The Great Northern New Jersey Swiss Cheese Crisis
and Other Thoughts
My new purple shoes
are amazing the people next door,
Purple shoes? In my country you can't get!
Val, originally from Romania
I promised I'd explain about the cheese. It's pretty simple, really: Half sloth, half Monty Python. I've expounded on the subject of "shopping" from time to time, normally in the context of being thankful that I am rarely called upon to accomplish same. It is my great good fortune that my housemate undertakes the filling of the larder, said fortune being only slightly reduced by her taste for such bizarre food items as "celery" and "peppers." We agree on the important things, such as ice cream flavors, that the banana is the official household fruit, and that no refrigerator can be said to be replete without a significant representation by sliced Swiss cheese, both for sandwichal activities and unitary consumption.
We have never had a Swiss cheese issue in the past. There are refrigerated compartments in food stores that harbor packages of pre-sliced Swiss in abundance. When the household supply would run low, one or more packages would be obtained and kept in a back-up location, ready to spring into the food-equivalent of action at a terminal bite's notice. But suddenly, and temporally coincident with the presentation of The Face in the Cheese, this abundance devolved into dearth. If this isn't entirely clear: There was no Swiss cheese in the refrigerator.
No more sandwiches for her. No more Swiss and Oscar Meyer Bologna roll-ups for me. Tragic and unaccustomed deprivation indeed! If you are thinking "surely there is more than a single place of purveyance of packaged Swiss" you begin to understand the dimension of the crisis. For I was informed, only a day after the initial disappointment, that a second store was similarly bereft of packaged Swiss. She didn't accost either manager with an "It's the single most popular cheese in the manor." For one thing, that's an assertion of doubtful veracity, since there is always "American" pasteurized process cheese food near or at the top of the cheese pyramid. For another, these stores have "deli departments" at which surprisingly enthusiastic youths are prepared to turn Swiss loaves into slices upon request. If they're "open." If one has time to wait one's turn.
Either they weren't or she didn't. Besides, there should be prepackaged Swiss in the refrigerated compartments in the stores. I left the Face in the Cheese on my blog, quietly bemoaned my fate, and thought about petitioning the local government to form an Office of Cheese Remonstrance. I was relieved of this necessity about a week ago when the cheese packages suddenly returned. Perhaps they were on vacation? Or the Federal Swiss Cheese Inspectorate rejected a batch for non-conforming hole size. In any event, we're OK now. And the Face has been dispatched to old-blog-land. Whew!
Some Days I Feel Like Bennie Noakes
I was reading an article on "Warp Drives" in Spaceflight, a publication of the British Interplanetary Society. All discussion of the subject is highly theoretical at this point, but the article focused on the fact that any theoretical drive has enormous energy requirements, and, rather than being used for propulsion, the energy would actually be used to warp space, vary the "cosmological constant," or modify spacetime in some way.
And I had this thought: What if one or more of these theories are right? And what if the billions of (statistically probable) advanced civilizations are doing just that — modifying spacetime? And what if all this modification is the cause of the accelerating expansion of the universe? Just as many think we are damaging our home planet with the CO2 emitted in part by our air and ground vehicles, I wonder if the discussion in the pan-galactic counsels is going something like this:
GC1: Gentlecreatures, all this interstellar travel with warp drives is destroying our universe! It's expanding faster and faster and will eventually be ripped apart!
GC2: There's no evidence of that. We all know that the universal quantum scalar field often makes minor adjustments within itself. And besides, even if you're right, we have a few hundred billion years to deal with it.
(Three "Whats-if" strung together don't normally make a viable hypothesis. But, as usual, I could be right, and I have yet to hear anyone, GC or human, claim to know differently.)
NP: "Down On Mission Street" - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions