Tag Archives: amoeba

Off the Top of My Head

humanityI’m introducing a new feature here in the salt mines fueled by my insatiable desire to innovate. Off the top of my head I’ve decided to call it Off the Top of My Head. It’s part hair-raising excitement, part brainy thought-provoking ideas, a healthy dose of attitude, a smattering of snark, and, of course, snow drifts of dandruff.

Here’s just a little slice of the all-American pie known as Shit I’m Pondering Lately. This is stuff right Off the Top of My Head. (This post contains very little actual research.)

  • A doctor was diagnosing people with cancer when they did not have cancer. He even gave them chemo.
  • A doctor has been diagnosing women with MS when they did not have MS and putting them on a potentially dangerous battery of expensive medications.
  • Stories about sexual misconduct by doctors when patients are under have been in the news of late.
  • A priest installed a hidden camera that looks like a power outlet in the women’s restroom in his church. Before he could be brought to justice he bravely fled the country. Amen.
  • I’ve always known about the existence of hypocrites yet somehow I can still feign surprise when they are dragged out and exposed to the light of day. The case of John Duggar, a hyper-energetic evangelical Christian (see Quiverfull) is interesting. On one hand he’s an upstanding member of the community and fights for causes he believes in, like the sanctity of marriage (aka “seedbed of virtue”) while serving on an organization known as the Family Research Council. On the other hand he’s paying $250 for an account on AshleyMadison.com, a web site that helps married people have affairs. Absolutely breathtaking.
  • Then there’s the case of Jared Fogle, Subway pitchman and part-time child pornographer. Let’s see. What’s the tally now? Bill Cosby? Horny. Brett Favre? Horny. Anthony Weiner? Horny. Tiger Woods? Horny. John Edwards? Horny. Sandwich guy? Really, really horny. Need I continue? I think I see a trend.

My point? None, really. Except, perhaps, that people like these actually exist. They are out there. They walk among us. They are, like Mr. Rogers likes to say, some of the people in our neighborhoods.

Who has a stronger moral code than humans? Try the humble amoeba. For starters.

Bonus read: Quiverfull of Shit: a Guide to the Duggars’ Scary Brand of Christianity (Gawker.com)

Enter The Plankton


If I’m lucky!

Spoiler alert: I’m not exactly the world’s greatest conversationalist.

For the curious, the opening line above is an example of my patented Start-By-Telling-Them-How-You-Suck approach to writing. You can buy a pamphlet describing the technique – and much, much more – for only three easy payments of $19.99. -Ed.

As the holidays cascade down upon us like a perfect storm, I’m already anticipating how I’ll surf that wave and/or navigate the complex maze-like quagmire of quicksand in quixotic fashion.

The holidays means lots of group settings of social interactions. Historically I do not fare well in these and opt instead to spend my time studying in minute detail the nearest potted plant. I’m bringing my magnifying glass just in case.

Since I remain ever hopeful, however, I’ve been role-playing various stratagems in my mind that might increase my odds of getting the occasional word in edgewise. Or I could give up in advance and just play the lotto.

A normal conversation consists of the following:

Person A: Me.

Person B: No, me!

Person C: Bloody hell to both of you. Me, me, me!

Person D: Did I ever tell you about me?

Person E: Did you say something?

Person F: … Apple’s tri-tone sound …

Person A: Ahem. You weren’t listening. I say again …

Every once in a while as the conversation morphs dynamically through these shifting realities, I may actually have something interesting to add. I hate it when that happens.

Person A: Yeah, there are a lot of elephants in Thailand

…. 20 minutes and 420 topics later I finally awkwardly interrupt and take my dream shot …

Me: An elephant sat on my head once.

Everyone: What the fuck are you talking about?!

Yeah. About that potted plant.I’ve heard that one thing that helps make you seem interesting is to ask questions about the other person. Especially if you can appear thoughtful and fake sincerity in the process. If successful, your only job is to tlean back, stay silent, let their mouth do all of the work, and celebrate a job well done.

I’m looking forward to trying this out. To that end I have prepared some questions in advance.

My only worry is that the conversation will run through a googolplex of permutations before I get my first chance to speak. That would be bad and could go down like this:

Person A: So, can you tell us what’s new with your son?

Me: Eeeeiiiiii!

swift kick to the nards …

Me: I was gonna ask that question!!

Person B: Someone dial up the whambulance!

Lastly, sometimes the floor is occasionally dished my way. If and when that happens I should be ready. Usually this is a provactive attempt to surprise me so much as to induce heart attack. Assuming I survive long enough, I usually succumb to the intense pressure. The stress of filling that space is simply too high. I usually stammer out something like, “Goo goo gah gah.” Then everyone shrugs, wonders why the hell they bothered to give me a chance, and resumes talking about the fractal shapes of their bunions.

Also, something about the spirit of the season and it’s better give than receive but I can’t remember any of that crap right now. I’ve been much too busy with the pre-conversation planning.

I just hope I’m not over-thinking it. Perhaps I should limit my dreams to the Ribbon of Participation.

Amoeba Later #comic


The Winning Sinning

Unlikely amoebas.

What is winning? What is risk? What is glory?

To win without risk is to triumph without glory.
— Pierre Corneille (1606 – 1684), ‘The Cid,’ 1636

Tough questions when it’s early on a Monday morning. Too tough. But I can tell you this much with 100 percent certainty: The continued existence of Charlie Sheen has absolutely ruined the internet for the term “winning.”

Out of the first 31 results in a Google Image Search for “winning” a whopping 28 of them had something to do with ye olde whack nut. On the highway of life Charlie Sheen is a single-vehicle accident.

I guess we could say he’s a winner when it comes to publicity.
Continue reading →

The Dos Amoebas

Another image of such high-quality that it is impossible to believe I made it myself.

When I wrote the above joke last night, I decided it was time to do an amoeba post. I asked myself, “I wonder if I’ve ever writtene about amoebas before?” So I searched my blog. Yep. Damn, I like the way I used to think. It was in a post entitled Impulsively acting on my values. So this may be a bit of a rehash.

What, if anything, separates humans from our friend the humble amoeba?

I like to think it’s the fact that reason, intelligence and self-awareness gives us the opportunity to do something other than that which is biologically instinctual.

Do I push the old lady down in my quest to buy the last Furby?

Do I buy a fake diploma and put it on my resume to get a job?

Do I lie and cheat on my taxes?

Do I dump used motor oil into the soil out back behind my garage?

Do I park in the fire lane because I want a shorter walk to the ATM?

While stopped at a red light do I pull out my ashtray and dump it on the ground?

I submit that people who answer “yes” to questions like the above have the mental equivelance of the amoeba. On this, I reserve the right to be judge, jury and executioner. The verdict? Guilty. The sentence: Denial of mitosis!

Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should.

Some people get that. Sadly, most of us don’t.

Impulsively acting on my values

These two amoebas walk into a bar …

OK, maybe you’ve heard that one already. I won’t bore everyone with the rest of the joke or the punchline.

Note: This post will not be biologically accurate. Bio-geeks, please feel free to correct me all you want, but that’s not the point. 🙂

What is it about the friendly amoeba I find so interesting? In short, it is a totally self-centered organism. You put two amoebas in competition for a single source of food (or whatever they eat) and it is game on! The fastest amoeba gets the worm. They don’t stand on ceremony, worry about what some other amoeba will think or feel about their greediness, nor will they feel bad or offer any apologies. May the best amoeba win!

The amoeba that gets the food grows stronger. The amoeba that doesn’t grows weaker. I love the smell of competition in the morning! And that’s the way things are truly meant to be.

And guess what? As humans in corporeal form, we are most comprised of organic thingies similar in nature. Maybe not amoebas themselves, but things fairly similar, I imagine, like cells. I can’t imagine two cells standing around discussing mitosis and applying their values to determine who gets what.

Of course, some humans act exactly like amoebas. They act on any impulse they feel no matter what. We pretty much call these folks “sociopaths.” Most of us, however, are a bit more civilized than that. Barely.

Would a civilization of humans acting exactly like amoebas be a good idea? I think not. I think what most of us call “humanity” could be construed as intelligence allowing for some restrictions on the range of all possible behaviors. You might consider these “restrictions” to be things like laws, morals, values, ethics, mores, manners, politeness, courtesy, or what have you.

I personally feel that a society based on every individual acting only on self-interest is a very, very bad thing. Not a place where I’d want to live. There has to be something more than that. The question is: Just how far can you take that? Where do you draw the line? To me, the answer is one hell of a lot farther than we Americans take it right now. The real question is: Can we figure out a way to get there? Or will we end up collectively cutting our own throats?

OK, I lied. I’m going to go ahead and give up the punchline. Enjoy!

I said, “your plasm,” not “orgasm!”