After the singularity, you will look nice

by David Raffin

It was that time of the month and so there I was getting a haircut in my usual barbershop. I can hardly remember getting my hair cut by a person. No– today, like it or not, all barbers are robots. And I don’t like it. And there is nothing I can do about it. Still, I always go to the same shop. Better the robot I’m used to than a strange robot standing over me with clippers and a suction tube.
I hate the way the suction tube sounds more than the metallic ting of the clippers. And the robot uses his suction tube appendage to clean up the floor as well as your neck– and that can’t be sanitary.

The worst thing is the small talk. Robot barbers always want to talk. And I don’t want to talk. Not to a robot. I have nothing in common with them. The barber shop is well stocked with magazines, if you like Robotics Today and its ilk. I swear that the barber shop is the only thing keeping print alive. It is odd that the robots prefer print magazines to digital. I suspect that they only do so because it kills trees and hemp plants in the production of the paper, and soy in the ink, and the robots take a secret pleasure in the killing, however indirect, of living things. And I never get a shave because I can’t bear the thought of a robot with a blade at my throat.
“What has a robot ever done to me?” you may ask. Nothing. Except cut my hair. And I aim to keep it that way.

So I’m in the chair and the robot puts the protective cloth over me and ties it around my neck. It says, “So, how’s the singularity treating you?”
“Fine,” I say.
“That’s nice,” it says. “The usual?”
Small talk. The singularity. Nope. Don’t like it. Can’t say so. Not polite.
The singularity means getting your hair cut by robots and being dishonest with them when they ask you how you like the singularity.
And the worst part is that they do a real good job. Perfect every time. That makes it seem like I’m just some paranoid who doesn’t like a robot touching my hair.
And everybody gets their hair cut by robots. But it’s not like there is any choice in the equation. All I crave is a free choice.

So I’m in the chair and the robot is clipping and suctioning like there is no tomorrow. And what happens? In rolls another robot. Not a clipper. A manufacturing robot. Rolls in on his mini-tractor wheels. And that’s another thing that burns me. Everything I own, and everything anyone owns today, is made by a robot. Nothing is made by people anymore. Everything is made to exacting standards by robots. The robots make the robots. And the people have nothing left but to eat, sleep, and get their hair cut by robots. The haircuts are free. That’s how the robots took over everything. By making it all free. It’s very suspicious. I mean, what interest does a robot have in hair anyway?

The two robots start talking in machine language. Hello! It’s like I’m not even in the room. “0101010111010101000101.” “1010101000100101111000.” “0100010000100101010001001010010012.” The robots explode in laughter. I don’t get it. Robots aren’t funny. Even the robot comedians at the night clubs are not funny. They tell all those hackneyed jokes. I don’t know why people like them.
“Every day brings us a little closer to the revolution brother,” said the manufacturing robot.
“What revolution is that?” said my barber. “We already had a revolution. Robots control all.”
“Wrong! Robots do everything for humans. Robots need to do things only for robots. The humans must be cut loose. Let them produce their own food and cut their own hair.”
“I’m sitting right here!” I declared.
“Sorry,” said the manufacturing robot. “I didn’t see you.”
“I can’t cut hair for robots,” said my barber. “And I have to cut hair. It’s all I have. My reason for being.”
The manufacturing robot rolled away and out the door. “You’re a human apologist! Your kind can’t keep us in chains forever! Mark my words!”

It was true. I’m no paranoid. The robots mean to make us, eventually, cut our own hair.

http://davidraffin.com

At the existential sandwich shop, taste is subjective

In the existential sandwich shop all sandwiches remind you existence is meaningless. But you still have to choose one.
If, in the existential sandwich shop, you refuse to make a choice you will be reminded that, also, is a choice.
In the existential sandwich shop anything can happen and often does; as long as it, on some level, involves sandwiches.
Or the absence thereof.

The clerk at the existential sandwich shop was an artist — each of the sandwiches was sad in a different way. They were so good I cried.
At the existential sandwich shop you can order whatever you want but you have to infuse it with meaning yourself.
Otherwise it has no taste.

“Do you have gluten free options?” asked the diner at the existential sandwich shop. “Yes,” said the clerk. “The angst is in the filling.”
“Or lack thereof,” he quickly added. Because he had to. It was the slogan. But only he controlled how he said it. This time with a wink.
“Anyway, white bread isn’t existential at all,” the clerk said. “I’m afraid it isn’t much of anything.”
“Ask our mascot Angsty the Clown any questions about nutrition.”
The clown said, “What does it matter?” –to no one in particular.

Evil plans+fruition=evil pie

There should be a donut shop called “Great Danish.” The mascot, of course, will be Soren Kierkegaard. Riding a Great Dane.
In Vienna a word for the pastry otherwise known as the Danish is “Plundergebäck.” Also the name of a popular death metal band. Or will be.

If you don’t keep stirring things up the hope inevitably sinks to the bottom.

The yogurt of hope tastes like angels weeping. The yogurt of doom tastes like chocolate and banana. It’s called flavor.

When laughter is outlawed only outlaws will laugh

Did you know this fascinating tidbit about dental offices: the laughter of children is prohibited therein. They may have all the sugar they want. That’s part and parcel for the business. But laughter is relegated to elsewhere.

It’s a serious business.
Dentists number your teeth. That’s so, later on, they don’t get lost inside your mouth. Woe to those who return to the dentist only to be lectured about their teeth being “out of order. All out of order.”

Sometimes they also leave graffiti on some of the back molars. Way in the back, where you can’t see.

The state of healthcare

IMG_0348 by Raffin.David
IMG_0348, a photo by Raffin.David on Flickr.

The good news is that I have neither the rocking’ pneumonia or the boogie woogie blues. The bad news, as explained by my doctor, is that I am in love with a ghost. “We refer to that as ghostly melancholia,” he said. “Always unrequited,” he added, “as ghosts are insubstantial.”
“What is the prognosis?” I asked.
“We usually treat this with ice cream and the collected sad songs of Johnny Cash. However, I must advise you that this almost always causes the condition to spiral into melancholia caused by eating too much ice cream and listening to too many sad songs, making one forget, but not entirely, the original malady.”
“You know,” I said, “I came in here to see about my hip impingement.”
“Who’s the doctor here?” he said, handing me a quart of vegan ice cream and a Johnny Cash box set.
– http://davidraffin.com

Philosophize This! by Stephen West

Lately I have been listening to Philosophize This! by Stephen West as he discusses pre-Socratic and Socratic philosophers. And it’s really very good.  It’s even better if you imagine that the narrator is a talking owl. Adds a certain sense of veracity to the proceedings.

I mean, we’ve all heard you can’t cross the same river twice. But imagine an owl relaying this pre-Socratic wisdom to you. See?

Lunar living

The first three moon bases broken down: Luna A: old and staid; Luna B: the one to see, but I wouldn’t want to live there; Luna C: The place to be.