Sunday, November 25, 2012

Local History Part 1: Scientific Prehistory

It has come to my attention that my internet tubes are spilling out all over everywhere, dousing literally an entire planet with the untreated sewage that is my mind. Ha, ha. Sucks to be you.

I was going to write more, but that really covers the important concepts.

UPDATE: Ok, fine. What actually came to my attention is that there is a whole world of people that do not live in Texas, and their lives are so blighted that they have never been blessed with Texas History classes in school. Well, I, a jan-u-wine Texan, will be putting an end to your sorry ignorance with a multiple part series on Local History, as understood by the only people who really matter, our robot overlords Texans. For those in the sewage overflow zone (the part of the world that is not Texas) local happens to be Austin, Texas.

The founding of our great city is a tale shrouded in myth, which means, like all Texan myths, it is absolutely true. However, the mere founding of one city in the middle of Texas is hardly the beginning of what history can tell us, and through the power of Science we can know that the world existed even before the historical records housed in the University Library.

Now, Science applies to Texas just like everywhere else, except whenever performing scientific calculations about or relating to Texas, you have to introduce an additional factor. Since everything is bigger in Texas (Science Fact), all calculations must be multiplied by 5.

Science, in the guise of a nice German fellow named Einstein, and not the bagel guy, a different one, tells us that everything in the universe, and even space itself, is relative. Except for Texas, which has existed since existence was possible and will continue to exist long after the heat death of the universe. Texas is an invariant throughout all of space and time.

So in the beginning was the big bang, but that involves lots of math and not a lot of pretty pictures, so we will just skip over it.

A little while later there was a slowly spinning cloud of dust and such floating off in space about to form a solar system. This solar system, mind you, not some damn foreigner solar system, cause we don't have much truck with the exotic ways of Canadians or whatever even more baffling beings may exist in this vast and awesome cosmos.

Smack dab in the center of this cloud, which sat smack dab in the center of all existence, around which the material that would later become the sun, eight planets, and an assortment of other space gunk, was a single, irregularly shaped dust cloud 773 miles wide and 790 miles high. Beneath the dust was oil, above the dust was cattle. Now, this was still outer space, so them cattle didn't last long, and what I reckon we ended up with was a vast primeval killing field of suffocated cattle unable even to decompose in the vacuum of space. But they were there, tied to the land as surely as a side of rice is tied to a side of refried beans.

Around that central core the earth formed. Now, this ain't a geology lesson, but the short version of that is that there were a bunch of volcanoes, and volcanoes are pretty neat, and the rest of the world eventually coalesced around Texas. Then they started really giving her the once over and were all, "oh boy, they sure have some fine clear springs and aquifers, maybe the rest of the planet should develop liquid water" and they did, but it was just a little bit off, which is why no experience in a human life can come close to sipping cold spring water atop a lake on a hot summer day in Texas. Then the rest of the earth did all the other stuff, which isn't important because Texas had already done it all first, bigger and better, and a whole lot of this story is just Texas sitting clean and easy while the rest of the world tries to get its act together.

Now we get to the first point of contention in my tale, the origin of life. It is a well known fact that every fishin tale has two sides, and this fishin tale ain't no different. I will attempt to play the neutral arbiter, even though I am know to have, shall we say, certain sympathies. My best intentions aside, that means I gots opinions, and everyone knows that a Texan and his opinions are more inseparable than a boy and his dog, because when the dog goes rabid you gotta put her down, but when a Texan's opinions start frothing at the mouth there ain't a damn thing to be done about it.

Now, there ain't no doubt that life got started, after all, I am sitting here now. But if you just happen to be out in West Texas, there stands no loyal Texan who will not swear up and down and sideways that life began in a dried up ol' creek bed a few miles west of San Angelo, and his cousin's brother-in-law saw it happen, swear for true. If, on the other hand, you happen to be moseyin along through East Texas, you will get the same swears and the same eyewitnesses in support of the proposition that life began right there in the heart of downtown Lufkin, in the alley behind the coffee shop on 1st Street. I have my inclinations, but as your guide through the feud I will take no stand here, except to say that a number of foreign scientists from exotic places like North Dakota and whatever other countries exist in this world have weighed the data impartially and found that the Science equally supported both sides, implying that perhaps life began twice. Now I don't much cotton to that notion, since a man should pick a side and stick to it without all that pussy-footin around.

Anyway, it is clear enough that life got started right here in Texas, and like cowboy hats, Dairy Queen and Blue Bell Ice Cream it spread like wildfire once the lesser places caught wind of what we were cooking up up here. Now at first it was just tiny bacteria too small to see. These little buggers had a devilishly hard time of it, since being too small too see made it difficult to do the sorts of things all life needs to do, like tie lasso knots and drill for oil, but here in Texas we barely noticed, since a man ain't much more than a boy until he has faced some adversity. But up in New Jersey they just wouldn't stop complaining so we told them to try fixing it themselves. And we do give 'em credit for trying, but the notion they came up with, de-evolution, was not a very effective solution. They all de-evolved into a thin layer of smoggy grease-scum that hangs in the air even today. Well, a good Texan is a good neighbor so we stopped by and showed them how to do it right, with evolution, and before long you had everything from slime molds to trilobites roaming free across the planet.

Well, then the other parts of the world started getting jealous because Texas always had the biggest and best life forms, so they went off and evolved them some dinosaurs. Now, dinosaurs are pretty neat, but Texas was content to let the rest of the world have its fun, except then they started mouthing off about it all the time, and if there is one thing a Texan cannot stand, it is a braggart. So Texas flooded everything from the Corpus coastline to the edge of El Paso (also flooded some nearby states as well, but that's what happens) and evolved the biggest sort of dinosaurs-- the underwater dinosaurs. Now, in retrospect this may have been a mistake since it seems having the biggest and best dinosaurs was the only thing keeping the rest of the world feeling good about themselves, and when we showed them up they fell into a bit of a funk. And then they hurled a meteor at Texas, but it missed and hit just off the coast of Veracruz, but still managed to wipe out a good chunk of life on earth.

Except for the mammals, like hogs and cattle and ranchers. They survived. Then they had some real lean years for the next sixty five million years, but ranchers know how to tighten their belt and toughen up when times get hard because they know that fate is as fickle as anything, and that Texas will always endure.

Then the lean times ended and human civilization really got started. But the chili is good and simmering, the cattle are quieting down, and the moonlight has been shining for hours, so we will leave our tale here and rest up. Tomorrow will be another long, hot Texas day.

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