Minute Distinctions


Image result for dinosaur never forget


And if the meteorite had arrived ten minutes earlier, or ten minutes later, it would still no doubt have inflicted devastation, but the dinosaurs would still be here and you wouldn’t.

The time of arrival sixty-six million years ago was apparently quite important.

(h/t The Browser)



File:Atomic bomb 1945 mission map.svg


Reminds me of the fate of Kokura, the intended target for the second atomic bomb. Tardiness, clouds, and a faulty fuel pump conspired in its favor. The B-29 spent fifty minutes making three attempts before heading to Nagasaki.



Chronos Quartet

1. Time Regained

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I knew a gentleman, who was so good a manger of his time, that he would not even lose that small portion of it, which the calls of nature obliged him to pass in the necessary-house; but gradually went through all the Latin poets, in those moments. He bought, for example, a common edition of Horace, of which he tore off gradually a couple of pages, carried them with him to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them down as a sacrifice to Cloacina: this was so much time fairly gained; and I recommend you to follow his example.

– Lord Chesterfield (h/t @rfreed314)


2. Time Out Of Mind

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I spent a bit of time this year trying to teach what a light year is. I don’t think I quite conveyed its ingenious specificity, perhaps because I can’t quite grasp it myself.

Much like, when transferring my teacher retirement account from New York City to Massachusetts, I was told that processing the paperwork would take – and this is certainly the most extraordinary unit of time I know – “sixty to seventy business days.”


3. Resource Room

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“Your Scariest Resource.”

This struck me as an interesting way to think about time, and quite possibly true.

So I began reading with interest until I realized I’d misread the title, actually “Your Scarcest Resource.”

This is plainly untrue. I’m no Morris Day, but I’ve got more time than wheat or gold or light sweet crude.


4. Man In a Shed

I have enough time, anyway, to check my junk mail folder, where I found this:


As John Lennon said:

Life is what happens when you’re making shedplans.



Time Crunch


The madly complicated modern world was something I took little interest in.

– Bob Dylan, Chronicles


Believe me, Bob, when my check for SEK 8,000,000 arrives, I’m out of here too.

Now then.

For me, the defining problem of the modern world – apart from Doom – is this: you sit down to do something, and while trying to get it done you uncover subsidiary tasks, and by the end of whatever time you’ve allocated to have gotten something done, nothing is done and there is now more to do.

There is, of course, no hope. But I just learned this word, which helps:



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Rock of Ages


I saw a kid in the hallway wearing a t-shirt with a c. 1983 Def Leppard graphic. I got such a kick out of this I told her I love the band (not exactly true, but also considerably distant from untrue).

It later occurred to me that her wearing a Def Leppard t-shirt would be the equivalent of me, as a kid, wearing a Bill Haley and the Comets t-shirt.


I mentioned the above encounter to Missionjmk, who has forgotten more than I will ever learn about music. He shared with me a splendid anecdote – StoryCorps Hall of Fame-worthy, if you ask me – about U2’s singer and bassist hitchhiking in America. They were picked up by a young man blasting his car stereo.

Rise up, gather round for Bono’s account:

It sounded like the end of the world, it sounded like Godzilla was stomping right alongside the car. There was the most incredible bass drum and snare sound I’d ever heard… I looked at Adam, and Adam looked at me. We had never heard anything so loud. It was Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and it sounded about twice as loud as “Where the Streets Have No Name.” We took note! I think we both made a mental note that next time we had better go after a more sonic experience on our records.

(From U2: A Diary, by Matt McGhee)

Bono shouldn’t be too hard on himself, at least about that. “Where the Streets Have No Name” forever dwells – along with Def Leppard’s “Photograph” – on Intro Olympus.


PS it’s also pretty much how I enter the classroom:

Time (Clock of the Heart)


1. Life’s Span

Chuck Klosterman noted his grandmother was born before the Wright Brothers made history, and died after it got boring to go to the moon.

His conversation with Marc Maron, and some other stuff, has got me thinking about time.

For example, I just watched the trailer for the movie Dunkirk, out next summer.

I once worked in an office in which an older gentleman (my third favorite Belgian, in fact) would sometimes stop by. One day we were chatting – presumably about something unrelated to work – when he told me he’d been at the Dunkirk evacuation.

This seemed extraordinary. I know, actuarially speaking, it’s entirely possible to encounter someone who’s been at a major WWII event, but still: in my head “Dunkirk” is like “Gettysburg.”*


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