Jever (Did you ever) hear someone use a many syllabled word for a one-syllable meaning? Mariner uses too many syllables sometimes but he means really big words like slubberdegullion, which means ‘unhappy person’.

On the other hand, remember when taking a picture meant sending the film roll away to be developed and during the meantime one would entertain one’s self by singing Snow White’s song, “Someday my prints will come”.

When mariner was a young boy, he often visited his grandmother who had a distinct dialect. She would say zink for sink and “Gawd’ for God. On the other hand, the other grandmother was a German immigrant and she would reverse v and w; for a long time mariner didn’t know it was not viegela but wiegela.

One time, mariner had business in Philadelphia. He visited the old market neighborhood in search of local flavors. He believes that Philadelphians rarely if ever have the need to use hard consonants; the dialect is very slushy.

In primary school the teachers were diligent about teaching grammar and sentence structure and when to use ‘who’ and ‘whom’. In high school he took Latin only to learn it didn’t matter where a word was placed; it was that the suffixes matched.

When mariner was young, he and his friend (now a renowned philologist) would have fun spelling words the way people actually said them. Two common examples are, ‘skoeet’ and ‘prolly’ not to mention ‘jever’.

Poignantly, mariner misses the word ‘gay’. It was a richly nuanced word that combined the sensation of friendly, entertaining and memorable into a three letter word. Today there are those beating the word ‘woke’ into oblivion not only by definition but by tense as well.

It is fortunate that the human brain does not need explicit articulation to shape reason. Unfortunately, it doesn’t even need facts but that’s another post. The point here is that humans need a sloppy, flexible and constantly changing language. It fits the brain so well.

Ancient Mariner

More on the New Age

Now that mariner has adopted the New Age, he has some ideas.

Today there are game programs so realistic that the player actually controls the hero. It shouldn’t be too difficult to develop regular movies like crime drama, rom-com and adult romance where the player actually plays themselves in the movie. What might be interesting is not to have a script for the player so the player can watch themselves reacting to the other actors as they would for real. Perhaps this outside-the-self awareness might tell the player more than they want to know about themselves.

Another idea is to have a special robot for interaction with dating sites and other person-to-person adventures. The robot could sit in the room and regulate the experience for maximum enjoyment. Let’s name this robot Alexa.

Here’s a thought: Will we be able to buy some acreage in the metaverse? Then all mariner’s robots can be transferred to the metaverse and mariner can live on the acreage.

What’s neat about all this is that a person never has to leave their recliner!

Hmmm . . . . Maybe Matrix had the right idea after all.

Ancient Mariner

Mariner concedes

He understands that within a decade or two a new age will have emerged. The Age of Humanism will be left to history, replaced by a more computer-managed reality. Mariner has made himself eager to participate in the new era.

֎ The sex toy individuals have the right idea. Not that a sex toy would do mariner any good but he will visit the factory to make robot replacements for his friends. Then he will not have to travel all over the country.

֎ For his family he will use the metaverse so that his family can visit in virtual reality. None of the family will be inconvenienced by travel or unnecessary dialogue. Imagine the cost savings by avoiding restaurants and motels. (Will the metaverse charge for space? Likely so if Zuckerberg is still around.)

֎ Mariner is confident that in a few years he will be able to buy a robot pony and a couple of robot hounds.

Mariner now has a firsthand understanding of how Qin Shi Huang, First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, felt when he built the terracotta army.

֎ It may be possible to reenact the aristocratic age of England if the downstairs crowd are robots and won’t bitch because they are overworked and underpaid.

֎ Gardening will be easier on two fronts: a robot gardener and fake plants.

֎ No one will need a car given Zoom and the metaverse.

֎ Regarding his wife, mariner may need to have a conversation. Mariner assumes his friends and family won’t mind if their robot replacements have faces like the Muppets. Evidently the only facial requirement is soulful eyes.

Ancient Mariner


{The Atlantic} The moment that broke Cassie Alexander came nine months into the pandemic. As an intensive-care-unit nurse of 14 years, Alexander had seen plenty of “Hellraiser stuff,” she told me. But when COVID-19 hit her Bay Area hospital, she witnessed “death on a scale I had never seen before.”
Last December, at the height of the winter surge, she cared for a patient who had caught the coronavirus after being pressured into a Thanksgiving dinner. Their lungs were so ruined that only a hand-pumped ventilation bag could supply enough oxygen. Alexander squeezed the bag every two seconds for 40 minutes straight to give the family time to say goodbye. Her hands cramped and blistered as the family screamed and prayed. When one of them said that a miracle might happen, Alexander found herself thinking, I am the miracle. I’m the only person keeping your loved one alive. (Cassie Alexander is a pseudonym that she has used when writing a book about these experiences. I agreed to use that pseudonym here.)
The senselessness of the death, and her guilt over her own resentment, messed her up. Weeks later, when the same family called to ask if the staff had really done everything they could, “it was like being punched in the gut,” she told me. She had given everything—to that patient, and to the stream of others who had died in the same room. She felt like a stranger to herself, a commodity to her hospital, and an outsider to her own relatives, who downplayed the pandemic despite everything she told them. In April, she texted her friends: “Nothing like feeling strongly suicidal at a job where you’re supposed to be keeping people alive.” Shortly after, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and she left her job.

Maybe we should buy her a robot puppy.
Ancient Mariner

A Mystery

One day in May of 1894, a crate of peaches appeared on a sidewalk in East London, England. It looked to be a sturdy crate.

The size was 18 inches long by 18 inches wide by 18 inches high – a cube. The wood was Elm slats 2 ¾ inches wide; they were fastened vertically rather than horizontally and were held in place by 2 ¾ inch x ½ inch slats at the top and bottom, inside and out. These horizontal slats were attached to the frame. The bottom was made entirely of the ½ inch thick slats, all fastened to the frame.

The frame was made from 3-sided lengths, as an equilateral triangle. Interestingly, the nails were made of copper with a ¼ inch head by ¾ inch long shaft. Each slat had two nails at each end.

The entire crate had a thin finish of polyurethane.

The peaches were all of similar size, 3 inches in diameter. There were 6 rows of peaches and 6 columns. Each row had 6×6 peaches making a total count of 36 peaches per row and 216 peaches in all.

The unanswered mystery that remains to this day is that, at the 2nd row, 4th column was one brown, freestone peach in the midst of a crateful of a yellow variety. What is it doing there?

Mariner created this mystery. He calls it ‘Mariner’s Conundrum’.

Ancient Mariner


Science News

֎ Soon everyone will be able to have their own Jackson 5.

In some farmers’ ideal world, cows would birth only females, sows would bear no boars, and chicks would all grow up to be hens. Such sex ratios would stop them from killing millions of male animals, which don’t produce eggs or milk.

Now, scientists are a step closer to this reality. Researchers have harnessed the gene editor CRISPR to produce litters of mice all of one sex. That’s a potential boon to agriculture and may offer a more immediate advantage in scientific research. “The paper shows a state-of-the-art solution to producing single-sex species” with “impressive results,” says Ehud Qimron, a CRISPR expert at Tel Aviv University who was not involved with the work.

Finally humans can match whiptail lizards (genus Aspidoscelis) who are only female.

֎ Here’s a picture of your oldest cousin, called “Lucy’s Baby”. In 1974, the world was stunned by the discovery of “Lucy,” the partial skeleton of a human ancestor that walked upright—and still spent time in the trees—3.2 million years ago. Later discoveries revealed her species, scattered throughout eastern Africa, had brains bigger than chimpanzees. But a new study of an ancient toddler finds that the brains of Lucy’s kind were organized less like those of humans and more like those of chimps. That suggests the brains of our ancestors expanded before they reorganized in the ways that let us engage in more complex mental behaviors such as making tools and developing language. The remains also suggest Lucy’s species had a relatively long childhood—similar to modern humans—and they would have needed parenting longer than their chimp relatives. Called Australopithecus afarensis, Lucy and her family grew to a height of three feet.

To get a glimpse of the future of Homo sapiens, here’s a snapshot for you:

Yes, she is a fully conversant robot.

– – – –

Cannot leave without quoting Mark Twain who had this to say about human morality:

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.

Ancient Mariner

Sailing through life

As the fall has moved on, mariner has focused more time on the internal affairs of home and garden. It is a relief not to follow closely each day’s news and thereby carry the weight of misguided voters and politicians, regardless of polarity and party.

He has completed repotting the frost-sensitive bulbs and plants; he has made a small bench to hold flower pots in his office; he has cleared the vegetable gardens for next year; next are the trellises and rabbit-guards necessary for the survival of small vulnerable shrubs. As winter sets in he has maintenance to do on tractors, lawnmowers and in-house projects like repairing a door and some basement windows.

Then there is the family gathering at Christmas; it is a week of immeasurable cacophony and family joy. The world ends at the front door.

But his mood is a lot like someone who is aware of impending doom. It is a feeling of despair that has dried of activity and lay like an ash at the back of the mind. Daily life continues with projects and distractions but there is a faint sense in the background that the outside world isn’t going to be kind.

So mariner will continue focusing on distractions like how to make a smart television do what mariner wants it to do – it can’t; mariner needs a tower for digital broadcasting; streaming is not convenient and is intensely iterative. In January the seed catalogs will arrive virtually every day for a month. Will this be the year mariner builds a small, traditional greenhouse? The backyard needs to be graded; mariner hasn’t used a bobcat since he laid a road to the farm equipment shed – maybe 1995. The orchard will get a trimming in January, too. A year from now in 2022 mariner plans to make his first batch of apple cider.

A hospice can be fun if one knows how to work it. As a Christmas gift for him, mariner has suggested a hover board.

Ancient Mariner


Thoughts on Evolution

Mariner writes this blog to avoid picking the last apples to make a year’s supply of apple butter. Why does he defeat himself with laziness? His thoughts turn to what evolution has created in the 900,000 years of creating the hominid line. It certainly hasn’t stood still. Everyone has seen the ascent of man chart. Mariner provides a variation below:

Paleontologists often identify key transitions that mark different physiological species. The most common are when –

֎ Early monkey species came down from the trees. Groups or tribes of the new ape species began to have a more stationery society and expanded their diet to more insects, small creatures and additional low vegetation like roots.

֎ In Northern Africa there were periods of drought that forced the ape-hominid to forage more widely. The demands of this long lasting period demanded the ability to range even farther, taking more energy and stamina to sustain the species. Two key evolutionary improvements were the ability to perspire and a brain that could take charge of basic visceral functions when hunting, thereby allowing man to outrun animals by wearing them down.

֎ But something new was happening. Evolution was changing the brain. By the time these early hominids left Africa, frontal lobes were growing rapidly in the brain. Early man began to have the ability to surmise beyond physical reality. There was a new smartness that required logic to perceive advantage. When the early hominids arrived in the Fertile Crescent, the area had perfect weather and a robust ecosystem. Man surmised, “If we’re going to eat so much of this grass (Kamut/Khorasan, an ancient version of wheat), why not collect the seeds and grow it more conveniently”. Because an excess of resources could be created, this was the beginning of agriculturally-based society and feudal capitalism as well.

֎ Evolution had provided man, by then called Homo erectus, the advantage to breed rapidly and consequently H. erectus had to expand territory across whole continents in order to sustain what was considered a safe survivability. Evolutionary ethics promotes successful survivability; expansion is possible because of a certain advantage to the species. This is not new; today consider the Lionfish, a flourishing invasive species in U.S. Southeast and Caribbean coastal waters. The difference is that Lionfish do not have frontal lobes. Humans, on the other hand, know full well the relationship between investment and profit: “chop those trees down, damn it, there’s money to be made!” or maybe, “Kill those savages, they aren’t Christians!” Both logical in evolutionary terms.

֎ Since Roman times in the West, Human frontal lobes have taken over ethical control of what used to mean ‘survival’ to the planet’s ecosystems – themselves a product of evolution but without frontal lobes. Humans with their ever growing frontal lobes have expanded into Einstein’s universe of time and space and they are eager to expand beyond this planet to leverage the profit motive even while significant numbers of the human species languish on Earth.

– – – –

Mariner stops here to pick apples. What about these frontal lobes? Are they a self-destructive error on evolution’s part? Thousands of species including many Homo precursors have gone extinct because of unintended shortcomings.

Have a happy holiday season!

Ancient Mariner


More about gumption

Mariner is one of millions of older people all around the world – beyond career, beyond younger generations, beyond participation. Recently he assigned the word ‘gumption’ to the special motivation it takes to be a successful old person. Below is another description from folks who know a lot more about it than mariner does. Being old himself, he understands clearly how true these words are from The Journal of Positive Psychology in 2016:

“Coherence: how events fit together. This is an understanding that things happen in your life for a reason. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can fit new developments into your narrative the moment they happen, but you usually are able to do so afterward, so you have faith that you eventually will.” [coherence means one is an engaged part of reality, a fellow player]

“Purpose: the existence of goals and aims. This is the belief that you are alive in order to do something. Think of purpose as your personal mission statement, such as “the purpose of my life is to share the secrets to happiness” or “I am here to spread love abundantly.”

“Significance: life’s inherent value. This is the sense that your life matters. If you have high levels of significance, you’re confident that the world would be a tiny bit—or perhaps a lot—poorer if you didn’t exist.”

It takes a lot of gumption to sustain these three values, especially if you live alone, especially if you are infirm and shut in, especially if you are financially destitute.

If you are an old folk and have difficulty with these descriptions, depression and slow demise will occur. If you are a young person, your gumption still is required to apply these principles to have a happier life.

Arouse your gumption and turn things around. Be prepared; no career has ever required more effort.

Ancient Mariner


A small light of wisdom

Internet-based journalists contribute more about the science of the future workplace than television journalists. For example, several journalists have begun to analyze the impact of artificial intelligence on organizational structure, speculating about psychological, sociological and economic concepts. As a group these journalists poo-poo the Zuckerberg view of his metaverse that will replace three-dimensional space in the workplace.

Annie Pearl, Chief Product Officer at Calendly, a platform for building business applications, predicts that transitions will center on three-way efficiency through collaborative dialogue exchanged between IT, end users and product teams. Another theme among journalists is that the biggest loser in new AI-driven businesses is middle management; AI will expedite development and decision making to a near real-time event – no time or need to pass proposals and permissions up and down organizational boundaries. Many teams may not even have a “boss”.

Chris Perrotti, VP of Digital Workplace at LogMeIn, suggests that Generation Zers will have a different perspective on the workplace that diminishes literal definitions about workplace versus remote workplace; whatever works will be what happens. Speed is the new management strategy rather than literal top-down authority.

Generation Zs, born between 1997 and 2012, just now are entering the workforce. Mariner suggests the visions of the new futurists may take 10 – 15 years to emerge from the din we now experience. Nevertheless it is pleasing to see well-grounded intellectual thought beginning to map our new AI future. It is time we silenced money grubbers like Donald and Zuckerberg and looked for new, insightful leadership – including at all levels of government.

As a follow up to mariner’s post about being done with 2021, there are suggestions that don’t sound like the ‘work’ mariner suggested. How about crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, many forms of art, and an endless list of activities that include classification, categorization and even purpose-driven travel – perhaps to see in person the world’s largest ball of string in Branson, Missouri. At the most expensive end of the list is the large RVers who flock to the southern states.

Whatever the distraction, make sure it keeps the reader from suffering the deadly outpouring of 2021 daily news.

Ancient Mariner