The Breakfast Table

Roll Over, Einstein

Dear Todd,

I love the airplane mystery idea. Almost as much as I hate that song about the girls who wear Abercrombie & Fitch. Those guys need to be a great deal cuter to get away with such horrible lyric writing.

And a last comment on Christie Brinkley. I once read a beauty book by her in which she confessed that her biggest beauty secret was water: drink it, bathe in it, use it to moisturize midday. It’s just that simple. But she apparently forgot to add, “And get some better-looking parents.”

Boy oh boy, are the papers ever full of Thanksgiving space-killer features today. They could certainly print the same ones verbatim every year, but instead they assign some poor beleaguered writer to dress them up by adding a few expressions from rap records. Of course, my favorite Thanksgiving media tradition is the one they air on all the TV newscasts the day after Thanksgiving. It is called “The Busiest Shopping Day of the Year” and is the one where they send lifestyle reporters to the local malls to coerce unsuspecting randomly selected shoppers into speaking the exact same seasonal cliches that the people came up with the last time they did the report. They could definitely run this same report verbatim year after year were it not for the slight difference in haircuts from decade to decade. Of course, now with all the sophisticated computer graphics and so forth, maybe they will finally be able to produce one that can run in perpetuity.

I am not sure why I feel so driven to read through this multi-part article the L.A. Times is running on string theory. I hope it’s not just because I think physicist Brian Greene is a babe. OK. That is the reason. But shallow motives aside, here is what I picked up today. As you may recall from my incisive analysis yesterday, the string theorists have gone ahead and thrown out that old saw, that antiquated, horse-and-buggy-era concept of space and time. But, before you start going all nostalgic on me, you will be happy to know that they have replaced it with the infinitely hipper and more contemporary 11-dimensional strings. Yes, I realize it is a little hard to warm up to at first. But I think we’re all going to get to like it better as–oops, I was going to say as time goes by but now that we’ve eliminated time–as we get to know the strings on a more personal basis. Which is all well and good. There’s only just so many times that can eat in the same restaurant, so to speak. Space and time have had more than their share of the spotlight. Move over and let a new kid have a chance. But I wonder if the scientists behind this important philosophical shift have really considered all the consequences of their actions. Because, as the article points out, if there is no clear difference between now and the instant after now, then “how can we say if the gunshot caused the death or if the death caused the gunshot?” And you thought lawyers were incomprehensible morally compromised bullshit artists in love with the sound of their own voices before. Just imagine being selected to sit on the jury that has to listen to Johnny Cochran appeal the O.J. case on the grounds of factual inconsistencies due to string theory. Oh brother.

And speaking of gunshots, let’s move right on to the rage-filled portion of today’s letter: Apparently they held “Take a Kid Pheasant Hunting Day” yesterday in Chester, N.J. The New York Times has a lovely photo of two sweet little grad-school-age boys smiling as they hold up an assortment of lifeless corpses. At last, a state government steps in to help provide a much-needed opportunity for the few kids whose parents don’t have guns hidden anywhere in their homes to make firsthand contact with the pleasures of gun violence. There really aren’t enough opportunities for kids to come in to contact with guns or to kill helpless creatures nowadays, especially during the all-important elementary school years. So it’s nice that the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife was willing to co-sponsor the event with the National Rifle Association. Their goal is “to shore up hunting’s popularity,” says William Poole, the moron in charge (who I would love to make the first target of my brand-new still-untested self-defense fighting skills–particularly one I just learned that they call the Axe, which involves bringing the heel of my foot right down between his eyes several times). Poole is also quoted as saying, “The shooting sports are like any other endeavor. Youth is our future.” Yeah. Like any other endeavor where helpless animals are placed at a disadvantage (in this case, they spin the pheasants first to make them dizzy) in order to provide adorable little children with the joy of inflicting pain and causing death. There really aren’t enough other forms of recreation and entertainment available to the kids today. Of course, I guess I’m not taking into account the fact that it does give the kids a chance to help out with the household expenses by bringing home enough of that family dinner favorite, pheasant, to keep everyone in pheasant sandwiches for days.

Now I need to go check my blood pressure. Talk to you tomorrow.