Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, May 13, 2021

At one point, I took a shine to the phrase “thanks in advance”. Strictly for email/online communication, which was appropriate since that’s exactly the mode of communication for which it was created.

Then I thought about it: Is it possible to express an emptier sentiment? It’s positioned as a compliment, but really, it’s intended as a subtle spur to encourage action. Thanking someone “in advance” clearly implies a reward for results pending, whatever and whenever they are. It’s basically an asynchronous pat on the back. Worse, that non-specific delivery gives the phrase something of an impersonal feel — which is exactly the case when it’s used as a sign-off for a question posted in a public forum. All that adds up to another example of online communications paradoxically diffusing the impact of a message.

So, obviously, I’ve given up on advancing my thank-yous. Folks may assume that I’ll give an A for effort, and the promise of a sincere thanks — upon delivery of results.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/13/2009 07:51pm
Category: Internet, Wordsmithing
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I actually cooked last night: A steak dinner. And while it’s not the first time I’ve ever grilled a slab of beef, it’s been a good while. Plus, the marinading/tenderizing took most of the day, and even though I didn’t have to do anything but stick it in the fridge for several hours prior to the fire, the process felt preoccupationally-intensive.

All of which is probably what brought to mind the following moldy-oldie comedic essay about a man, his steak, and the philosophy between them. It’s by Michael J. Nelson, alum from the dearly-departed “Mystery Science Theater 3000″. This was a post-MST3K work by Nelson, for a short-lived comedy website called timmybighands.com (in existence in 2001, now long since de-funked). I managed to save a copy for myself; there’s a small handful of replications around the Web, so consider this a minor attempt at further spreading the quirky word. Enjoy.

Socratic Dialogue
….with a Steak
by Michael J. Nelson

Mike Nelson: Steak, why is there you?

Steak: I simply exist. There is no why.

Mike Nelson: Steak? Think back to 20 years ago, why do you think you existed then?

Steak: I can’t remember back to 20 years ago.

Mike Nelson: What do you think that might mean?

Steak: I didn’t exist 20 years ago?

Mike Nelson: Very good, Steak. If you didn’t exist then, and you do exist now, how is it you came to exist?

Steak: You bought me.

Mike Nelson: Could I have bought you if you didn’t exist?

Steak: No.

Mike Nelson: Then who made you?

Steak: The man in the white hat?

Mike Nelson: And how did he make you?

Steak: He formed me from the Mother Steak.

Mike Nelson: What is the Mother Steak?

Steak: The source of all Steak. All my friends in the counter, they came from the Mother Steak, except the pork chops.

Mike Nelson: And who made the Mother Steak?

Steak: I… I don’t know.

Mike Nelson: Think.

Steak: A weed…

Mike Nelson: Are you green like a weed?

Steak: No. I am red.

Mike Nelson: What else is red?

Steak: Other steaks.

Mike Nelson: Think harder, Steak.

Steak: The bricks where the man in the white hat is.

Mike Nelson: Are you hard like a brick?

Steak: No.

Mike Nelson: What else is red, but not hard like a brick?

Steak: A dog?

Mike Nelson: Steak.

Steak: A hat?

Mike Nelson: Steak!

Steak: A shoe…

Mike Nelson: Steak, is the inside of a cow red but not hard like a brick?

Steak: Yes… (pause) The Mother Steak is the inside of a cow?

Mike Nelson: Yes, and…

Steak: And I am the inside of a cow!

Mike Nelson: Yes. And what do I do with the inside of a cow?

Steak: Sprinkle it with salt and pepper, perhaps a little olive oil, then throw it on a very hot fire?

Mike Nelson: No. I let it go, back to the Mother Steak.

Steak: Really?

Mike Nelson: No. Just kidding. Good-bye Steak.

Steak: (screams and sizzles)

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/13/2009 11:10am
Category: Comedy, Creative, Food, Internet, Pop Culture, TV
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