2000 Notebook: Transition V
 
   

4 February 2000
Rainier Cheer
I spent a pleasant night at the National Park Inn in Mt. Rainier National Park. I usually sleep in a tent when I'm in that neck of the woods, but given the freezinger-than-usual weather, I decided to stay in a heated room with a coffee machine. Plus, who can deny the perverse pleasure of compromising their youthful ideals?

I awoke to a rare sight outside my window: Mt. Tahoma. (The Native American name for Mt. Rainier is Tahoma, "the mountain that was god.") It was an exciting vision; I've spent many visits here without even glimpsing the mountain.

I was so inspired by the mountain and the caffeine that I composed a brilliant poem:

    Huge Tahoma!
    What an aroma!

    I feel of great cheer!
    Bring me a beer!

    I feel fine!
    Pour me some wine!

My companion, who witnessed every step of the creative process, said I reminded her of Wordsworth cranking out prose in the Lake District.

"Yeah," I agreed. "I bet he would have done better work if he had decent coffee and a better room."

5 February 2000
The Speed of Eagles
After recently extricating myself from one disaster, I found another co-conspirator for a new adventure. After we agreed who would do what, my comrade said he would commence working at the speed of eagles.

"That's great!" I said.

"David," he said, "did you know that eagles usually move very slowly?"

I didn't know that then, but I certainly do now.

6 February 2000
The Turn of the Centuries
Just when I thought I'd made a smooth transition to the twenty-first century, I discovered another sticky fly in the ointment of time.

Fernando told me some of my recent photographs looked like classic turn-of-the-century images.

"How can you say that?" I asked. "It would have been technologically impossible to make these photographs a hundred years ago."

"It sounds like we're talking about the turn of different centuries," Fernando replied.

Oh dear; it's going to be a long millennium.

7 February 2000
Dead Cats Prefer
My friends and I were sitting around trading advertising tales; Janice told me one I'd never heard.

She was working on a cat food commercial in which cats were asked to choose which brand of cat food they preferred after a taste test. This presented a number of daunting challenges, especially since cats never know what they think, even when they're thinking.

The producers got around this problem by sending an underling to the local animal "shelter" to find a dead cat that looked similar to one of the professional cats used in the filming. Since even a trained cat (an oxymoron if there ever was one) wouldn't point to a bowl of food on request, the crew used a close-up of an amputated cat leg pointing to the garbage their client was peddling.

Advertising gives me a headache.

8 February 2000
Thoughts on the Arrival of Cole Riley McCann-Phillips
Dave sent a few million people, including me, an email announcement that his first kid was born at 18:55 on 1 February. Pam helped.

I don't know why people procreate. The best explanation I've heard is that it's like having a pet of your own species. Still, I don't find the argument very compelling.

9 February 2000
An Unusual Review
Margaret said she enjoyed reading Sebastian Barry's The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty. She gave it a rave review, a critique unlike any I've ever heard: "It was so beautiful I had to read it aloud."

10 February 2000
A Quiet, Boring Lunch
I had lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in over twenty years. I felt very awkward; he'd changed a lot, I hadn't. I'm still a runaway caboose with a wheel loose; he's a successful accountant with a number of different insurance policies. (I know this because he told me, at length.)

I was unusually quiet. He didn't know how to hear much of what I had to say.

11 February 2000
Barthelona and the Diet of Worms
Why do some Spaniards call the most prominent Catalonian city "Barthelona"? Colleen says it's because Charles V had a lisp: members of his court and his subjects imitated the lisp so as not to call attention to his speech impediment.

That was good enough for me; I never met an unlikely explanation I didn't like. For some reason, though, I decided to ask my computer to tell me more about Charles V. It didn't have much to say:

    Charles V (1500-1558)
    Holy Roman emperor (1519-1558) and king of Spain as Charles I (1516-1556). He summoned the Diet of Worms (1521) and the Council of Trent (1545-1563).

Council of Trent sounded boring as jello, but the Diet of Worms? Wow!

I figured that the evil Roman colonialist forced the subjugated Spaniards to eat nothing but worms, perhaps as punishment for some dietary infraction. Maybe some revolutionaries refused to put Parmesan cheese on their pasta, something like that. I've seen enough movies to know what scumbags the Romans were.

And then I took my investigation one step too far.

Diet turns out to be "a formal general assembly of the princes or estates of the Holy Roman Empire," and Worms is the name of some damn city.

How fruthtrating.

12 February 2000
Tasting Six Wines
I went to a party last night, a party with a theme: wine tasting.

Here's how a wine-tasting party works. Everyone brings a bottle of wine with the label removed or hidden. (I showed up empty-handed and empty-bellied; no one told me the party had a theme.) The hosts give each bottle of wine a number; the guests sample each bottle, then write their reviews on sheets of paper.

Here's how I reviewed the six bottles on offer:

  1. Not too ambitious as would otherwise have been expected; complex rates of secondary entropy in the basso spectrum.
     
  2. Just like an angel pissing on my tongue.
     
  3. Assertive, not too greasy.
     
  4. Rocket fuel in a former life.
     
  5. Oakish, with overtones of bubblegum and cheese.
     
  6. More clear than white, actually.

I drank most of number two during the fire alarm fiasco.

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©2000 David Glenn Rinehart