Just remember that you're standing on a planet ...

Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - 7:23am

“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” 

Douglas Adams

And once you have that problem, everything else is a piece of cake, because the only thing to do about the problem of space being so vast and inexplicable is not to think about it too much or for too long. And Douglas Adams would probably have agreed with me about that, if he hadn’t perished so sadly while exercising to prolong his life. And Arthur Dent would have also agreed with me if he hadn’t sensibly been seeking a proper cup of tea.

There is a Total Perspective Vortex device in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, that melts peoples brains by letting them understand everything. Invented by a scientist whose wife kept telling him to “have a sense of proportion.” He built it just to show her.

I feel that way sometimes - that the weight of it all might vaporize my brain. And then I go and seek a proper cup of tea. Ahhh.

And then all hell breaks out again.

Monty python - The Universe song which also goes under the name of The Galaxy song

So here we be, stuck in a total perspective vortex, needing daily to have a sense of proportion, or at least a nice cup of tea.

About the Author


Jul 30, 2013 - 7:29am


ribbit! ribbit! kneedeep!

Jul 30, 2013 - 7:47am

Did you know that bull-frogs (not tree frogs, of whom

it must be sadly confessed I know little, short of they can be amazingly colourful, and they just might poison you)

will not move more than 12 inches unless provoked? A fellow, apparently, wrote a one sentence PhD with that as a conclusion. He had piles of research and had build grids of string over ponds etc. But what he found out was that they just sat there, waiting for prey. Day in and day out. I suspect he was the one doing the provoking by the end of the experiment.

Jul 30, 2013 - 7:48am

the right proportion for me is

12 oz beer and 4.5 oz brandy.

Jul 30, 2013 - 8:00am

I have had to curtail my 'proportions'

But two limes and an ounce of nice tequila, morphed into a true perfect margarita. Yum. Or, as I truly prefer, something else green, ground carefully, and prepared accordingly. 

edit to add: that's a lot of brandy. I hope hours are involved.

Jul 30, 2013 - 8:16am


Reminded me of this old favorite

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life Sing-Along - Monty Python

Then this came into my inbox. Sometimes the day starts sweetly

Poetry 101 What seemed a very demanding semester has ended. Like a river’s currents pulling on me from just outside the reach of my mother’s life-ending confinement, my summer classes commanded my attention. Carefully, I attempted to guide my students through perilous straits of that realm of the written word; I focused on their poetry. Their final exam served as a measure of whether they’d made a successful crossing. Honestly, due to existential distractions, I wasn’t sure I’d held their attention sufficiently to effect important changes. Haltingly, I digested their feedback to consider what they’d absorbed. Here are the results: My approach to poetry has changed quite a bit since this class. I used to think you had to be an intelligent dreamer to seem like you had any clue about what you were doing, but now I feel like anyone with a pen and pencil can create wonders…   And another who has emerged from a decade long writer’s block: I feel like I am editing as I am writing more. If something I write has no feeling (too prosey), I now completely cut it.   From an older adult: …I have learned about various styles I identify with. My writing, since taking this class, has greatly improved. I am much more vocal about expressing my artistic side… Here’s a stanza from this student’s work: Feeling the summer’s Cajun heat. Easy life on Bourbon Street. Louis Armstrong blowing deep intensive breaths of love. Another response. For this student, my course was a follow-up to one taken at a college or university in northern Virginia: …For starters, I appreciate the use of stanzas a great deal! They really do help to break down each thought and separate it from the others. I’ve learned to look at everything as a poem, or at least a potential poem. Finally, I’ve recognized the importance of sharing poetry---exchanging thoughts and ideas and expressing the meaning behind my words---in a way I didn’t before. From my youngest student: …There is more thought put into my poems now. I pay attention to structure, grammar, and punctuation as well as metaphors now. From my married student who has two young children: …now I am able to express my words and poems with a tongue that has many voices. I am out of my comfort zone and I have come to enjoy [writing] much more than I thought…   Reading their conclusions allows me to feel that my summer’s work had been worthwhile. I believe my small class of poets helped me as much as I seemed to have helped them. Indeed, our summer together was filled with the stuff from which poetry is made.
Jul 30, 2013 - 8:19am

I Concur

Tea during the day, Yorkshire blend in a half pint white mug with milk (semi skimmed) and a pinch of sugar (half white, half demerera mixed) - leave a while to achieve the perfect 'Builders Tea'.

Beer during the evening, Bathams Best Bitter or perhaps a cheeky pint of Wye Valley HPA. I recommend three pints in quick succession plus a pack of peanuts in case the Vogon Constructor Fleet should call by.

Nothing against coffee, it is just that the taste seems a let down after the aroma!

Gold Dog
Jul 30, 2013 - 8:37am

An observation.

Life is like a Toilet Bowl

Either it is Empty

Or full of Shite

Henry Wadsworth Gold Dog

Jul 30, 2013 - 8:49am


“The number of people killed by the sanctions in Iraq is greater than the total number of people killed by all weapons of mass destruction in all of history.”
Noam Chomsky

XTY, here is some perspective from me: Whenever we have a conversation about perspective, I really miss Puck T Smith's influence on mine.

Have a great day everyone!

Jul 30, 2013 - 8:51am

coffee related

Best part is when Jerry gets pulled over at the end.

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Eric Original
Jul 30, 2013 - 8:53am

a sense of proportion

Brings to mind one of my wife's favorite jokes.

Why do women have such bad depth perception?

(holding up her fingers 3 inches apart) Because all our lives men have been telling us "That's 12 inches!"

I take straight black tea, with sugar. Wifey puts fake sugar in hers, plus whipping cream. Ok, yeah, we're doomed. cheeky
sierra skier
Jul 30, 2013 - 8:54am

Enjoy the Tea

I enjoy my tea every once in a while.

Understanding just how things work has =changed. The Vortex swirles on.

Jul 30, 2013 - 9:18am

re poetry and life and death

I have been thinking lately about the importance of the message lost in lyrics, and the use of music as a tool of mass communication (and hence control - watch out for those rock star/politician nexi) and how music has been a voice of protest and communication forever, and when is it appropriate to use music instead of just words. Poetry too has had a subversive edge. I have trouble appreciating serious poetry, must confess, and only began to like it, oddly, when forced to read Wallace Stevens in 2nd year university. Not everyone's cup of tea, but he seemed to get it, the elusive it:

Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself by Wallace Stevens At the earliest ending of winter, In March, a scrawny cry from outside Seemed like a sound in his mind. He knew that he heard it, A bird's cry at daylight or before, In the early March wind. The sun was rising at six, No longer a battered panache above snow . . . It would have been outside. It was not from the vast ventriloquism Of sleep's faded papier mâché . . . The sun was coming from outside. That scrawny cry—it was A chorister whose c preceded the choir. It was part of the colossal sun, Surrounded by its choral rings, Still far away. It was like A new knowledge of reality. . I miss Puck. I miss my dad. I felt just like him, reading in the early morning on the dock, it slowly getting warmer, everyone else sleeping. Honestly, it was like he passed right through me. And of course, he did, as my children remind me daily.
Jul 30, 2013 - 9:19am

Here's your tea Mr Baldry

Long John Baldry - Everything Stops For Tea
Jul 30, 2013 - 9:21am

And then back to reality...

Here's an example of why CNBS' ratings are a disaster. Peter talks directly to the issue ... and Larry then says he's off on a tangent. Larry goes out of his finely-primped way to make sure the "government data is unquestionable" meme is kept sacred. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixZuSdcHSZI

Jul 30, 2013 - 9:32am

re: and then all Yell...en breaks out

I hear she is a woman. Isn't that enough qualifications for you? Headlines abound with titles like "momentum builds for a female head of the Fed". Hmnnn, self-fulfilling momentum builders at work.

Honestly, she will make a lovely puppet, and she will get along fabulously with the new female head of the Russian Central Bank, where momentum, we hear, was also building for a female head. I am getting more employable by the moment...um.

Jul 30, 2013 - 9:44am

When logic and proportion...

White Rabbit (Alice in Wonderland) Jefferson Airplane

This is a great subject and one that escapes many people in daily life...the who, what, when and where of life at any given moment relative to what others may or may not be experiencing and the good (or bad) fortunes we perceive to be central parts of our life. 

I ask myself quite often when confronted with some type of obstacle, (whether they be my own or someone else's close to me), if it's as bad as it really seems or if I'm actually fortunate to have certain mole hills that at times could become mountains if I were to let them do so.

Some people need to nip it in the bud (never bad advice ;-) before they allow it to grow into something that becomes a distractive emotional crutch to hold onto. Misery loves company and at times folks grab what's convenient and easy to dwell on and bitch about.

But why?

Could it be that their life is actually very comfortable and they're looking for minute inconveniences to gripe about in order to dwell on others instead of being reflective of themselves and their perception about everything else except themselves?

Maybe so.

I like to think that, just like Xty brought up in her post, that the sheer core primitive aspects of life have been lost on many people and that many of the things that seem very important and negative are things that on another contintent would be welcome problems to have to deal with. 

For example, does a malnutritioned, starving child wake up every day caring about the price of gold/silver and banker manipulation we speak of at times or bitch about how a steak dinner they ordered was really late, cold and they made it wrong? U'mmm...nope. 

But some people do so with a daily gusto while looking for imperfections to bitch about in their life that is out of their control or that which annoys them so easily at times.

At times, as I observe how people (including myself after the fact) go about their business and how they deal with situations and I find it interesting how often people make a situation worse or needlessly complicated. Why not simplify matters instead of compounding them?

Communication...whether it be the spoken word or body langauge...is something we have control over and it's a vitally important skill set in daily life. Our internal daily thoughts and perceptions (expectations?) are like an obstacle course we can either choose to set up in front of us or instead be determined to hurdle over. We all make choices and create our own molehills to some extent.

But what about those gauntlets of inconvenience or tedium that seem to serve to annoy us in our respective lives? It all depends on how you look at a given situation and how far you allow yourself to get carried away about it when most of the time these annoyances can be eliminated by not making them into such a thing in the first place. It all starts from within.

So the next time you find yourself sitting impatiently in line in your $20,000-$50,000 vehicle(s) waiting for gas or when you can't (or shouldn't) purchase gold or silver at a certain price or when the grocery store is jammed with people (and food also) and the lines are long and your feeling annoyed and tired just try to keep in mind that....that little boy or girl who just woke up somewhere very inhospitable (it's been their daily life since birth) would love to have your problems that seem soooo inconvenient and annoying at any given moment. 

When you consider that were evolved organisms (some of us at least/lol) on a rock and water planet that gravitationally orbits a fiery mass of hydrogen that is billions of years old from a distance of 92,955,820 miles and that were traveling around it's 584,019,311 miles of orbital circumference at 66,622 mph while the earth itself is spinning at approximately 1037.5646 mph at the equator it's amazing were even able to stand upright and maintain a stable living environment...which allows some of us to bitch about little inconsequential things of our own creation mostly.

our solar system

For perspective, the Earth, along with the Solar System, is situated in the Milky Way galaxy and orbits about 28,000 light years from the center of the galaxy which is currently about 20 light years above the galactic plane in the Orion spiral arm. Keep in mind that the solar system itself is revolving around the center of the Milky Way at 568,000 m.p.h. while the Milky Way galaxy itself is traveling at approx. 300 kilometers per second through space.

The bottom line to me about many things in life is that it's easier to make lemonade with whatever lemons you feel you've created or are burdened by. 

Keep in mind that some little kid somewhere on this sometimes inhospitable planet would love to wake up somewhere and find your lemon rinds in order to just survive for one more day.

Proportionate and rational logic and a sense of basic appreciation of life itself and who we are within it (and how it could be wayyy worse) should be a core reminder to anyone of us before we moan about almost anything.

Have a great day....and make lemonade whenever you get a chance and don't look down or be discouraged by the lemon rinds you feel your dealing with.

Someone somewhere would love to have most of our 'problems'.


(DPHaze is not of this Earth and landed in Roswell, New Mexico, on July 7, 1947)

القراع عصفور
Jul 30, 2013 - 9:46am

still on first cup of Joe

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Eric Original
Jul 30, 2013 - 9:53am

I don't care if it's Yellen or not

Just please, please, please, anybody but Summers.

Jul 30, 2013 - 10:03am

Saw my first

 Hillary for president bumper sticker today

Jul 30, 2013 - 10:21am


I saw one too.

"I'm ready for Hillary, 2016"

Almost drove off the road, from laughing or crying, not sure which.

Jul 30, 2013 - 10:23am

Highway Star

Deep Purple - Highway Star Lyrics

Jul 30, 2013 - 10:23am

The Committee to Save the World, from Feb 1999, for EO:

edit to add: would you leave young children in these men's care?

Jul 30, 2013 - 10:29am

and speaking of men

I was thinking about the similarities between the phrases making "lemonade out of lemons" and making a "virtue of necessity", which led me to discover (or I should say re-learn) that virtue is derived from the Latin word vir​ meaning man, and hence (here's the good part) courage, and what we now shy away from calling manliness.

So making a virtue of necessity means not just to try to enjoy lemons, but to do it in a courageous and manly way. Probably with gin!

Especially if forced to consider the covers of Time Magazine over time.

Jul 30, 2013 - 10:33am

Just remember your standing on a planet

eating beans and franks

Woman questions Obama beans and franks.mov
Jul 30, 2013 - 10:41am
Jul 30, 2013 - 10:44am

News Blast...Markets & World

The Question Investors Should Be Asking About Gold - Minyanville

Gold-Defined Money: A Velvet Underground Event? - Ralph Benko, Forbes
Why Investors Should Fear Larry Summers - Stephen Gandel, Fortune
Why Obama Can't Help the Middle Class - Paul Toscano, CNBC
The Question Investors Should Be Asking About Gold - Minyanville
Has the Drop to S&P 1500 Begun? - Avi Gilburt, MarketWatch
5 Safe Places to Park Your Money & Relax This Summer - MSN Money
Small-Cap Stock Rally: Too Far, Too Fast? - Patti Domm, CNBC
Want to Retire Rich? Run for Office! - Melanie Hicken, CNNMoney
Apple's Problem in One Word - Dana Blankenhorn, TheStreet.com
Student Loan Rates Reset Lower--But Probably Not for Long - Time
Hedge Funds: Fewer Winners as More Roll the Dice - The Fiscal Times

A Question Hangs Over Small Caps - Alexandra Scaggs, Wall Street Journal
'Bubbles Forever,' & Stock Crashes Forever Too - Paul Farrell, MarketWatch

The World Is Getting Richer, And That's Good News - Charles Kenny, BBW
The CFPB Is Quite Scarily What It Was Said To Be - Alex Pollock, American
China Is Set To Suffer the Skyscraper Curse - William Pesek, Bloomberg
Sorry Jack Lew, But Deficits Are a Real Crisis - Editorial, Investor's Business
How Desperate Are People In Today's Econ.? - John Crudele, New York Post
Job-Killing 'Worker Centers': What To Know - Diana Furchtgott-Roth, RCM
To Keynesians, Austere Is Growing Gov't Spending - Gene Epstein, Barron's
Ms. Yellen Is the Choice: Does Obama Know It? - Editorial, New York Times

Why Investors Should Fear Larry Summers - Stephen Gandel, Fortune
Has the Drop to S&P 1500 Begun? - Avi Gilburt, MarketWatch
5 Safe Places to Park Your Money & Relax This Summer - MSN Money
Small-Cap Stock Rally: Too Far, Too Fast? - Patti Domm, CNBC
Want to Retire Rich? Run for Office! - Melanie Hicken, CNNMoney
Apple's Problem in One Word - Dana Blankenhorn, TheStreet.com
Student Loan Rates Reset Lower--But Probably Not for Long - Time
Hedge Funds: Fewer Winners as More Roll the Dice - The Fiscal Times

Will China's Economy Crash? - Michael Pettis, CNN
Life in a Jobless World - Guy Standing, The European
When Asia Polices the Persian Gulf - Michael Moran, Global Post
Should U.S. Chase a Scandinavian Model? - Joel Kotkin, New Geography
U.S. Can't Escape the Middle East - Zachary Shirkey, The National Interest
China Is Foolishly Containing Itself - Harry Kazianis, The Diplomat
Will World Ease Up on Israel When It's Pumping Oil? - M. Lowe, Gatestone
Italy's Unrepentant Nazi War Criminal - Alan Johnson, BBC News
Why We Have a Chance for Peace with Iran - Micahel Nazir-Ali, Spectator
Is India's Culture of Rape Finally Changing? - Frederic Bobin, Le Monde/WC
A Daring Jewel Heist in Cannes - Matt Blake & Peter Allen, Daily Mail
Never Count Out Robert Mugabe - Robert Rotberg, Globe and Mail

Al-Qaeda in Iraq Scores Big - New York Times
South Korea's Prosperity a Tribute to U.S. Sacrifice - Washington Times
Netanyahu Showing Signs of Statesmanship - Haaretz
An Election, of Sorts, in Zimbabwe - Irish Times

What a Mideast Deal Will (Probably) Look Like - Ben Birnbaum, TNR
Netanyahu the Peacemaker - Roger Cohen, New York Times
The 16 Countries That Will Replace China - George Friedman, Stratfor
Obama Should Snub Moscow (and Sochi) - David Kramer, American Interest
China Is Set to Suffer the Skyscraper Curse - William Pesek, Bloomberg
Stability Eludes Polarized Egypt - Erich Follath, Der Spiegel
Tunisia on the Brink - Michael J. Totten, World Affairs Journal
Inventing Settlers to Scuttle Peace Talks - Gershom Gorenberg, Daily Beast
How Many Jews Really Live in West Bank? - Elliott Abrams & Uri Sadot, FP
Italy's Shameful Collusion with Kazakhstan - James Kirchick, Wash Post
Obama's Moment -- A Deal with Iran! - Pat Buchanan, Creators Syndicate
Australia's Cynical 'Stop the Boats' Policy - John Pilger, The Guardian
Why Shinzo Abe Won't Turn Hawk - Miller & Yokota, Foreign Affairs
Justin Trudeau's Smart Pivot on Pot - Lawrence Martin, Globe & Mail
Scotland Might Want to Reconsider Independence - Peter Jones, Scotsman

sierra skier
Jul 30, 2013 - 10:51am

Sweet Lemonade

In our world the lemonade is sweet compared to many of the other worlds on the planet. We have the opportunity to make the lemonade as sweet, bitter or sour as we wish through the efforts we expend. Everything may not be as we wish but we have a very comfortable life compared to most of the world and we have very few truly poor in this country.

I had never really thought about the compounded speeds of our travels through space and boy are we moving,,, just a flash of light in the universe.

I love the selection of great music linked on this page, you all rock!

Jul 30, 2013 - 11:01am

green shoots

silver stocks starting to show some green. wheaties, pan am, hecla...

waxybilldupp ¤
Jul 30, 2013 - 11:12am

DPH - When Logic and Proportion ...

Great post: 

First, (geezer alert!) Gracie Slick still gives me palpitations every time she comes on the oldies radio station I listen to in my truck.

Second, all the cosmic data boggles my mind whenever I stop and think about it. Cosmos, by Carl Sagan was groundbreaking. I remember how he was chided about his notion that there were, not only "billions and billions" of stars, but almost certainly, "billions and billions" of planets. Carl, buddy, you were right.

Carl tweaked my interest in how the cosmos ticks. Every book I've read since about astrophysics leaves me convinced that given the nearly infinite number of possibilities, we are not alone. The problem is that it is a staggeringly gigantic neighborhood. That's probably good because if we did find another planet suitable for life, we'd likely turn it into another Detroit within a few decades.

Your other thoughts on perspective I try and keep distilled into my own watchwords - "Waxy, you have to choose to be offended." I find it useful to remember that, sometimes multiple time a day. 

wax off

ned braden
Jul 30, 2013 - 11:36am

@ waxybill

'Nother geezer here. Gracie used to get all of us going!

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