Answers, the final!

Wow…due to all the stuff that went on last week and the busy work week the week before, I forgot to finish Ask Me Anything! August 2011. Sorry about that, folks. I suck. Kinda.

Anyway, Scotty has a couple that will result in a couple of lame answers, unfortunately. Not because they’re lame questions, though! Just my answers.

You’ve periodically extolled the virtues of spum, any thoughts on the various whisky families?

I know virtually nothing about whiskey. Seriously, I’ve had extremely little whiskey in my life. I occasionally have a bottle of Seagram’s 7 around because I like 7&7’s, and once in a great while, if I’m buying something at the Candy Store, I might pick up one of those teeny bottles of Jack Daniel’s. I wouldn’t really even know where to start! (I tried a small bottle of some kind of Scotch once, and I did not like it, at all. Maybe it was a bad brand, because I really hope that stuff isn’t representative of what those Scotsman have been drinking for centuries. If so, well…no wonder they’re an angry lot!)

Growlers-love them or not?

Unfortunately…I know absolutely nothing about growlers. Never partaken of one. I suppose I should, huh? Growlers are apparently big thick glass bottles that you fill with beer from a tap at a store that deals in such things. It sounds like the kind of good idea that can be around for years before I say, “Hey, I should check that out.” In fact, it is the kind of good idea that can be around for years before I say, “Hey, I should check that out”!

SKWaller also has a couple that I hope I can answer more fruitfully:

Why is it that on the days that I work the hardest, longest hours on editing jobs, I can’t sleep at night? I get really tired *and* sleepy (for me, they are different matters, entirely unrelated), but there I sit at 5am, unable to go to sleep. And then, when I finally do go to sleep, why do I dream about carrot cake in the shape of a rabbit? No, there are no drugs or alcohol involved.

Wow. Being up at 5am might be part of it!

But seriously, it just may be the case that this type of work just happens to fire up the part of your brain that’s the hardest to allow to run down to the point of sleep. It often takes me time to wind down from a shift at work; luckily I don’t work night shifts, so I don’t have to wind down in order to go to sleep. But when I worked in restaurants, I could never just go home and go to bed after a closing shift.

As to the dream about carrot cake…I got nothin’. Sorry!

Do trees feel pain? I used to think so (I read The Secret of Life of Plants back in the 1970s), but I’ve given this considerable thought.

Pain is a signal that something bad is happening and that we should either get away from what’s causing the pain, or fix whatever is wrong. Since trees (and other plants) can’t run away, or go to the doctor, what would be the purpose of them feeling pain?

What are your thoughts?

Wow…that’s some deep stuff. I’d have to say that trees do not feel any kind of ‘pain’, in any kind of way that we could relate to meaningfully. Trees certainly do have ways of responding to negative stimuli, but to describe that as ‘pain’ seems to me to possibly stretch the very concept of ‘pain’ beyond a breaking point.

I remember a day early in the year when I was a sophomore in high school, in Biology class. One student tried to argue that humans are inherently superior to trees, but the teacher was having none of it:

“Trees can’t move around!”
“Then they don’t get in accidents.”
“Trees can’t invent stuff!”
“But do trees really need anything other than what they have?”
“Trees can’t think! They have no emotions or thoughts!”
“Which means that trees don’t have to see the psychiatrist!”

And on. The teacher’s point was that we shouldn’t look down on trees, or take an approach to living things that is based on notions of superiority and inferiority. I tend to agree with this. Sometimes I think we just can’t help thinking along those lines, though — it’s almost hard-wired into us, probably as a leftover of our hunting-and-gathering forebears.

I don’t know what trees feel or think, or if they do feel or think in any way that approaches what we mean when we use those words. I do think that I’d like it if our trees were like Tolkien’s trees, and that they spoke to one another, and had deep, long memories.

OK, folks, I think that’s it. Sorry it took me a month and a half to wrap this up, but hey, I got there, and that’s what counts. Start thinking up your questions for the next go-round! February is only four months away!

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One Response to Answers, the final!

  1. Roger Owen Green says:

    I think your dweamer has watched too much Bugs Bunny. The wabbit and his cawwots have bluwwed in his mind.

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