- 10 September 1997
- She Loves Me / Not: Twenty-Three Possibilities Read From Two Hundred and Fifty-Three Petals
- She Loves Me / Not: Twenty-Three Possibilities Read From Two Hundred and Fifty-Three Petals should really be viewed in the PDF format. Since the technical details are too much bother for some people, I've also included an online image. For some reason, though, I decided to do a silly versions of the piece as an animation. This takes too much time to view over the Internet and really isn't worth the wait; sometimes I don't know what gets into me.
- 11 September 1997
- Talking Like a Dead Man
- A charming lyric coloratura interrogated me over dinner last night. She kept asking me what it was like to be married. I enjoyed her frankness, but her friends thought she was being too direct.
"But I have to ask him," she protested. "I have no idea what it's like to be married. I mean, it's like talking to a dead person to find out what death's like. How else will I know if don't ask?"
I kept cheerfully answering her questions, even though I felt like I was on the receiving end of a seance. With enough charm anyone can get away with anything.
- 12 September 1997
- Customs Dogs Tricks
- When Tonya told me she'd smuggled a small quantity of hashish out of her flight from Amsterdam, I asked her how she could justify the high risk-to-benefit ratio. She told there was little risk involved because she hid the hash in her shampoo bottle.
"But what about the sniffer dogs at the airports?" I asked. I've always been intimidated by the nasty-looking German Shepherds who greet me on about half my flights that pass through the Netherlands. (And, as an irrelevant aside, I must mention that on a flight from Amsterdam to Newcastle-upon-Tyne I was met with two ridiculous-looking drug-sniffing poodles.)
Tonya said she never worried about the drug dogs, because no dog can resist chocolate. When the customs police once asked her if she had "anything" in a bag one of their dogs has singled out, she wrinkled her brow for a moment then said "I can't think of anything except chocolate." The cops shrugged their shoulders and moved on.
I'm not convinced; I'm always skeptical of anything that sounds too simple, too complicated, or too dependable. Tonya's not, though; she insists the real danger is taking dog sniffing drugs, but that's another story for another day.
- 13 September 1997
- Big Mussel Muscle Truck
- I've told almost everyone I know about my favorite bumpersticker, originally published by Earth First!: "You'd drive a big muscle truck too if your penis was as small as mine." And so it was that I confused an associate when I told her about my friend Jeff, a friend who's a shellfish wholesaler.
She thought he sounded like a jerk; I didn't understand her vitriol until I found the semantic source of our misunderstanding: she thought I'd said "he has a big muscle truck" when I'd actually said "he has a big mussel truck."
Of course that misunderstanding completely ignores the contentious debate about penis size(s), brings in a host of oyster myths and facts, and, specifically, ends this brief story before it balloons into a Ph.D. thesis of dubious merit.
- 14 September 1997
- Bulimia Digest
- A friend confessed that she's always wanted to start a periodical entitled Bulimia Digest. I doubt she will; periodicals are extraordinarily difficult to establish and even harder to maintain. In addition, her primary motivation for the project is to author the editor's column "Coming Up Next."
- 15 September 1997
- Extra Hot
- Katherine, who's familiar with my addiction to painfully spicy foods, offered me one of her favorite Danish treats, Salmiakkipippurikaramelleia. They were barely spicy at all; the confection tasted like a gall bladder in the seventh stage of decomposition. (After reading the list of ingredients--never a good idea--I attributed the taste of rotting flesh to ammonium chloride.) She insisted I didn't like them because they were too strong for me; she wouldn't believe that one of her favorite (treats) tasted like something from an autopsy.
Katherine and I are dear friends, although we never seem to be in synchronous orbits.
- 16 September 1997
- High Performance Underwear
- When I was buying supplies for a hiking trip, I saw a display promoting "high performance underwear." How confusing! What is it? Hoe does it work? And what if one person has high-performance underwear and the other doesn't?
I mentioned this to a friend who said it wasn't of any concern to her: "My partner has no performance underwear." Did she mean her partner has no performance and/or wore no underwear? It was one of those questions best left unasked and unanswered.
- 17 September 1997
- My Dog Oil Rejoinder to Logan Pearsall Smith
- I think I've found the answer to Logan Pearsall Smith's query "What sight is sadder than the sight of a lady we admire admiring a nauseating picture?"
The answer is dog oil. Or, more specifically, the sight of an otherwise attractive woman covered in dog oil. A lot of people don't believe in dog oil, but I do. Through some leak in the improbability barrier, I've recently met a number of very attractive women who were covered in dog oil from their canine companions.
Every time I tried to enumerate the perils of dog oil to these otherwise brilliant women, their eyes glazed over. I gave up trying to explain, and reconciled myself to the realization that my campaign against dog oil may be a lonely one.
- 18 September 1997
- Free Drinks for Thirty Dollars
- An airline employee said she'd give me $300 if I'd exchange my wide seat on the front of the plane (with free drinks) for a narrow seat in the back of a plane that leaves three hours later. I thought about it, then decided not to wait another three hours to get to San Francisco. That decision means something, but I'm not sure what it is.
I'd like to think it means that I'm not going to let an airline force me to stay in Detroit longer than absolutely necessary, that I value the company of my friends more than a few hundred dollars, and that I am generally above material concerns.
What I suspect, though, it that I've bought into the consumer culture I pretend to disdain. I fear that I have, in effect, just paid three hundred dollars to spend five hours sitting comfortably with rich people instead of uncomfortably with poor ones.
All I now know with any certainty is that the free drinks are a pleasant diversion, even if they actually cost over thirty dollars each. At least they're served in an entertaining fashion: the pilot urged the passengers to look out the window to see Chicago. Being gullible, I did, and when I looked back at my computer I discovered that the stealthy flight attendant had surreptitiously and serendipitously replaced my empty glass of whisky with a full one. What a beautiful trick! I'm looking forward to practicing that one my friends at the laboratory tonight.
- 19 September 1997
- Out of Touch with Rainier
- The Rainier Ale's been tasting a bit off recently, and I finally figured out why. At first I thought it was because of the alcohol content, recently revealed to be 7.2 percent. No, the problem with Rainier Ale is that I've been away from Mount Rainier for too many years. That was a mistake: Rainier Ale without Mt. Rainier is just ale.
- 20 September 1997
- Baffled by Science
- I read that the earth's atmosphere consists of two parts: the homosphere (the gases within 100 kilometers of the earth's surface) and the heterosphere (the atmosphere beyond 100 kilometers). I find this proposition confusing. If it's true, why aren't those words in my dictionaries? And if it's true, why did I have to memorize (and, of course, later forget) the thisosphere, the thatosphere, and the otherosphere? And regardless of whether it's true, why can't I read the prefix "homo-" or "hetero-" without appending "sexual?"
- 21 September 1997
- Pack Animals in Cars
- Naomi's so smart it scares me. We were driving north from San Francisco when she complained about the traffic. She said she hated driving except during rush hours because of all the amateurs on the road. "No one knows when to speed up or slow down!" she complained.
Of course: rush hour variables are learned behaviors by pack animals. It's a perfect example of a self-fulfilling prophecy: the only reason traffic speeds up and slows down on certain stretches of the freeway is because people know it will.
- 22 September 1997
- Led Zeppelin's Not About Anything
- I'm at a party where the host is playing Led Zeppelin. Jenna, the woman with whom I'm chatting, says she can never remember any Led Zeppelin songs because "they're not about anything." This is an obviously fallacious statement, but I'm surprised to discover she's right. It's baby baby this, do wah do wah, oh darling darling that; there's not a single Led Zeppelin Song about buildings or food.
I tell other people about Jenna's observation, and they have the same reaction: disdain followed by incredulity that she's correct. Jenna should be gloating, but she's not. Instead, she's almost apologetic that she's proven so many people wrong. Embarrassed, she tries to shoot down her own theory. Listening to the music, she asks "Tangerines--is that about assholes?"
- 23 September 1997
- Cat-Sized Heads
- Dave has two cats, Mike and Randy (that's Randy as in Randall, not Randy as in randy). Randy likes to sit on Dave's head when they sleep. Dave theorizes that, since a human head is roughly the size and weight of a cat, felines think human heads are the whole human and that the human body is a wasted appendage.
I'm not sure what to make of this theory; it's something I'll have to discuss with some feline friends.
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©1997 David Glenn Rinehart