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Counting to a Trillion

I've been thinking about the US National Debt for awhile. It seems that the number "trillion" is thrown around so much, it's either so large it's inconceivable to most Americans or we're just so used to the Tiger Woods', ARod's and LeBron's that millions are petty cash and billions are the new million. That would make trillion the new billion. Except that's preposterous. Have you ever tried to count to a million? How about a billion? I don't think you'd live long enough to count to a trillion. But seriously.

Look at this.
We have 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour: 3,600 seconds an hour.
24 hours a day: 86,400 seconds a day.
365 and 1/3 days a year: 31,564,512 seconds a year.
Let's say the average person lives to be 80. It's a nice round number that I'd like all my loved ones to surpass, but nonetheless: 2,525,160,960 seconds in a lifetime.

WE ONLY LIVE 2 BILLION SECONDS! To put that in perspective. If you wanted to count to a TRILLION, you'd have to count 396 numbers a second, for EVERY second of your life, to reach 1 trillion. I mean, I can count "1234567" before the next second ticks. That's it. I could maybe get to 10 each second. But 396?! Per second? For the rest of my life? Now that's just counting to a trillion.

As of 10:37 and 8 seconds Central Standard Time, the US National Debt stood at: $13,253,598,236,404. That's 13 TRILLION! So that means that based on my elementary math skills, it's roughly 13.2 times 396 to figure out how many numbers you'd have to count per second to make it all the way to 13 trillion. That would be 5,248 digits. You would have to count 5200 digits a second (thats, 12345678910,11,12,13,14...5,248 in your head) EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF YOUR LIFE to reach the number 13.253598236404 trillion.

Or to look at it differently, if you were to get paid for every second you lived, some poor schmuck (I guess China at this point) would have to write you a check for $5,248 EVERY SECOND in order to total 13 TRILLION DOLLARS by the time you died. I'm lucky to make 5 grand in 2 months! But EVERY SECOND?

Or what if you only get paid for how many seconds you actually work in a lifetime.
Average day we work: 8 hrs or 28,800 secs.
Work week: 40 hrs or 144,000 secs.
Work year: 50 weeks (leaving out 2 weeks vacation, unpaid) or 7,200,000 secs.
Avg working lifetime: Age 25-65 or 40 years or 288,000,000 secs.
Total earnings per "working" second: $46,019
That's enough to cover a family of four for a year. 40 g's a second is about the only way to become the world's first trillionaire.

Need more perspective? Alex Rodriguez signed a $275 million contract in 2007. For 10 years. That's $27.5 million a year. If a game is roughly 4 hours in duration, and a season is 162 games a year (not including injuries or the postseason), then that is 38,880 seconds of playing time (or "working" time) over the course of one season. That means ARod is paid around $707 per second he is playing (I know his contract is not structured based on seconds played but on other criteria, most of which, if not all of, are guaranteed). To reach the total of the US National Debt, he'd have to get paid 65 TIMES what he is making currently! If we're making $40,000 a year, we're paid approximately $.00625 per second. That's less than half a penny per second! ARod is making 113,120 times as much as us per second, and yet his salary is 65 times less than the rate of the national debt. Just for fun: we'd need to get paid 7,363,040 TIMES what we are currently making per "working" second of our lives.

I don't know if I'll ever take the time to count to a million. Certainly not a billion. And the fact that it's physically impossible for me to count to a trillion is incredibly sobering. Our national debt is gargantuan, and it isn't going anywhere but up. I don't know the way to solve it--tax cuts or higher taxes, spending cuts, freezes or increases. But I can tell you this: the debt has gone up $106,063,860 in the few minutes I've been writing this. That's 1/3 of ARod's contract in just a few minutes. Or in terms of life-seconds, it will take 3.35 years for you to live another 106,000,000 seconds.

If counting sheep doesn't work for our insomniacs, try imagining them as dollars in the national debt. That oughta knock you out. Nothing like counting to a trillion.

Or 13.


Grocery Positioning Service

Seriously, would someone please incorporate a GPS into the shopping experience! They can even use my suggested name: Grocery Positioning Service. All you have to do is type in the item you're looking for and it tells you the aisle to find it on. If this isn't helpful enough, you can press the "locate me" button and get literal "step by step" directions. It would even tell you the shortest and fastest routes depending on geriatric shopping cart congestion. Another lovely option would be the "check out the checkouts" feature, which would give you the estimated wait time at the checkout line like you're at Disney World. Heck, maybe they could implement Fast Passes. You could pay more and go through an express lane that isn't just limited by number of grocery items.

Today I went up and down 10 aisles, from the Asian aisle (seriously, it's called that) to the Mexican aisle (again, seriously) to the soup, then the canned veggies, then the mac & cheese and finally giving up at the coffee aisle. All for a tiny 3 oz jar of pimentos. After the scavenger hunt was over, I asked for help, and the lady pointed me to the aisle I presumed all along. Except there was only one brand, they weren't pulled to the front of the shelf, and they were playing hide-and-seek with the liquefied sun-dried peppers and canned pickled pickles (they had some weird juice in their bottled can). I don't like grocery shopping in the day because of the nonagenarians, but it's only magnified when my last resort is asking an employee for help and she's as lost as I. That's a good example of why humans are being phased out.

Now I know this might not seem like a wise business investment to provide to shoppers, but I'm telling you, I'd rent one depending on how much shopping I had to do. If I'm going to be spending $200 on groceries, what's another $5 anyway for a little sanity boost. If we provide motorized carts for the old people, why not offer GPS devices to the busy people? Now it shouldn't be mandatory; I'm not going to need it when I'm zipping in on my usual ice cream run. But if my shopping excursion involves a shopping cart, I want the option for a rent-able tracking device.

Tag and bag it.


Choose Your Own Adventure (the Gordon Ramsay Edition)

The following is loosely based off a true story. Well it was my dream last night. Up until the ending. That's where you come in. Choose your own adventure. Are you Tarantino, the Coen Brothers, Bruckheimer, Shamylan, Apatow, Speilberg, Abrams?

I'm in an Army cafeteria and Chef Ramsay shoots a guy in the shoulder for arguing with him. Later we are competing on Hell's Kitchen and standing around, and Chef pokes fun at my mustache. So I poke fun at his shooting another man in the shoulder. He gets upset, and kicks me off Hell's Kitchen. Next thing I know, I'm the new head coach of the New Jersey Nets (sorry, Avery Johnson). Then I lie down to go to sleep on a friend's tiled living room floor with a fan at my head. Gordon Ramsay shows up at the door.

Then I woke up.

Does he:

A. Apologize for kicking me off Hell's Kitchen.


B. Insult me.


C. Vanish.



Once You Go Black

I have a feeling there's nothing in the world that's at once as disgusting and fulfilling as using biore strips.

I suppose that's why someone thought this was a good idea:

Pooper Scooper

I think one of the most humbling things in life is picking up your dog's feces. Even with a bag between you and it, you still feel texture, shape, weight, and warmth. All while you're bent over with your face in it.

Oh, the things we do for love.


Tripping the Deck Therapeutic

So I have some more dog-related thoughts. I apologize for anyone looking for conservative-biased political jabber or a Zooey Deschanel fansite. This will be neither.

1. Zooey Deschanel is so hyper. I mean, sometimes I'm ok with her running figure-eights around my furniture, but other times I just want
her to chill out. I haven't had much success breaking this 6 month old pony, but I've found two things work (and neither one involves violence). When I sit at my desk she cuddles up underneath it on my feet. Apparently it's an instinctual thing that goes back to wolves and caves. The other thing that works is opening the balcony door. For some reason my pup loves people-watching. I guess I can't blame her with my neighbors. She's very ADD at times, and this only reaffirms it in my mind. She sits for hours outside sometimes just chilling. I think it's quite therapeutic.
2. Zooey always runs at the puddles in the parking lot. While this is invariably an indictment on my parenting skills concerning watering the poor pup, I took something else away from it. As much as it makes sense in her mind to drink the water, being dehydrated and all from our walks, I don't want her to drink it because it's probably not super healthy for her. So she pokes along thinking I'm a jerk for keeping her from these oases, when in reality it's for her good. Kind of like I am with God. I don't get why I can't do this or have that or be there, but He has an idea of what's better. Certainly more of an idea than I have. So when I can't figure out why certain things play out the way they do or don't play out the way I want, maybe I'll be slower to frustration and quicker to enjoy the ride.

3. I love Zooey Deschanel. And I like playing with her. But my favorite is just petting her and loving on her. She'd rather squeak a chew toy or gnaw off a finger. I can get really annoyed with her for simply being a puppy, always being hyper, and never just sitting at my feet. And yet again this made me think of God. First because
of His patience. But oh, how much I love the busy-work of Christianity, the church gatherings and bible studies and mission trips.
I also love the materialism of life, the stuff that keeps me busy and distracted and away from peace. I strive in so many areas of life, be they religious or worldly. And in themselves they aren't bad, but apart from God, they're pointless. God doesn't call us to strive, but to rest. To find His burden light. And instead of sitting at His feet, and just enjoying who He is, I wrestle and wiggle and nibble my way free. Instead of knowing His love, and being found content in it, I find myself in a freedom advertised as independence, but full of mischief and loneliness. I want my heart to crave His goodness. To taste His beauty. And I want the fun of the world to seem even a little less so, so that I can just enjoy sitting at his feet.


Her Inner-Wolf

Zooey's inner-wolf
is coming out.

It's official: she loves snow.


iRemote 1.0

I want to write about this because when it happens, I want to be able to go back and say, "that was my idea." So...

I want my iPhone to become a universal remote. You know you keep your iPhone with you wherever you go; I even have the Bible on it. With about 25 different languages too. That doesn't make me super pious, maybe super lazy, but it just shows how impressive this little gadget is. And since universal remotes have been around for ages in technology time, it shouldn't be impossible to create an app that solves this problem. I don't want a remote for the tv, and the ps3, and the dvd player, and the vcr, and the cable box, and the sound system--wait, VCR?! Maybe the phonograph too? Anyway. One gadget should do it, and with a real universal remote, there's still TWO gadgets, my iPhone and the real universal remote. So with iRemote, I should trademark the name, you could turn on the tv, turn on the sound system, turn on the cable box or the ps3, and watch whatever you want!

It's a gold mine. I can see the new AT&T commercial now.
Luke Wilson: "Wanna change the channel while you're on the phone, but Verizon won't let you? Try AT&T. It'll let you browse the web or change the channel all while you're talking on the phone. And you won't need TWO phones."

Yeah, maybe it's just fool's gold.


16 Weeks

I feel like one of the girls who puts pictures of her baby all over the internet. Having a cute puppy (cuter than almost all babies) has helped me understand that urge. (Though I'll never enjoy or condone the half-naked pictures of pregnant women and their bellies.)

So I have two insights tonight.

a. Apparently dogs love tuna as much as or more than any animal in the cat family. Please don't ask me why I had tuna for dinner, but nonetheless, Zooey Deschanel climbed into the trash can to eat the can of tuna.

b. Don't turn your back when the dishwasher is open.