Red peppers are red.
Red cabbage is purple but
is said to be red.
Tweaking a wistful response to an earlier challenge in a different series yields a response to
that defers to Canada’s retention of British spelling. (One of the tweaks was to replace color by colour.) Being deferential does not suit me, so I revert to US spelling in some new mischief at the end.
When colour computer displays came in, I was jolted to see that a yellowish green and an orangish red were now “primary” for RGB coordinates of coloured pixels. I also had to use CMYK coordinates for coloured inks and pray to the graphics gods that printing software would translate from RGB to CMYK in a way that respected how something looked. My prayers were seldom answered. Eventually, I learned to put away childish things (like hard copy).
Before Colours Went RGB
Red, yellow, and blue
were “primary” when kids
smeared paint on paper.
I am all too aware of several ways that Canada is more sensible than the USA. I used one of the less important ones to balance a little mischief about one small way the USA is more sensible:
Color in 6 Letters
Some folks spell it with a U.
On my honor, they sure do.
Hour and sour I can buy;
misspelled humor makes me cry.
You stayed loyal to the Crown?
Gotta press that U key down!
I’m a proud Yank but confess
that our anthem is a mess,
sung as if we never heard:
yeh-et really ain’t a word.
While pondering “the meaning of food” is rare, pondering “the meaning of life” is common. Deservedly? Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Meanings are tricky. Colors provide a simpler way to explore some of the relevant ideas.
The question heading this subsection is nonsense. Many different kinds of thing have colors, but numbers don’t. Making sense is harder than just having sensible-looking syntax.
One of the ways that philosophy made substantial progress in the past century was the realization that some “deep” questions could be as nonsensical as the one heading of this subsection. Determining which ones are really deep will take a while. Nonsensical questions may sometimes be failed attempts to pose serious questions that would be more tractable with better wording, so some nonsense may deserve more sympathy than the heading of this subsection.
Flags do have colors, but the question heading this subsection is still nonsense. The US flag is red, white, and blue. While mostly red, the Chinese flag also has some yellow. How many nations have flags of just one color?
Nobody is silly enough to speak of “the” color of a nation’s flag, but people often do fall into the trap of speaking of “the” thingamajig when there are in fact several relevant thingamajigs. I posted 4 varied examples (and there are many more).
It does make sense to say that white is the color of the stars in the US flag, that green is the color of the fake foliage in my Xmas wreath, and so on. But look at the ribbon on my wreath:
The color I see at any place on the ribbon is intricately context-dependent. Where is the light coming from? Where am I standing? While the solid red ribbons on other wreaths are easier to describe, my iridescent ribbon is prettier to see.
The word mole has utterly different meanings in chemistry, dermatology, and espionage. Even if we suppose it makes sense to attribute a meaning to life, pondering “the” meaning of life may still be like pondering “the” color of the US flag, “the” color of an iridescent ribbon, or “the” meaning of mole.
Like mathematical notations (and many hand gestures), words are arbitrary symbols with enough consensus about what they mean to support use in communication. Who uses life to say what to whom?
I posted 4 imagined responses by an old Yankee to a novice philosopher’s bloviations; one of the responses is
Wehrds need meanings; life don’t.
Your life and mine are not arbitrary symbols used by a third party to communicate with a fourth party. Maybe some concerns about “the meaning of life” are poorly worded concerns about how to live. Preferring the workable to the grandiose, I go with a simple short list:
If the following excerpt from a call for submissions sounds interesting, please read the whole thing and consider submitting a story or some poetry. (Previously published work is OK if the author retained the rights.) This post ends with a few visual hints about ways to be weirdly funny.
The Writers’ Co-op invites submissions of short stories (and poems) for the second edition of our yearly anthology, The Rabbit Hole. Volume one was released in November last year, volume two is scheduled for September 2019.
This year, we are looking for weird stories dealing with the following themes: entertainment, weather or science. (If you want to combine all three, we’re very open to stories about a group of scientists on their way to the theatre when they’re caught in a freak snowstorm.) However, there will also be a section Weird At Large for stories that don’t fit the specific themes suggested.
• • •
The deadline is 31st March 2019. Submissions should be sent in an attached file to curtis.bausse(at)outlook.com with the subject ‘Co-op submission’. They may have been previously published on personal websites (or elsewhere) but authors must have full rights to them when submitting. Authors will retain said rights after the story or poem is published in the Writers’ Co-op anthology.
The call for submissions describes the many kinds of weirdness suitable for the anthology. While definitely not required, humor is encouraged. For visual hints about ways to be weirdly funny (and sometimes thought-provoking), those whose memories of works like the classic Far Side cartoons by Gary Larson have faded can look at some of the Bizarro cartoons by Dan Piraro. The following images are also links to the pages where they appear and are discussed:
As Susie left home to start a new life with Dale, her mother watched and wondered. Would the mixed marriage work?
Aware that sharing her worries would be unwelcome and unheeded, Mama let her words of warning remain unspoken and unheard.
Wisely, Mama kept silent despite having words to say. Unwisely, some people run afoul of Wittgenstein’s Laws by breaking silence despite not having any sensible words to say.
No, this cow did not lose an argument with a bucket of white paint. Belted Galway cattle are bright white in the middle, with either brown or black fore and aft. The white is usually in a neat band, much like the rust-colored band on a woolly bear caterpillar. Maybe this cow’s sloppy band comes from too much time in a certain pub.
What the World Needs
More silliness from
those who know they are silly;
less from the others.
calls for Japanese-style poetry inspired by an excerpt from Plato. (An excerpt from the excerpt appears below.) Yet again, classical literature says something complex and important, while leaving much for later generations to discover and say. For now, I will shut up after 2 haiku.
“… the pleasures of youth and love are fled away: there was a good time once, but now that is gone, and life is no longer life.”
“… when the passions relax their hold, then, as Sophocles says, we are freed from the grasp not of one mad master only, but of many.”
“… for he who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.”
“… I rather suspect that people … think that old age sits lightly upon you, not because of your happy disposition, but because you are rich, and wealth is well known to be a great comforter.”