When I am King: Squash World Hunger

When I am King...

No more yucky food will be grown.

I have a solution for world hunger; let's stop growing food that noone likes.

We've heard for years that the real problem behind world hunger is not availability, but distribution. (I happen to think that ready cash probably figures in there somewhere). But here's a different theory: maybe we're just not growing food that people actually want to eat.

Here's a good example. It's Halloween, and once again everyone's porch is decorated with inedible vegetables. It may seem like the porch is a natural place for these items because we are decorating the public entrances to our homes, but the real reason the things are there is that nobody wants them inside their house. There are gourds, which noone is quite sure what to do with. There is multi-colored corn, which looks simultaneously interesting and completely unappetizing. And then there are the pumpkins everywhere; carcasses of these massive vegetables so confound us that all we can think to do is to carve them up, in some sort of virtual homicide or ritual sacrifice.

Sure, we use some of the pumpkin innards. Occasionally. Somewhere, there is a factory that converts one part pumpkin, 10 parts cream, and 20 parts sugar into a gloppy substance that is then slorped into pie dishes and called “pumpkin pie”. Also, many people try (and fail) to convert the huge pumpkin seeds into something tasty (one part seeds, 10 parts butter or oil, 20 parts salt), but most of the inedible results end up in the trash can instead. A typical response is, “Hmm, honey (crunch, chew, crunch). Much better this year (crunch, chew),” followed by placing the rest of the handful quietly back in the bowl.

Pumpkins, gourds, and multi-color corn are all members of the Decoration food group. This food group is not found inside the classic “food pyramid”, but if you look closely you can see these foods on the pyramid's front porch.

The Decoration food group has many other members. Pomegranates, for example, have a grand history of being only partially consumed. The goddess Persephone could eat only a few seeds before giving up, and went to Hell for eating just that many. But who could blame her? The pomegranate is a parody of something edible, having more seed than actual fruit. Eating it is more a hobby than an act of consumption; it is about as productive as biting your nails, but substantially less filling.

So why do we continue to grow these things? Wouldn't we be better off growing things that people actually wanted to eat? Maybe if we just had more edible food in the world, it would somehow magically make its way into the hands and stomachs of people that had nothing. As it is, it seems like we have about the right amount of food for some number of people (less than the population of the planet) and then we have whole landfills and front porches full of these other bizarre foods. Sure, we might be able to ship this stuff around the planet in a desperate attempt to stave off hunger, but the recipients wouldn't want these things either. We could take our entire crop of pumpkins, figure out how to send them somewhere else (a quandary in and of itself), and would merely get a thank-you card back with a picture of all lots of carved pumpkins and a note inside; “We thank you for the festive decorations; do you have any food?”

I propose a new system of growing and manufacturing foods that people will actually eat, thereby filling the world with more edible options. On the organic side, we could grow more fruits like watermelons and oranges, or vegetables like, er, well, some vegetables that people like. On the manufacturing side, we could produce foods that have little dependence on nature. Pop-Tarts come to mind; they're tasty, filling, and people will eat them, but they appear to have no natural products in them.

I am heartened by this project so far, and have begun working on other planetary problems as well. There are plans to reduce global warming by getting enough people to run air conditioners while their windows are open. And droughts may be solved by simply turning on the faucets in a house and channeling the water to the outside. I'm still researching solutions to the global oil shortage, but the top contender involves teenagers and acne.


When I am King: Wedding Time

When I am King...

Marriage cermonies will be 2 minutes, tops.

I never understand why most weddings are so long; nobody is actually learning anything new in the process (except those new to the experience, who are learning that they don't want to do this again). Chances are, everyone knows that the couple is going to get married; the wedding invitation is a dead giveaway. So it's not like there's a surprise ending in store. There may be some that go to weddings with the same morbid desire that drives them to watch long car races; for the fiery crashes. But the odds are pretty poor that anything unpredictable will happen in most weddings.

The happy couple is changing their entire life (for better or worse), they have all of their friends and family in the world gathered around, they've got a party waiting on them to start ... and they opt for spending an hour listening to speeches by people in robes. And these aren't new speeches; these are the same words used in every Sunday sermon, for the last, oh, 2,000 years.

I've been working on a template for faster weddings. It goes something like this:

Marriage-Performer [looks at bride]: You?
Bride: Yes
Marriage-Performer [looks at groom]: And you?
Groom: Sure
Marriage-Performer [looks at both]: Done

(Rings, kisses, fond looks, and recriminations can be exchanged later)

So why do people have weddings that take so darned long?

Is it revenge for all the weddings they've had to attend?

Or just bad scheduling? I can picture the groom saying, “Dang! The Vet's hall doesn't open until 5:00. Let's hang out here a while and see what that guy in white has to say.”

Or maybe it's a money thing, like they need to justify the enormous volume of cash they've just poured down the drain of their love life. They just want to spread the cost out over more time. But that's like a wanting some horribly painful terminal disease to last longer to justify the exhorbitant treatment costs.

It's okay to spread the celebration out. But that's what the party is for. Don't waste the time sitting in the flowery room of heart-felt guilt. Or at least make attendance optional:

“Marriage will be from 2:00 - 3:00. Party will start at 2:03.”

Until my imminent ascension, weddings will probably continue to be too long. I would suggest,
then, that instead of calling the whole middle section a Mass, we should call it a Wake. This will handle the situation where someone in the audience has died waiting for the thing to end.


I am a Software Engineer

I am a Software Engineer.

I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, "That guy is Cool".

You're so right. I don't like to brag, too much, but I'll let you in on some details.

I have many friends
in chat rooms.

I have excellent contacts
but I prefer to wear glasses because they make me look so cool.

Many women want me
to fix their computers.

I frequently get laid

I know many languages:
Java, C, C++.

I travel to many exotic places
in online games

I'm into sports

I collect fancy cars.
Most are still in their original Hot Wheels packaging.

I smell good
so I don't shower very often because I don't want to ruin it.

I have a black belt
that I wear when I can't find my suspenders.

I know that you're now thinking "I want to be that guy."
But you can't.
I was here first.


When I am King: No Kneed

When I am King...

All knees will be replaced by more functional joints.

I had knee surgery a couple of weeks ago, basically because I'm getting old. They poked around in there, shaved some, scraped some, put me back together. Now my knees feel grate; they grate every step I take. They sound like a couple of maracas; like my knees are some kind of Latin joint.

The knee has to be the dumbest joint ever invented. I think it probably worked fine back when people lived to, say, 22. But we're taking these things way past their warranty expiration, and the manufacturer is no longer in business. Can you imagine the class action suit for this screwup?

I can't believe that we evolved this joint; it just doesn't make sense. Evolution is supposed to improve upon things, make them better through the generations. Like our ability to detect prey in the area. Or coffee.

So how did knees get past the Quality Assurance Committee of the Evolution Task Force? Do you think anyone actually thought about them? “Hmm, here's one - Requirement: Needs to hold up to 100-250 pounds comfortably for up to 100 years. Proposal: bone sliding over bone. Thin layer of deteriorating cartilage. Works for me. Now where'd I put that other six pack?”

Instead, I think knees were imposed, maybe as a punishment, or as a practical joke. “Think thou can Flee my Wrath, eh? Well try it with these! Ha ha HA ha ha ha. HA!”. (Gods generally have poor senses of humor, and there is no hope of improving because noone ever tells them their jokes suck).

Or maybe knees were just a temporary measure, like the awful rental you get when your car is in the shop; it gets you to work, but you can't wait to get back to a real car. But the shop closed down, we never got our real joints back, and we're making do on rentals that have gone way beyond their mileage limit.

Help is on the way. Humanity didn't evolve better joints, but we did evolve surgery. In my kingdom, we will mandate surgeries that will do whole-knee replacements, but not with other knee joints (what a bad joke that is; it's like returning a meal because it has a cockroach in it and having the chef transfer the same roach to a new plate of food for you). Instead, we will replace knees with something else entirely.

We do not yet know what the solution will be like; we will create research foundations to find the answer. One possibility being weighed is removing our legs entirely and fastening our bodies in place, but working out a system to move everything else to us. It would be far easier on our bodies and much more convenient. Exercise will be limited, but we expect the remote control to be so complex that simply lifting and operating it should suffice.


Exercise? No Sweat.

I'm trying to stay in shape, hitting the gym when I can. I'm going to start working on my abs. But instead of going for a six pack, I think I'll aim higher and go for a full keg.

I'm staying clear of the cardiac machines, though.

I just do a few sets of waits.

Then I do some stares. I'm the stare master.

I do some sit ups, then I gotta lie down.

I skip rope. Completely.

I'm working on my flexibility, too; sometimes I hit the gym on Tuesday instead of Monday.


When I am King: No Alphabutts

When I am King...

There will be no words allowed on the pant seats of childrens' clothing.

It is truly disturbing to find yourself reading some words and then realize you're staring at the bottom of a 12 year old. Or someone much younger, like the age of one of my daughters.

It's particularly disturbing when the words say something like “Hot!” or “Sweet!”. They should say something more appropriate, like “Sick!,” or “Perv!,” or perhaps “What are you looking at, buddy?!”.

There is a universal law that says that we treeless apes will read words put in front of us. (Unless you're being taught to read, in which case the converse appears to be true). Why else do we find ourselves reading the drivel and ads on a cereal box during breakfast? Is it actually better than the novel upstairs by the bed? Or more fulfilling than actually talking to the family? Of course not; but the words are there and demand to be read.

This is probably why traffic engineers put the word “STOP” on a stop sign. We all know what the symbol means. But if there wasn't a word on it, we would ignore the sign off and roll right on toward our certain death. But since there's a word on the sign, our brain says “Hey! Read what it says! Maybe it's an ad!”

(In Russia, the word on the sign is “CTOP”, which is just a phonetic translation of our word, completely unrelated to whatever the Russian word is for stop. This helps explain why it is so dangerous crossing a Russian street.)

Some cunning clothing manufacturer latched onto this passion for words and decided to start putting reading material on pants, with the reasoning that everyone will be forced to look at the words. And the concept makes perfect marketing sense ... for clothing on a 25 year old. But is there any possible benefit to me, the kid, or the manufacturer from my looking at the pants of a 6 year old?

Manufacturers will be required to cease production on this childrens' clothing immediately and distributors will not be allowed to sell them. I will be a kindly king and will not require existing clothing to be thrown away, but all children with such pants will be required to wear a black square placard from their waist that hangs over the area of offence, much like the faces of people that are blacked out in videos to keep their identities secret. My daughters will each be wearing camouflage pants, a hoop skirt, and a cardboard box.


Some Jokes For You. Laugh, Dammit.

These are Chet originals. At least as far as I know.

When I was in high school, my parents sent me on an exchange program.
They were so surprised when I returned.

Did you hear about the guy that only drank beer and wine?
He thought the hard stuff was too whiskey.

Or how about the grumbler that avoided hard liquor?
He would only drink beer and whine.

Home is where the mortgage is.

Where do bulimics work out?
The gymnauseum.

And in my first and probably only foray into political humor:

What do you call a vacuum cleaner in Iraq?
A weapon of mess destruction