CALUMNIES 

CALUMNIES

SILLY STRING THEORY: SERIOUSLY,, FOLKS! Over the past few years, quantum physics has recognized something called “string theory,” which boils down to a sub-atomic model that unifies other theories, explains gravity, and describes tiny strands of wiggling energy at the heart of all existence. Fascinating stuff, in a Moebius-strip kind of way, but does it explain the full-on weirdness of Our World Today? I’ve been working on a variation that skips the complicated trigonometry. I call it “Silly-String theory.” With Silly-String theory, the contradictions and senselessness that pervade so-called Western “civilization” are completely bypassed -- just like Kenny Rogers’ stomach. For example, using this theory, one can finally solve that age-old riddle, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” (Answer: Doesn’t matter. The foxes are guarding the hen-house.) Or, how about this one: “Why can’t the U.S. government locate Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein? (Answer: Doesn’t matter. Now hand over that $87.5 billion. Yes, with Silly-String theory, even the California wildfires may be fully addressed. In fact, the California wildfires were what drove me to begin the complex imaginings that have resulted in this ultimate postulation, big enough to cover any event, case, conundrum, and/or ontological query: It Just Doesn’t Matter. Because when I watched California burn all last week, switching from CNN to MSNBC to Fox News and back again like a pyro with ADD, I kept waiting for somebody, anybody, to sing out, “Reinforcements have arrived!” complete with trumpets and kettledrums. It never happened. There were not enough firefighters, obviously, but nobody was shipping them in from around the country, either. Neither did there appear to be National Guardsmen on hand. A coworker’s sister out in San Diego said the Guard was gone to the War-front (see question, above, about Bin Laden and Hussein.) I kept waiting for a newscaster or talking head to hammer the point that many of the fires (suspected arson) began on the same day. Nada, zip, nothing. I yearned for an analyst to blast Schwarzenegger for bee-lining it to D.C. and asking for big bucks, not firetrucks. And then came my breakthrough: Silly-String theory was born. It happened in a cool restaurant/bar in Midtown’s Cooper-Young neighborhood. We were munching on chips and dip and I was halfway into a Tecate when I noticed that the bar’s two televisions were tuned to different stations, yet somehow seemed synchronistically connected: One TV was running a barrage of scenes from that day’s fiery disaster in southern California; the other was on some sports channel. Across the top of the sports statistics graph was the headline “ROME IS BURNING.” Juxtaposed with the scenes from the firestorm and with the sound turned off, the effect was one of delicious weirdness (or maybe the combination of salty dip and icy beer accounted for the delicious part -- that’s all included in the theory somewhere, I’m sure.) Elemental aspects of Silly-String theory range from Fire (Who started it? Doesn’t matter. Ship those new 20s over, pronto.) to Wind (Why are the politicians posing and shaking hands while California goes up in smoke? Doesn’t matter. Where are we heading for lunch?) to Water (Why are those little water-baskets so small and ineffective? Doesn’t ma--oh, shut up.) And just when you thought it was safe to unify all theories, an anomaly arises within the context of Global Warming. Oh, dear, Silly-String Theory is stretched to the breaking point when it comes to a threat of this unprecedented magnitude. Recently, Congress took up a bill, introduced by Senator John McCain, confronting the challenge of Global Warming. The bill would have recognized Global Warming’s effects (melting glaciers, temperature fluctuations, catastrophic wildfires) and sought action to slow emissions that contribute to Global Warming. Alas, Congress can only seem to agree to disagree these days: The bill was defeated, with one congressman even pronouncing Global Warming “a hoax.” Ironically, the day of the vote saw record-high temperatures in the South and early snow in the West. Congress can agree on one thing, however: They want money. For the fifth year in a row, Congress has voted “Yes” to pay raises. So as to the question: How come our elected representatives in Washington can’t recognize Global Warming and act in a cohesive way to address the threat? Answer: Doesn’t matter -- not as long as they’re getting their piece of the plunder-pie. Call this variation of quantum mechanics “String Cheese Theory.”

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