Just my imagination running away with me - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Just my imagination running away with me

Imagination. What a blessing to some.

Walt Disney, Tim Burton, Salvador Dali. What a curse to lack it. My attitude toward this can be summed up in the following story: I have a friend in Vienna by the name of Dolfi Andel. His first name is really Adolf, but imagine if he used that!

Dolfi is an architect running his own business called Projekthaus designing a variety of things, anything in fact he is called on to design. He uses his imagination on a daily basis and was upset in the extreme when a few years back Viennese youth demonstrated a startling lack of it when a branch of Starbucks opened in Vienna. They started going there to buy coffee. Imagine, in Vienna, where coffee has been brewed and sold since the 1680’s and where Viennese Coffee House Culture has been listed by UNESCO as part of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage” of that city since 2011, “The Kids” opted instead for a multinational chain cup of coffee.

I have nothing to grind against Starbucks. Not a bean in fact. The fact that its employees (and presumably owners) know so little about coffee that they insist on giving me a cup of coffee covered in chocolate powder when I ask for a Mocha rather than beans from that area brewed to my satisfaction (Only high grown beans, 10,000 metres or above, lightly roasted, finely ground, percolated with French Evian water, with a 1 cm square of cinnamon quill added, sweetened with Australian acacia blossom honey and frothed with steamed Provencal goats milk) is neither here nor there. Dolfi was simply livid that such a startling lack of imagination was being shown as was I. Incidentally, the fact that at the time of the last global crash Starbucks closed some 300 branches worldwide in some way cheered him up.

So you now have an idea of what constitutes a lack of imagination in my book. Come with me now to Europe where two high profile legal cases are now in the process of being sorted out. The first relates to one “Abu Hamza –al Masri” an Egyptian Sunni Muslim accused of inciting racial hatred in Britain, soon to be extradited to the US to face terrorism charges.

The second is the case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik currently on trial in Oslo. Abu Hamza is reported to have preached against the evils of western capitalism, and why not? The Koran forbids usury, the cornerstone of western capitalism. Anders Breivik claims as his motivation for mass murder his views against multiculturalism, citing his wish to prevent Europe becoming Islamicised.

So in his case, at least, he is intellectually still fighting the Crusades, seeing himself as some kind of Holy Warrior. Well then, why not put the pair of them in a locked room and let them sort it out between themselves? Whether or not we televise it is something yet to be decided. There probably isn’t enough room in the TV schedules between episodes of CSI, NCSI, et al to accommodate it anyway.

It would be a good way to sort these people’s differences out rather than by going through endless court appearances giving the crazed supporters of either one the lifeblood of publicity. Now I know you will have googled for pictures of Abu Hamza like good readers and found he has hooks in place of hands. So really, the only person he could engage in a fair fight would be Edward Scissorhands. So I propose Anders Breivik be given a short sword – the type used by Peter Pan – for his defense. That ought to even it up, thereby showing, you’ve guessed it, some imagination.

Genetic Modifications. These have been demonized for years by our current press as “Frankenstein foods/plants/science” delete as appropriate. But with a little imagination they could be seen for what they really are, a chance to keep scientists full occupied forever developing whatever crosses their minds.

I mean, medical science is one obvious area of research, but there are only so many diseases that need curing out there, and once they have all been sorted out (and their cures sold at the going rate) the world of science – not exactly synonymous with imaginative thinking in my book – will have to find itself new areas of development, for which the only boundaries will be those of the imagination.

So, let’s all chip in a few good ideas for consideration.

Let’s begin with the animal kingdom. By crossing elephants with octopi we could arrive with elephants with eight trunks and thereby dispose of the EU “bun mountain.”  By incorporating the genes for bio-luminescence into the wolves we hope to reintroduce into their original wild habitat, we could enjoy the sight of packs of day-glo coloured wolves roaming through the Carpathian Mountains by night.

We could even introduce the same gene into supplies of Guinness a week before St Patrick’s Day for effect. Bees could be bred at certain sizes so when out hunting pollen, their collective humming would be polyphonic. Michael Dorn (Worf from Star Trek the next Generation) could have his vocal chords analyzed and sampled, crossed with those of parakeets to produce birds who imitated human speech with a Klingon accent. The possibilities are limited only by the range of the human imagination.

Football teams, and by that I mean the game played with the feet in Europe not the one played largely with the hands in North America, could in future be comprised of clones of each nations greatest players, although one suspects that the German team would consist of nine Franz Beckenbauer’s, Gerd Muller and a goalkeeper. Thereby demonstrating once and for all that the German’s, well, play to win dammit.

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