Machines vs Trees, Round 2

This shit is epic. So choose your own epic soundtrack :

Based on the results of December’s reader poll, I assume that not too many of you are going to have a hard time with that call. Actually, considering the crippling stalemate that our reality has been locked in ever since round 1, I sort of expected that more of you would be on the fence. To my surprise, the only write-in declarations of allegiance from the poll were for “family” and “cows.”

manson cow

Glad we got that settled.

Oh, right, I almost forgot: the bleeding heart who voted for “mechanical trees.” Don’t worry, buddy. Epic soundtrack-wise, Rivers of Nihil has you covered:

Yes, would that we could all exist in a world where the Metal Detector’s chalice, floweth over though it may, might hold enough liquid hate to sustain the gear-driven and the chlorophyll-powered denizens of our reality alike (It’s not blood. It’s liquid hate. I’m tired of explaining this.). But as far as I can tell, mechanical trees don’t get any realer than whatever the hell this NPR clip is about, or this thing:

Which, cool though it may have been in the 1800s, isn’t exactly the metallest magic trick you’ve ever seen. It’s not even as metal as this:

Besides which, it’s not as though anyone voted for “boreal machines.” Actually, no one voted for machines. Pretty disappointing actually. I mean, you didn’t have to decide which was more metal. That’s the Metal Detector’s job. You just had to make a display of arbitrary partisanship with your mouse, which is the same thing you do every time you see the bonsai your friend made on Instagram, or the new beltsander they think you need a picture of. All these results really do is go to show how far our arborocentric culture has to go until anything that takes a battery will feel safe on our streets. So much for democracy.

So then, machines. I guess it’s you and me against them. And because we’re metal, we’re going to hit trees where they’re hardest. No, not in the trunk. In the ancientness.

After several months of processing, the Metal Detector has determined that the one most metal thing about trees is that they are truly ancient, and being ancient is truly metal. How ancient? This ancient.

That thing in the second half is disqualified, because it’s not a tree, it’s a root. But still, we’re talking four figures here. That’s not just old. And because you haven’t advanced through enough stages of my religion for me to tell you that the Andromeda Galaxy is actually a Cuisinart, old is about as good as most machines can do, especially if Apple has anything to say about it.

Except Apple didn’t have anything to say about this:


It may look more like a tree than a machine, but if you want to see how it works, click here. And although it is not as old as the Methuselah Tree, the Antikythera Mechanism is just as ancient, because ancientness is measured not in years, but by how many doom metal bands name themselves after you.


The decision still stands on a razor’s edge (yeah, that’s right, razors are made out of metal, you noticed it’s not just a cliche, right?). Closing arguments. Trees, you’re the flavor of the week. You go first.

Ah, yes. The “I burn” defense. The “sets everything on fire” gambit. Of course it’s metal, but isn’t it a little sentimental? Maybe that’s how the trees got all of you on their side. Well, machines have no appeal to sentimentality, so I guess this is where we throw in the towel. Well fought, my deciduous foes, and good . . . hold on. What is that? What is that sound?


Sentimental? Maybe. Ancient? Now and forever.

So is that sap? Or is it tears?

vending tree END

Thank you to everyone who has come back after these months of silence. It gets real again next week.

Thanks to Röbërt Gärdnër for the burning Christmas tree.

Original vending machine photo by Dwight Burdette. Used under Creative Commons License.

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