Saturday, August 31, 2013

It All Began With LOL (250=1)



It All Began With LOL.

Abraham Heckersmithley was visited by The Syllable Police.

“You haven’t been using enough,” Officerator Farthingworthershirester told him, handwriting a citationometeristic. 

Syllables had been piling up. Conversations lagging and the reliance on the visual leading to unspoken bits and pieces of words clinging to shorelines, blocking off views ofcountrysides, clogging highway exit lanes.  And worse, and worse, the noise!

ARG!

-THER

Punct

And more, all jumbling together, making it hard to hear what little was said, or harder to hear (for example) the sound of children’s laughter as they made cotton candy from scratch, spinning it the right way, out of songs + puffy white summer clouds + just a pinch of sunlight, rather than woven from hot sugar the way we do it, but, then, what do you expect from a society so unenlightened we do not even realize words have weight and substance, and, too, are part of the fundamental building blocks of reality.

Which is easier to believe: that a quark can help create both supernovae and those kiosks at the mall where they sell you tiny helicopters? Or that parts of words might one day need to be bulldozed into piles, loaded onto rockets, and launched into the sun, just to keep them from burying humanity undera  mile-thick layer of

-unds,

Squas,

And

Yols

?

Abrahamish Heckersmithleylonginess later reflecticated on how luckyish he’d been, let off with just a warning and community service, sentencinundated to one thousandousand hours of giving public lectures.
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In 250=1, I write stories that are exactly 250 words long, including the title.  Here's a list of ALL of them!


Friday, August 30, 2013

Scribble Scrabble Scramble… uh, Scrapple?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of bols board games for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Scrabble Dictionary

Quick, list all the words you can think of that start with “Thr” and have at least four letters in them.

Threat

Throng

Three

Thrive

Thrash

Through

Thrift – thanks, Macklemore!

Thr…thre…threntiamatnioal!

OK, that last one wasn’t a word.  But I’m TRYING. 

And specifically what I’m trying to do is be better at games like Scrabble, doing a little of the old mental workout, but there’s an easier way that sitting around making up words.

(threntiamatnioal: the state of being ready to discuss 18th century politics when a train interrupts your speech.)

That easier way is to use the site  BoLS Board Games. With its Scrabble Word Finder and lists upon lists of anagrams of words, synonyms of words, antonyms of words, anagrams of antonyms, PROBABLY, it’s about the most helpful site you’ll find for people who love words and the games you play with them.  Words With Friends? You’ll dominate those friends into the ground. (That’s what friendship is all about, right? I don’t have any actual friends, so help me out here.)

Board games has page after page of helpful tips for Scrabble lovers and for anyone who just likes words.  Their word of the day, their Scrabble strategy guide, Scrabble Dictionary, even the Boggle solver pages are fascinating.  (Remember Boggle? I loved it. Still do. Except I don’t have it anymore. I wonder if I can get a Boggle on eBay?)

Final recommendation: If you are a person who uses words, or who knows someone who uses words, BOOKMARK THIS SITE!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Saturday, August 24, 2013

In The Beginning, 4 (250=1)

In the beginning 4

In the beginning there was an explosion that created the universe, a blast of heat and light and power and stuff, and suddenly everything was, and we could see it all, even other things exploding, which is important because although almost nobody knows this, every explosion everywhere creates a brand-new universe.

Big explosions create big universes, little explosions create little universes.

Our own universe was created by what we think of as a universe-sized explosion, but that is actually true for every universe.

When children light off firecrackers, God-like, they create tiny little universes popping into existence as fast as you can say Happy Fourth of July! All those children with all those matches and all those little cardboard tanks filled with miniscule amounts of gunpowder are creationists beyond compare, generating fantastic tiny existences the likes of which we can only imagine.  Not to mention larger explosions.  It is sad, but true: everytime a car-bomb explodes, a new universe is born from misery.

Those universes, forgotten almost immediately if anyone even knew they exist (you know now!), spin off on their own, all their inhabitants wondering whether there is other intelligent life in the universe they inhabit, tiny as it is – they don’t know it is tiny!, to them it is universe-sized and seems infinite! -- and sometimes they wonder if there are universes outside of their own.

There are.

And also inside of their own.


It is in the nature of universes to be everywhere.

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In 250=1, I write stories that are exactly 250 words long, including the title. Why? Because I can.  Here's a complete list of all of the stories like that.

Also, I think maybe my numbering is off on these titles, but what can you do? Math is not my strong suit.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Two Problems With Google/ol, one in its capacity as a search engine and one in its capacity as a number. (Infinite Monkeys)


Two Problems With Google/ol, one in its capacity as a search engine and one in its capacity as a number.



The first problem is that, when are you going to use ‘googol’? It seems a bit of overkill to have a name for a number that has no real use in any sort of way.
“I have 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000…
What?!?
How will you ever finish that sentence in a way that doesn’t make me want to punch you in the face?
The second problem is that if you want to search for something that isn’t popular but which could be mistaken for a popular thing, you can’t use Google.
Let’s consider this hypothetical situation which isn’t hypothetical at all, because it really happened.  Suppose you (me, actually) were driving along in your (my, actually) car one night on the way home from the park with your two youngest kids and you turned off CNN because “Dr.” Drew was commenting on a legal case, which really seems outside of his wheelhouse, doesn’t it? But there he is: every time you turn on CNN and he’s on, he’s talking about the law. Did he go back to school after “Lovelines” was cancelled? Was “Lovelines” cancelled? These are questions Google can help you with.
Questions Google cannot help you with include “Finding that song you were listening to when you (me)began this story.” Suppose you (me) hear a song and your (your wife’s, it’s her car)(my wife, actually, but still her car) XM radio says the song is called “One Day” by “Milkshake,” or maybe it’s“Milkshake” by “One Day.” Either way. Hard to tell. Band names these days! I once proposed a system whereby all band names would be required to begin with “The”. “The U2.” “The Pink Floyd.” “The The Beatles.” It wasn’t really a system so much as a random thought I had, but it would have worked. Then I’d know if it was “The Milkshake” or “The One Day.” The point is, if you (no, I’m not going to do it this time) like the song and you make a note and the next day you Google “Milkshake One Day”, which is kind of a weird thing to Google, you cannot find the song because once there was a song about milkshakes bring[ing] all the boys to the yard, and also there once (still is?) a singing group called One Direction and these two things, together, are so popular that they overwhelm anyone who is trying to search for a completely different version of a Milkshake song related to the word One in some way, especially overwhelming people who don’t want to click onto the second page of the Google results or, god forbid, the last page.
Did you (or anyone) ever try to reach the last page of a Google results search? It’s like that physics problem, or maybe riddle, where a guy takes a step towards the finish line and then the next step is exactly half the distance of the first, and the third half the length of the second, and the fourth, you’ve got it now, and when does he reach his destination? Never.  Not even now.  Or now.
Another thing that is wrong with googol, as a number, is that now that Google has become so popular as a search engine, when you spell googol the number, it looks wrong.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Odds (Infinite Monkeys)



                Odds are that you have ridden the bus with someone named Hitler. 1 in 10,125,806 people in the US have the surname “Hitler.”[1] Odds are that that Hitler was a burger cook at some point in his life. 1 in 10 people began their working lives at McDonald’s.[2] Odds are that you ate a burger this week.  Americans eat 13,000,000,000 burgers per year[3] which is 412 burgers per second.[4]

                42,884.61 (rounding down) couples get married each week.[5] Couples with children have a slightly lower divorce rate than childless couples.[6] 1 in 3 of you reading this now think that I am going to make a reference to naming a baby “Hitler,”[7] but that’s not where I am going with this. Every year, 3,953,590 children are born in the US.[8] Every year, 32 men get to start at quarterback on opening day for an NFL team.[9] 2,067,727.57 of the children born each year are boys.[10] Your child has a 0.0015 (rounding down) chance of starting at QB on opening day, dads.  But if he does, that will probably happen after you are dead. A person who is zero years old has only a 0.006990 probability of dying this year, while a person who is 44 has a 0.003117 probability of not living another year.  A person who is 119 years old has a probability of 0.89347 of dying before blowing out the candles on their next birthday cake.[11]

                More than 1,000,000,000 pounds of wax are used in making candles each year[12] , which is 1 pound of wax for every 7.170955543 people alive as this is written.[13] That’s more than enough to cover the 119 candles you’d need if you got to the point where you have only an 11% chance of ever needing 120. But 1.8 of the people taking up space in this world die each second[14],  or, put another way, a person dies more or less every time you, an average American, drive 12 inches.[15]  I’m using “drive” only in the loosest sense of the word, as studies done by leading authors of this essay as they sat in traffic this morning showed that 100% of the people who decided they absolutely had to turn left right now and therefore caused leading authors of this essay to slam on their brakes and stop dead, those ‘drivers’ blocking leading authors of this essay from getting to work just so they (the ‘drivers’) could probably go to the convenience store to get a doughnut because they are fat jerks, are fat jerks who also do not know how to drive.

                Science being sometimes subjective.

                There are 4.5 letters in the average English language word.[16].  This essay has 714 words, but 4,141 characters, so the words in this essay are approximately 77% (rounding down) longer than average. The human eye only reads about 2/3 of the word before recognizing it and moving on.[17] 78% of statistics on the Internet are wrong.[18] Odds are against it that only the correct facts in this essay were read by an NFL quarterback as he ate a hamburger in the McDonald’s restaurant where he once worked. But don’t rule it out.[19]






[1] 31 people in the US have Hitler as a surname. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_people_have_the_surname_Hitler. There are 313,900,000 people in the U.S. as this is written. (Source: GOOGLE.)
[4] There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year. Not counting the leap second, which is inserted into the year periodically, the last time being June 30, 2012 at 23:59:60 UTC (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_second)
[7] I made that statistic up but it’s probably close.
[9] Come on, it’s simple math.
[13] That number goes up by more than 3 people per second. http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/. It’s about 7 people higher than when you started reading this footnote.
[15] The average American drives 13,476 miles per year, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/onh00/bar8.htm, which is 0.0004 miles per second. 0.0004 miles is 2.112 feet.
[17] This sounds about right. Remember that thing where people misspelled every word but you could read it? I’m extrapolating. Also, that joke where “fish” is spelled “ghoti.” That’s weird.
[19] Odds are also that you thought I was going to reference Hitler again in that last paragraph. But I didn’t.

_____________________________________________________________________________



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Sunday, August 11, 2013

In the Beginning, 3 (250=1)




In The Beginning, 3:

In the beginning there was God and it was dark. So God said Let there be light. Then God had to decide what kind of light ought to be, because there's lots and lots of different kinds of light, at least there were once God thought there were. In fact, there were instantly so many different kinds of light that God got confused, so now confusion existed.

That wasn't what God had wanted, but rather than fret over it he tried instead separating Heaven and Earth but had to first invent distances, so there was that. Miles?? Kilometers? For a while God thought He might go with presaerioa, which is unit of measurement so large it can only be comprehended by an omniscient deity. He scrapped that idea.

It was during that early phase that God invented both swearing, and the law of unintended consequences.

By the time He got around to making people God had pretty much had it with the whole project. It's not like He was slacking off per se but He would have had to admit, had anyone asked Him that He put a lot more effort and thought into the stuff He did earlier in the day.

I mean, God would have told any hypothetical interviewer, Have you seen the peacock? Or volcanoes? If I'm being honest God would have added I'd say I could have done a little better with people.

But nobody ever even tries to interview God, anymore.
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In 250=1, I write stories that are exactly 250 words long, including the title.  Here's a list of ALL OF THE STORIES LIKE THAT WHICH I EVER WROTE.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Four (250=1)

Four:

“In The Beginning” supposes there was a beginning, was, but supposing there was not?

Picture this: the universe has no beginning, no end, just this and this and this. A mirror shown another mirror, reflecting back and forth ad infinitum, each reflection the same but further, made up but real, not existing but yes: existing.

Mirror upon mirror slightly changing, magnifying, further removing from our comprehension, what is going on.

Not understanding, man explains: mystification at fire is reflected back in stories of godlike men living on mountains, ideas real enough to be reflected back into versions of manlike gods in a giant hall, controlling thunder remotely and dining with the deserving dead. From there the picture gets more remote: one God living in another dimension, all powerful; then, reflected back is now a universe in which that God is all powerful and can be three

When the mirror shines back, what will be seen? What lies farther away but on the same surface as God-Made-Three? A force, perhaps? Powerful: it can annihilate matter. More inscrutable than what came before: it does not think, does not have compassion, cannot be detected?

And after that? There is no end. No end means no beginning, means eyes which stare into a fire 1,000,000 years ago someday gaze into the majesty of things we cannot even begin to imagine, and those things will be a pale shadow of gods a billion years from now, and so on back and forth ad infinitum.

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In 250=1, I write stories that are exactly 250 words long, including the title.  This one got its title because it was actually the fourth story I wrote about the beginning (or lack thereof) of the universe. The others, along with links to every other 250-word story I've ever written (THERE ARE 38 OF THEM WOW!) are right here. 

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