Monday, February 28, 2011

Top 10 Acquired Tastes

I remember growing up being told by my parents 'I knew you wouldn't like that, it's an ACQUIRED taste'.  My parents rarely if ever explained the meanings of phrases like this to me, and if they did, often they were wrong.  I grew up under the mistaken notion that if you thought something was bad, you could acquire a taste for it through sophistication and education.  This is far from the truth.  The only thing you need to acquire a taste for anything is prolonged exposure.  There are of course certain exceptions for everyone.  I for instance would never be able to acquire a taste for parsnips.  Exposure will not help this because after eating a bad one or too many (I really don't remember)  I threw up.  Ever since, my brain has equated parsnips with various poisons that I should steer clear of.  Anyway,  Listed below are acquired tastes that I may or may not have acquired myself.

10.  Coffee - Who invented this horrible tasting excuse for automotive oil?  You have to drink it hot because if it's cool it tastes even worse.  People acquire this taste over time due to the other benefits of coffee namely the incredible amount of caffeine it contains.  I've tried coffee a couple of times.  I just couldn't keep the exposure going to get a taste for it.  I really love the smell of coffee, but the flavor seems to be completely unrelated unless you douse it with lots of cream and sugar.

9. Beer - Another beverage that seems to have wide appeal but no flavor worth mentioning.  They try really hard to make sure that it looks appetizing on TV by surrounding it with scantily clad women.  What does that have to do with the flavor of anything?  It's a well known fact that a grown man will drink paint thinner in the presence of a scantily clad woman and believe it to be a fine tasting nectar.  The other side of beer is the alcohol in it.  If it weren't for the mind numbing effects of beer, nobody would drink it at all.  I have never tried an alcoholic model of beer, but have tried several of the non-alcoholic versions.  Each one tasting like coffee grounds in seltzer water.

8. Venison - 'You just haven't had it cooked right' is the phrase most closely associated with this A.T.  Unless your deer were kept in a pen and fed corn throughout their sad little lives, Deer tastes horrible.  I know there are those out there that will disagree and love the flavor of this and many other semi-wild game that can be shot in proper season.  I say yuck.

7. Swearing - When you are a kid and you hear your first swear word (usually said by your parents).  You save it for a rainy day.  You want to be like mom and dad so when you are really mad at something you can let loose.  Mom tells you that this is not the way we talk and she shouldn't do it either.  Now we've added an air of mystery.  These must be MAGIC words.  You don't want to say them, but then you hear some of the more rowdy kids at school using that self same language.  You give it a try.  Wow, something really felt weird when you finally gave it a try.  The next time it became a little easier and you got the timing a little better.  Fast forward to your car on the way to work for the umpteenth time and some @#^*( Idiot clearly didn't go to a @#(*$ Driving school because otherwise they would have grown a @(%**!! Brain!!!

6.  Tea - Not as difficult a taste to acquire as Coffee, but it has a flavor that starts out mildly objectionable but then ebbs into a delightful repast.  I am a tea drinker.  It's my drink of choice.  It's high on acid so I have to watch out for my pet ulcer, but before tea I was drinking about 4 cans of Dr. Pepper a day and I hear tell that isn't so great for the tummy either.

5. Smoking - The easiest of tastes to acquire, smoking is always abhorrent at first.  The fine people at Phillip Morris have been legally allowed to put in all kinds of chemicals that make sure that you continue to acquire the taste for their product.  Sure it will kill you, but nobody lives forever right?  mmmmm...smoke.  Now they have these E-cigarettes that should be all the rage.  Get your nicotine fix and get away from the stink and taxes involved with smoking.  Of course if you get away from the smoking, how will we ever pay for health care?!?  Be on the lookout for E-Cig Taxes.  Stock up now.

4. Music - I say music because it really depends on your flavor of tune.  Growing up, I was a rock'n'roller.  Loved the current hits loved the classics.  When I heard country for the first time I thought someone had taken musical instruments and fashioned them into some form of aural torture.  Yet I didn't mind folk music.  Later in life I decided to test my theory of exposure in the musical field.  I decided to start listening to a rap station just so I could gain an appreciation of the genre.  3 weeks later, I was into all the artists and knew most of the songs and had my favorites.  It's an interesting experiment.  The most difficult music to gain an appreciation for is probably fusion jazz.  It's cacophonous ramblings are pretty hard for the uninitiated to take.

3. Capers - Once again, in my childhood, I found capers to be salty little bits of disgust that I would no sooner put in my mouth than a piece of chalk.  I revisited capers in a restaurant salad and found them to be delightful.  It really adds something to the ensemble.  This only required time and not exposure which I find odd.  Perhaps it is the exposure to salt that gave me a flavor for the little green bits of fun.

2. Reading - Remember back when English was a strange language that you were learning.  You probably can't remember that far.  It was harrowing.  You would try to say words and your parents would be constantly correcting you.  Once you had a basic grasp of the spoken language, they thrust you into this building full of other young acolytes seeking to learn how to be adults.  Reading became a part of your routine, but it didn't come easily.  Now you had to take your freshly learned language skills and apply them to the written word.  There were a LOT of words you didn't know.  You were encouraged to look them up.  If you kept with it, you would start to really enjoy reading.  Until you got to college where you would learn to hate reading again because any time you would read for enjoyment, you would feel guilty about not reading your particularly boring homework assignment that was not written for the love of writing, but rather for the old adage 'publish or perish'.

1. Oysters - I tried these from dad's plate growing up.  YUCK.  Slimy and fishy these things were anything but good.  Now I buy them in bulk.  I find them to be a very satisfying snack, but early on?  yuck.  It's much better in this case to not think about what you are eating.  Much Much better.

Surely not all of them.  I forgot to mention this blog that would most appropriately be labeled an Acquired Taste.

Tell your friends!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10 little pieces of evidence that the Government is about to tell us about Aliens

This sounds far fetched I know, but I'm bored and thoughts of extra terrestrial life amuses me.  Here is my hypothesis:

If we look at a technological time line of our advancements as the human race, there are a few things that really don't fit very well.  It seems that we went for thousands of years with precious little advances in the sciences beyond say the wheel and then written language and then BANG!  Within about 120 years or so we have surpassed our forefathers to the point that if we told them about our current lives, they would ask when heaven dropped on the earth (or at least the civilized earth, I realize there are a lot of sections of the earth that are still outdated and living near dark age lives).  How did we come across this broad spectrum of technology?  Human spirit?  Taxes?  Governments?  Or is it aliens?  If it was aliens and they were getting ready to kill us, we would have known about them by now.  If it's friendly aliens here to help us, then I think the Government waits until the people won't cause a fuss with the knowledge.  I think that's the answer and here are my reasons why.

10.  UFO Stories and their denial - Crazy people say lots of crazy things.  It's what sets them apart from the rest of the semi-sane world.  Normally when you hear a crazy person say something crazy, you just ignore it, or at best you put on your best 'dumb animal' look and nod and say 'yes of course!, what an interesting story.   I hope it all works out'  At which point the crazy person will either move on to another crazy subject, or attack you.  UFO stories for a long time were denied.  When the Government denies things it seems like most of the time they are just covering up.  Now the Government is much more cagey and just doesn't acknowledge anything.

9.  There's a pill for EVERYTHING! - Chemistry and Physics are two interesting disciplines.  One deals with the molecular structure of things and the other deals with objects interactions with each other.  Yes this is simplified and yes it's not complete, but pull it down to it's elements and that's what they are.  So we used to go around tasting roots for medicinal purposes and grinding up tree bark and putting it on wounds.  Doctors were no more than local con-men that promised some kind of cure in exchange for a horse or perhaps a summers worth of eggs if they managed to be there when a life was saved.  Now, we have real drugs that do nearly everything.  The only reason we don't have a lot more drugs around is because companies are too busy trying to find out ways to lengthen the treatment so their profit margins can billow.  But where did all of this information come from?  Tree bark?  Dowsing rods?  hmmmm...I'll bet that someone that has the technology to travel across space would have a pretty good grasp of chemistry as well as physics....hmmmm.

8.  We didn't make all these TV programs for nothing! - People wonder why aliens would be interested in us at all.  The truth is, we have good TV.  At least we do in America and to some extent other countries around the world.  We have been beaming the transmission of these programs into space for DECADES.  Aliens are coming because they saw Battlestar Galactica and thought we are probably ready and they wanted to help us with those pesky Cylons.  They really weren't sure what to think about Space Balls.

 7.  When you see a science fiction show with an alien in it, how favorable is your reponse? - At first all shows depicting aliens were the same.  Aliens were here to take over, probably kill most of us in the process.  Then we started getting shows about friendly aliens.  Heck, even the Aliens that were controlling Robo-Bigfoot in the Shark-Jumping episodes of The 6-million Dollar Man were just mis-understood.  Now, aliens are just like us.  They have many human qualities and there are good ones and bad ones, just like us.  It's pretty consistent with our species.  You might say 'yes, but Mark, there are still shows about aliens taking over and rubbing us humans out'  Sure there are.  This is used to gauge our response to the original "bad, they are ll the same" alien over time. Through constant exposure, we can become used to just about anything that we originally thought was horrible. 

6.  These cellphones are just like Star Trek...wait a minute! -  You have got to be joking.  The moment Cell-phones started looking like Star Trek Communicators (except MUCH smaller and more effective) I thought we were going to be introduced to our Alien benefactors.  It just seemed like it was too obvious.

5.  So we can see a license plate on a car from space?  Interesting... - So our Satellites can read a license plate on a car from outer space and yet the DMV still has trouble capturing you looking like anything but how you look early in the morning.  Where is the disconnect here?  Aliens gave up the notion of displaced identification a long time ago.  Pictures are used only to capture past events, not as a means of evidence.  Their technology on that path on the other hand is pretty useful on our satellites.  They're waiting for us to figure out that just because you can track a population, doesn't mean you can control it.

4.  The United Nations is anything but. - Ever notice how the United Nations really doesn't have much to do with anything practical?  They have lots of committees and throw around condemnations like they are going out of style, but this body has precious few teeth.  Why hang around as one body and try to homogenize the earth?  Because if we can get everyone to settle down, then we can introduce the aliens, but they don't want to talk to a bunch of little countries, they would much rather talk to a leader.  So the conspiracy theorists that go on about a 'New World Order' are pretty much right.

3. How can computing power double every year?  How is that even possible? -  Moores law states that computing power will double every year.  What kind of moron would make a 'law' like that?!  That's hardly sustainable, UNLESS you knew the distance between the first computer technology and the eventual resulting technology.  If you are controlling how quickly information and technology is being doled out, it's EASY to determine how fast the technology will grow.  Where will it end?  when specific computing power will not be measurable because everyone will be connected and share overall computing power and then we won't care about Moores law.

2.  Festivus is actually an alien holiday and they are just using Seinfeld reruns to throw up a trail balloon. - Festivus isn't the only one, there are LOADS of made up holidays that don't make a lot of sense.  I won't tire you with them all, but the fact is, when Aliens live among us, their holidays will be based on their calendar so who knows, maybe they will celebrate birthdays 3 times a year, or maybe once every 20 years.  Hard to say.  How do you test that out?  You introduce some goofy holidays and see if it sticks.  Festivus was made up and unashamedly so.  Still there are followers of the Festivus 'faith'.  We as a people appear to be pretty open to new holidays.  But it's just another weight on the alien side of the scales.

1.  No space travel outside our inner orbit since the moon landing.  hmmmmm - We go to the moon, we plant a stiff looking flag, we come back and bang.  It's like the hot looking girl in high school with no personality.  Once you've gone out with her, you figure there's really nothing there, so you don't go back.  Seriously?!  Either we never made it there in the first place (Capricorn One anyone?)  Or we did and were WARNED not to disturb the blind.  The aliens are using the moon as an observation point.  That's why we and everyone else are discouraged from going there at all.

As you can see, the evidence is pretty convincing.  We've got aliens, and they are probably friendly, which is good news.  The bad news is, they would like to borrow a cup of sugar in the form of our rich mineral resources and naturally occurring chemical compounds, and come over for a barbecue.  They haven't been living among us, but maybe they would like to.  Just to see if we'd invite them over for a game of Canasta (which as chance would have it is played in exactly the same way on their planet and was the first piece of common ground in our negotiations with them).  Soon the Government will announce them to us, and then this blog will seem downright prophetic.