all flockbinkers are treadknicious… and other salient observations

Forays into Logic, Whimsy, Meaning, Hilarity, and Nonsense.

Tag: Your Mom

Your Very First “Flockbinkers” Pop Quiz.

 

Alrighty, boys and girls, it’s time for a pop quiz. (You knew this was going to happen eventually, and i shall be most disappointed if i find that you’ve not been paying attention.)  Put your books away, take out a pencil and a sheet of paper, and let’s begin.


Question #1:  Which of the following are NOT branches of philosophy?  Select all that apply.

A.  Epistemology

B.  Axiology

C.  Astrology

D.  Metaphysics

E.  Betaphyshics

F.  Ethics

G.  Justin Bieber’s Greatest Hits

H.  Logic

I.  Endocrinology

J.  Whatever Eckhart Tolle’s latest book is about

 

Question #2:  In which of these places are you NOT likely to find real philosophy?

A.  The dialogues of Plato

B.  The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas

C.  The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus of Ludwig Wittgenstein

D.  The poetry of Alexander Pope, Matthew Arnold and T.S. Eliot

E.  The “Intro to Philosophy” class at many state universities

F.  The “Philosophy” section at Barnes and Noble

G.  David Letterman’s interviews with Julia Roberts

H.  Facebook memes (with or without the obligatory misspellings, incorrectly used apostrophes and grammatical monstrosities)

I.  In the second stall from the end, in the men’s room at the Imperial Golden House #2.

J.  The pontifications of that barista who likes to begin every statement with, “Well, MY philosophy is….”

 

Question #3:  Which of the following are NOT functions of logic?

A.  Increasing clarity and reducing misunderstanding

B.  Creating a clear path from evidence to conclusion

C.  Guaranteeing the truth or falsity of propositions

D.  Furnishing a set of tools by which you can sound all fancy and stuff

E.  Creating an environment in which the Darwin Awards are possible

F.  Enabling you to demonstrate that your opponent is an idiot

G.  Enabling you to (inadvertently) demonstrate that you are an idiot

H.  Slicing, dicing, and making julienne fries

I.  Forging an insanely dense, turgid and confused mass of incomprehensible language where a perfectly ordinary conversation might have worked just as well

J.  Enabling the speaker to introduce nonsense terms like “treadknicious” and “inflammable” into the discussion

 

Question #4:  Complete the following sentence. You may select more than one answer. You may NOT select answer (G).  Somebody’s been hacking my WordPress…

“All Flockbinkers are ___________________ .”

A.  nonexistent

B.  extinct

C.  doing quite well, thank you, and living in a condo in Miami Beach

D.  rather a ridiculous thing to be taking up precious conversational time with, don’t you think? I mean, honestly.

E.  of uncertain ontological status

F.  related in ways we do not fully understand to wamwams

G.  symptomatic of The Blogger’s unique psychopathology

H.  treadknicious

I.  your mom

J.  oh, wow, that last one was pretty mature, wasn’t it

 

Question #5:  True, false, neither, or both?

“The present king of France is bald.”

A.  False: French men don’t go bald

B.  False: There is currently no French king.

C.  Do we mean “publicly bald” or “actually bald”?  I’ve heard he wears a hairpiece.

D.  Neither: There is currently no French king

E.  Yeah, okay, so somebody’s been channeling Bertrand Russell

F.  Bertrand Russell shmertrand russell, it’s a straightforward case of a bogus question involving a non-referential term

G.  I have no idea what those last two guys are talking about, i’m going with “true.”

H.  Okay, so there’s only one left, i’ll take “both.”

I.  It can’t possibly be “both.” A statement cannot be both true and untrue at the same time. That’s basic Aristotelian logic.

J.  What do i know from Aristotelian logic?  I was a sohsh major.  I’m going with “both.”

 

Question #6:  Select all that apply.

The term ‘ontology’…

A.  means “an area of study that deals with being or identity”

B.  is a branch of philosophy similar to metaphysics

C.  is a branch of philosophy that is sometimes presented as a subcategory under metaphysics

D.  is a branch of philosophy under which metaphysics is sometimes presented as a subcategory

E.  Let me get this straight, some of you people actually talk like this on a regular basis?

F.  sounds almost like a branch of medicine

G.  is the science that studies new dinosaurs

H.  Get it? “Paleontology” studies prehistoric dinosaurs, and “ontology” studies the new ones.

I.  I’m guessing here, does it mean the study of elderly female relatives? I’m totally guessing.

J.  rhymes with “shmontology,” thus making possible the poem: “ontology, shmontology.”

 

Question #7:  Complete the following sentence. You may select more than one answer.

“The unicorn is an entity that ___________________ .”

A.  shares certain attributes in common with the flockbinker

B.  can be found throughout world literature and myth

C.  is of uncertain ontological status

D.  Dude, the same people who talk about unicorns do not use the word “entity.”

E.  can be used to trip up The Good Reader into saying self-contradictory things

F.  is often pictured communing with a virgin on medieval tapestries

G.  if it existed, would be kind of cool

H.  if it existed, would be a horror past all imagining

I.  is a favorite animal among those who self-identify as “horse-people”

J.  “…has a single horn growing out of its forehead. Except, well, you see, it doesn’t, because unicorns aren’t real. Well, it’s complicated. Darn it, you tripped me up again!”

 

Question #8:  Complete the following syllogism.

Some broomshovelers are hobnobbicus.

All broomshovelers are froombicious.

Therefore, _____________________ .

A.  some things that are hobnobbicus are also froombicious.

B.  You have got to be kidding me.

C.  No, it’s a serious logic exercise.

D.  How can something with nonsense words be a logic exercise?  That’s totally illogical.  heh heh.

E.  No, it’s not totally illogical. Non-referential terms can be used as placeholders to illustrate various kinds of logical relationships.

F.  Whatever.

G.  I’m guessing that “whatever,” in the present instance, means “i’m not capable of grasping the nuances of structured philosophical discourse.”

H.  Yeah, well, i’ve got your structured philosophical discourse right here, pal.

I.  Hey, can y’all take the argument offline, please?  I’m trying to figure out the answer to the dude’s question.

J.  I just got here. Sorry i’m late, everybody! Hey, did i hear somebody say “broomshovelers”?  Funny!  I’m actually studying that at the community college. Small world.

 

Question #9:  True, false, neither, both, or both neither and both?

“A flockbinker does not have to exist in order to be treadknicious.”

A.  That’s silly. How can something that doesn’t exist be “trebulishus” or anything else?

B.  You have to pick one of the five options he gave you.

C.  I did. What part of “that’s silly” doesn’t pretty much mean “false”?

D.  We’re all philosophers here. Precision is kind of a big deal.

E.  Guys, The Blogger here. Can you please refrain from using up all the answers with your bickering?  I only get to put in ten answers per question.

F.  You’re The Blogger, how do you not get as many answers per question as you want to include?  Hmmmm?

G.  Hey fellas, i’ll take a stab at it. “Neither.”  ‘Cause a flockbinker doesn’t exist and also isn’t treadknicious.

H.  Oh my word. Kill me now.

I.  What, that wasn’t the right answer? I thought it made perfect sense.

J.  Let me try. I’m going with “both neither and both,” on account of it sounds like the most complicated answer, and it’s a complicated question.

J 1/2.  He only included that one to be absurd. I’m pretty sure he didn’t expect anyone to select it.

J 2/3.  Well, it’s my answer and i’m sticking to it.

J 4/5.  By the way, o mighty Blogger, don’t think we haven’t noticed that you’re stretching out the answers.

 

Question #10:  Fill in the blank. Choose all answers that apply.

“There are two kinds of people in the world: dog-people and horse-people. We only threw in the dog-people to make the question seem more involved than it really is. You can lead a horse-person to water, but you cannot  ________________________ .”

A.  make him drink it.

B.  make his horse drink it.

C.  take the risk of attaching either the pronoun ‘he’ or the pronoun ‘she’ to ‘horse-person,’ because ‘horse-person’ is a gender-indefinite term.

D.  Well, traditionally, ‘he’ has been used as the gender-indefinite pronoun in English.

E.  Your respect for tradition is endearing! I bet you knit your own sweaters, too. Welcome to the 21st century! We’ve kind of moved beyond sexist grammar.

F.  There’s nothing ‘sexist’ about having an indefinite pronoun that happens to be the same word that, in other contexts, would be a masculine pronoun.

G.  The Blogger: Fellas, fellas, please!  Take the argument outside.  I’m really trying to run a quiz here.

H.  “Fellas”…?  What makes you think we’re both men?

I.  I was using the word ‘fellas’ in its gender-inclusive sense.

J.  The word ‘fellas’ does not have a gender-inclusive sense, dude. It’s a masculine-reference noun, admittedly idiomatic in nature but nevertheless conventionally masculine.

J.5.  You called me “dude.”

J.7.  What?

J.8.  You called me “dude.”  How do you know i’m a fella?

J.9.  I read your bio, dude.

J.995.  Oh, that’s right.  Blast.  Thought i had you.

 

 

 

A Meditation on the Naming of Winter Storms

Not all of the posts to this blog directly concern flockbinkers. As you have doubtless observed, a couple of the posts have been about Scotsmen—three of them—seated, somewhat inexplicably, on a fence. One has been about a fellow named Elvis Wu, who apparently was the Last Philosophy Major. These posts deal with all manner of groovy stuff, including logic and ontology, absurdity and nonbeing, reality and myth, and the nature of rational argument.  The flockbinkers are gravy.

[Editor’s Note:  Well, no: actually ‘flockbinkers’ are not ‘gravy.’  Honestly, people.  It was intended as a figure of speech.  You know, something like, “Amid all this exploration of arcane philosophical topics, how nice to have the flockbinkers around to add a touch of lighthearted surrealism to an otherwise strange and whimsical body of material.  Oh, wait.”]

Therefore, Good Reader, it should come as no surprise to you that the present entry deals with the manner in which winter storms are named.  It fits right in.  Flockbinkers, fence-sitting Scotsmen, Chinese-American philosophy grads, winter storms.  You know, that sort of thing.

It’s a pretty recent habit, this tendency to give names to the wintry equivalent of hurricanes. Those of us who have been around for a few years can count on the fingers of one hand how many years ago it’s been since the idea of naming winter storms would have sounded goofy to the average American. But the Weather Channel has eased us into the mindset, and, like proverbial frogs in a kettle of water being slowly brought to a boil, we are beginning to get used to the frankly ridiculous practice of… let me say this slowly, for emphasis… NAMING… WINTER… STORMS. Giving them NAMES. Giving names to SNOWSTORMS. I’m hoping that if i keep repeating the same thing over and over in slightly different ways, and making judicious use of all-caps, i can help you see how immensely silly it all is.

A Facebook friend of mine put it well a couple of days ago. Here, i’ll call him “Adam” to disguise his identity.

Adam:  Winter Storm “Quantum”? This is why I can’t take the Weather Channel seriously anymore. Their marketing strategy is just too obnoxious. The National Weather Service doesn’t name these storms. The Weather Channel people are literally making this garbage up and the names aren’t even good!  End Rant.

Amen!  Well said, “Adam” (if i may address you by the name i made up for you to safeguard your privacy).

Indeed, after reading “Adam’s” post, i got to thinking: this naming of winter storms is only going to get more and more ridiculous as all of the relatively sensible names get used up. I mean, in the case of hurricanes there are only a few per season, but with these winter storm ‘Matilda’-type weather events coming hard and fast on each other’s heels, they’re going to exhaust the available pool of names in no time flat.

Here’s my prediction.  Two years from now, after all the even remotely plausible names have been snatched up, we will finally get to see what the bottom of the barrel looks like:

Winter Storm Wolfman
Winter Storm Bogeyman
Winter Storm Sauron
Winter Storm Morgoth
Winter Storm “The White Witch”
Winter Storm Voldemort
Winter Storm Darth Vader
Winter Storm Zombie Attack
Winter Storm Johnny Depp
Winter Storm Ahhnold Schwarzenegger

[…a name that one faction within the meteorological community will find just a BIT precious…  “You don’t have to spell the name phonetically, we get it!”]

[This odd little tiff will lead to a delightful string of The Sound of Music-themed storms]

Winter Storm The Von Trapp Family Singers
Winter Storm The Lonely Goatherd
Winter Storm Sixteen Going on Seventeen
Winter Storm Do-Re-Mi
Winter Storm Climb Ev’ry Mountain
Winter Storm Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

[..after which, there will follow an odd but not entirely unpleasing series of winter storms with “rise and shine”-sounding names…]

Winter Storm A Complete Breakfast
Winter Storm Cuppa Joe
Winter Storm Instant Oatmeal
Winter Storm Dunkin’ Donut
Winter Storm Toaster Pastry

[…which latter “storm” will turn out to be a somewhat pathetic flurry that dissipates almost before it’s gotten under way, much to the egg-facedness of the Weather Channel folks, and in a feeble attempt to salvage their reputations, they name the next storm…]

Winter Storm Pop-up Toaster Pastry

[…and things get increasingly abstract from this point onward…]

Winter Storm Molecular Biology
Winter Storm Planetary Astrophysics
Winter Storm Logical Inference
Winter Storm Syntactically Incoherent
Winter Storm Zen
Winter Storm The Sound of One Hand Clapping
Winter Storm Atman Is Brahman
Winter Storm Wes Anderson Movie
Winter Storm Octopus’s Garden

[…which, interestingly, leads to a new series of storms with musical references for names…]

Winter Storm I Am the Walrus
Winter Storm I Am the Eggman
Winter Storm While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Winter Storm John, Paul, George, and Ringo
Winter Storm Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
Winter Storm The Oxford Comma
Winter Storm The Rolling Stones, But Mostly Just Mick and Keith
Winter Storm Led Zeppelin

[…which last entry nearly doesn’t make the cut, because, interestingly, it really almost sounds like something that a winter storm should be called–an actually kind of sensible criterion that you’d think would come into play more often in this process–but which, by this time, will have become the very last factor on anybody’s mind…]

[…and it’s followed by…]

Winter Storm It’s a Beautiful Day

[…in the wake of this one a heated controversy arises over whether it is even intelligible to name a winter storm “It’s a Beautiful Day”–the irony just seems a bit too rich–the result of which is that a dissenting faction retroactively dubs the blizzard a simplified version of the same thing, “Winter Storm B-Day”–prompting the first group to roll their eyes SO impatiently and complain that it’s a band name, and it really doesn’t make sense if you shorten it, and furthermore, the second group CLEARLY doesn’t get the subtleties of naming a storm…]

[…after which things get kind of ugly, as the two faced-off meteorological communities begin naming storms terrible things simply in order to insult the opposing group…]

Winter Storm Completely Missing the Point
Winter Storm Professional Incompetence
Winter Storm Where Did You Get Your Degree in Meteorology, I Bet It Came With Your Happy Meal
Winter Storm Your Mom
Winter Storm Why Don’t You Just Shut Up
Winter Storm Somebody Got Out of the Wrong Side of the Bed This Morning
Winter Storm I Know You Are But What Am I
Winter Storm Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones But Words Can Never Hurt Me

[…at which point the public outcry rises to such a fever pitch, that everybody concerned reverts to the rather common-sense position that, hey, you just really don’t need to be naming winter storms…]

Perhaps you find my predictions a bit fanciful?  Just wait, Dear Reader.  Give it two years.  That’s the winter of 2016/2017.  If we don’t begin seeing names like “Winter Storm Disgruntled Postal Worker,” and “Winter Storm I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up,” then contact me and i’ll refund you every penny of the money that you’ve paid to subscribe to this blog.

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