to make rude noises[1].

More things in heaven and earth [2]:
– Frogs eat bugs. It’s the way of the world. But did you know that there are wasps that eat tadpoles?! (Dragonflies eat tadpoles, too. But somehow I found that less surprising.)
World’s smallest chameleon! (For some reason this one is in Tokyo, even though they come from Madagascar.)
Check out the snoutiness! It’s a shrew the size of a rabbit which got discovered last year.

[1] Thanks to Will for the link.
[2] I’ve been watching Life in Cold Blood.