The Acerbic Catechumen: So when are you going to start apologizing? I can’t help, but notice you’ve so far talked about everything except yourself.

LYSID: I didn’t invite you to this part.

AC: I’ve never been one for politeness. So what about it?

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We may dispense with any concept of the supernatural. Over the past two hundred years, the materialist metaphysic has been put to rigorous testing—not just in the laboratory, but in the everyday, constant and reliable use of modern technology. Any violations of materialistic reality would have to be so infrequent as to be negligible and, to be efficient, eliminable.

What is left is to start from the bottom up: particles organize, through the process of materialistic functions. This occurs throughout the universe. On Earth, in the past three billion years, this has led to life. There is no essential difference between those functions governing living matter and those governing unliving matter.

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(LYSID is in a darkly lit piano bar. LYSID is in a tuxedo. LYSID is at the piano)

Folks, I know I’ve been playing some pretty heavy numbers tonight…the apologia, the whole philosophy trip…but now I want to change the mood a little, take it to a different level…

(LYSID plays a bit of “Girl From Ipanema”)

I don’t know if you’ve ever visited, but in recent years, the town of Meredith, New Hampshire has heavily invested in public art. They have what they call the Sculpture Walk, from the lakefront up to the Town Hall, works from local artists, sharing their visions made solid, providing a surprise for the stroller, a gift for the visitor. I love it. It puts a song in my heart—but I gotta be honest, I can’t sing that song. So tonight, I asked some very dear friends to come help me out.


(A curtain lifts, lights go up. The band launches into the tune of “Hungry Heart.” Bruce, circa 1980, steps up to the microphone and begins to sing:)

It dots the waterfront in Baltimore, Jack
Gives the place some class, makes the tourists come back
A eight-foot man made of buffalo bone
A glass Klein bottle that just keeps flowin’

Everybody wants some public art
Everybody wants some public art
You pay your taxes so you own a part
Everybody wants some public art

I saw it in a Kingstown park
Hammered copper pans, in the shape of a hen
Vandals took it and they ripped it apart
But they restored it down in Kingstown again

Everybody wants some public art
Everybody loves that public art
You pay your taxes so you own a part
Everybody wants some public art

(Bridge. Dancers dressed as the “Chicago Picasso” come out and do the Swim.)

Everybody likes a faceless man
Everybody likes a coral throne
Don’t make no difference what the critic says
Ain’t no town should be unadorned

(LYSID joins Bruce at the mic. Bruce screams “EVERYBODY NOW!”)

Everybody wants some public art!
Everybody needs that public art!
You pay your taxes so you own a part!
Everybody loves some public art!


(reprise the chorus…)

Perhaps the best solution to the Fermi Paradox is to flip it around and ask: given the vast expanse of apparently lifeless universe, why does humanity exist? The answer to that is: statistically, humanity does not exist. The odds against our existence are far too great. We can safely be rounded off.

I was always pretty sure we were a hoax anyway.