Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhogs & Dreams

Happy Groundhog Day! I hope you're enjoying your best one ever.

Me? Not so much. An ice storm has been playing havoc with my life the last few days. A couple weeks ago it was a cold virus that was mucking things up. It's just always something, isn't it?

Groundhogs at least have the sense to sleep through the worst part of the year. I would if I could. Perhaps blogging is the next best thing. Perhaps someday someone will write a cute book to that effect and make a bunch of money as a result. It won't be me. I'll either be sleeping or blogging instead.

Were you lucky enough to see a groundhog today? Not me. But I *have* seen them often in the past. Sometimes they've even honored me with a personal visit to my yard.

Here's a photo I took of one such visitor back on July 12, 2009:

Alert readers will have already noticed the merciful lack of ice and snow in that shot.

I went to bed last night fully hoping to dream of groundhogs (which I prefer to call whistle pigs during face-to-face meetings), but... it wasn't to be.

Instead, I dreamt that I was watching a TV documentary about how nanotechnology was ruining the gambling industry. Apparently the makers of gambling devices had figured out a way to put undetectable nano chips in the roulette wheels and slot machine and everything else so that every game and spin of the wheel still looked random but was actually fixed. I can distinctly recall the narrator showing off a deck of fixed cards. By knowing what parts of the back of the card to press, he could turn any card into any card. Tap tap tap - 5 of clubs. Tap tap tap - the queen of hearts. Magic made real, thanks to science. But it was magic that made an entire industry disappear because nobody could tell the genuine from the contrived anymore....

I have no idea why I dreamt that. There wasn't a bit of fur in the entire thing.

Maybe it was inspired in part by a few recent stories I've come across involving the Internet.

The ease with which the Egyptian government blocked access to the Internet this week was disturbing.

The fact that there's a bill in Congress now that would give the president the authority to block our access to the Internet was even more disturbing - probably because I'm American and not Egyptian.

In the last two months or so, I've heard that the sales of watches and calendars are dropping because more and more people have smart phones that can tell them the time and day, and of course so much more.

Until a president decides they shouldn't know anything at all, and then... what?

A mad scramble in the attic in hopes of turning up an antique Timex that might get us through another few hours?

I've never been one to put all my eggs in one basket. I can remember a girl in 8th grade who asked me why I bought books when I could just go to the library and get whatever I wanted for free. I told her that the library didn't have everything I wanted, and besides... what guarantee was there that the library would always be there? Do we really want to depend entirely on the wisdom and good will of others for our information?

That was when Nixon was in the White House. Paranoia seemed less like a mental illness than a necessary survival mechanism.

Maybe I'm being irrationally paranoid now, but... perhaps there will yet come a day when even our strangest cuckoo clocks will once again serve a useful purpose.

I think we're a rich enough country to keep a few in storage - just in case.

Do you *really* want to depend on a single sleepy groundhog for ALL your Groundhog Day needs?

I didn't think so!

If there ever comes a time when you want to know the time, I'll be here.

Just shout down into the third hole from the corner of Whistle Pig Avenue and Told You So Boulevard.


  1. Your dream of technical progress putting gambling out of business strikes me as an allegory for cultural progress putting religious scams out of business.
    For surely the house is the winner in each game.
    Do you know the old B.C. comic where one character stands behind a rock that says LOTTERY? A second character asks, "What do the proceeds fund?" The first says, "Education." The second (you) asks, "Isn't that self-defeating?"

  2. Awwww.... such an adorable leetle critter....
    Hope your climate improves soon!

    Groundhog Day was just... eh? No groundhog sightings out here, either.

    But I really admire this entry! Your dream was fascinating, and I'm quite taken with how cleverly the fantasy themes are integrated into reality.... (as chilling as it is.)

    So, what time IS it, anyway?