Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Ratings 2: Rate Harder

Die Hard 2 References- 2
Old Spice High Endurance – 7
Jonathan Swift – 9.5
My hypocrisy – 10
Your hypocrisy – 0.5
Standard Tissues for blowing your nose - 5
Aloe-Treated Tissues for blowing your nose - 8
Vicks-Scented Tissues for blowing your nose – 8.5
Vicks-Scented Tissues for dabbing your eyes – 0
Tearing a standard tissue in half so that you can use it twice - 2.5
The three readers who realized that was a math joke, dividing the score of the standard tissue by two – 9
The one reader who figured Jonathan Swift was the mathematical equivalent of one's own hypocrisy minus someone else's hypocrisy - 9.5
Anyone who doesn't base their opinions of complicated topics on arbitrary and illogical numerical scales- 0
Kosovo – 6

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Double and Nothing

There’s an old question of whether you’d like a hundred thousand dollars a month for every month of your life, or if you’d take one dollar for the first month, and have the sum doubled every passing month. The knee-jerk answer is to take the hundred thousand. It’s a lot more than one dollar, or two dollars, or four. On the doubled-dollar option, you’d only receive $2,048 in December (if you began in January).

But a mathematician will tell you that the doubling monthly sum will quickly surpass the hundred thousand. By the end of the second year, your check will be for over eight million dollars. The figure will keep doubling, and the hundred thousand will never catch up. This is what grandfathers have grinned over for generations, while feeding the brainteaser to their know-it-all grandchildren.

But that unlimited wealth proposes an unintended problem. In under four years the recipient will be pulling down over a quadrillion dollars a month. That much money barely exists in the currency of a single nation, meaning they would have to take all the money from everyone else in the country and print more just to hand him his check. This would leave everyone else in poverty, and probably get him killed. If the treasury just printed up the extra few quadrillions for that month, it would so grossly inflate the dollar that the currency would become valueless, again driving everyone else into poverty, and quite probably get our rich man killed.

Because of this terminal flaw in the doubling sum, the meager hundred thousand dollars a month remains the correct answer. It’s good news for the economy, and for all those grandchildren that felt so stupid for not having reached multiplication tables in school.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Lying Eyes

“The best lie is not the little white lie. White stains too easily. Similarly, do not trust a big, black lie. It is too ostentatious. The only one you can trust is the truth-colored lie. Make the lie look like the truth by making it close to the truth. Ground it in the things they already know. Confess a little to save the lot. You tore up some of the backyard rather than all of it. You ate three cookies rather than seven (or “some cookies;” “some” is enormously useful to a lie). The point is to make a lie-fiction close enough to the truth-reality that people will recognize the content of the lie when they view the truth. Thus when you say you went to return DVD’s to your wife’s sister at her motel, surveillance tapes showing your arrival will only corroborate your story. Meanwhile the truth-colored lie will shelter you actually did in there.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: The Bough Breaks

[GARY and SAMID sit on opposite sides of the booth, each in banana yellow tuxedos, both reading menus; AJA the GIANT FLOATING EYEBALL levitates beside SAMID, wearing a central retinal artery knotted like a bowtie, reading the menu over his shoulder; ARYANA in platemail, sitting on the windowseat beside GARY, trying to make out the chalkboard house specials; and GRUFF STOVER, inexplicably shrunken to six inches in height, with a miniature rifle and plastic cocktail sword across his lap, sitting on ARYANA’S armored shoulder. All are silent for a minute.]
Samid: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, does it make a noise?
Aryana: Yes, because your hypothetical only exists in our minds, and in my mind it made a noise.
Aja: If not, why did the birds fly away?
Stover: It invariably causes a massive disturbance that results in the vibrations that we identify as noise. It’s a technicality to say it’s not noise.
Gary: Pretty much like calling a piano not a piano just because you don’ see it falling out a third storey window.
[All look out the window. A beat passes. They resume reading the menus.]

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Hotbed

Dillon’s mother often yelled at him to close the front door because they weren’t paying to heat the whole world. Because Dillon was dropped on his head too often as a baby, this made him wonder how hot he’d have to make in their house to heat all the other homes in the world. He didn’t think setting the thermostat at 95 and leaving the windows open would cut it. One time he went to a bonfire, and felt the heat on his face from the other side of the beach. That suggested that setting their home on fire might warm up the neighborhood, though it probably wouldn’t do much for the neighboring counties. In History class he saw videos of the atomic bomb. It had quite a blast radius, and was supposed to be incredibly hot – yet even that only lit up part of Japan. Mainland China didn’t get so much as an unseasonably warm breeze out of the deal. It would take a long chain of atomic blasts to kickstart global warming, and Dillon didn’t think he could get that out of their boiler. They had electric heat, you see. But maybe if he left the oven open while he did it…

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Banning Headscarves; Banning All Scarves

The secretary walked quickly along the line, yanking shirts, skirts and trousers off those who resisted. Most of the people stayed still, keeping their place in line. Most were already undressing themselves. It was an indignity, but they worked in a national office, and this was better than getting fired.

He ordered, “Everything off. Even the thongs.”

“Can't we just take off the headscraves?” one woman asked, though she seemed hesitant to part even with that.

“No. That's offensive, but so too could a crucifix or a scullcap,” he said, yanking a yarmulke off a Hebrew. No one moved to stop him. “All clothing can potentially offend somebody, so the government's banned every scrap of it. No slutty micros, no nun's habits.”

At the back of a line a naked man shuddered, clutching his catheter bag. The secretary glared at him.

The old man asked, “This too?”

The secretary nodded sternly. “Might offend somebody.”

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: “It was a dark and stormy night.” –Edward Bulwer-Lytton

This is actually a eulogy for a bathroom monologue. I went on quite a rant about this famous phrase, then threw it into to find out who begat the cliche. The offender was Edward Bulwer-Lytton, but it turns out I wasn’t the first to rip into his writing. It turns out I may be the last, as everyone else on earth has already made fun of him. Madeleine L'Engle, Ray Bradbury, Star Trek: The Next Generation... really, the second Star Trek series made fun of him? Now I can’t bring it to heart to slam old Edward. That’s just not right. You can only disagree with something so much before you become more annoying than the center of your ire. The guy overwrote. So did Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin. Yes, it being a dark night is redundant writing, and this phrase associated with a sort of self-indulgent drama that begs to be made fun of, but the suppression of women’s rights in the Middle East hasn’t been made fun of nearly enough. Debated? Fought? Yes, but not made fun of the may Mr. Bulwer-Lytton’s silly opening sentence was, and not nearly as often (there are even contests to parody his writing style - look it up). So now let’s venture over to some fresh territory of mockery. Let’s not execute Osama Bin Laden when we catch him; let’s give him a top-notch sex change, put him in a string bikini and parachute him into downtown Baghdad. That’ll be a bright and sunny day.
Counter est. March 2, 2008