Stare.
 
2002 Notebook: Weak X
 
   
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5 March 2002
No. 6,366 (cartoon)
It’s very cold.

Tell me something I don’t know.

6 March 2002
The Dark, Dark, Grey Universe
Earlier this year, astronomers concluded that the average color of the universe is “something slightly greener than pale turquoise.”

Those same astronomers recently announced that they had made a huge mistake. According to the story I heard, the astronomers came up with the incorrect answer using free software gleaned from the Internet. (I’m not sure whether the software’s programmers or the software users were responsible for the farce.)

The average color of the universe is beige, not turquoise. Although I generally ignore colors, beige is close enough to grey for me. I bet if some competent astronomers ever get a good reading on the universe, they’ll discover that it is grey. Dark, dark, grey.

7 March 2002
Mobile Guillotine
I rarely read newspapers; that’s a mistake. Newspapers have lots of tiny spaces between ads, room for little stories that won’t fit into long radio broadcasts.

For example, today I read that San Francisco police arrested a man with a guillotine mounted in the back of his truck. The man was about to commit a particularly grisly suicide. He’d parked his truck at the apex of Hyde Street, and was positioning himself under his guillotine when the police arrived. Had the cops lingered over just one more doughnut and arrived a few minutes later, the man’s head would have bounced and rolled down the steepest part of Hyde Street and ended up among the perpetually bewildered tourists that haunt Fisherman’s Wharf.

San Francisco is full of crazy people.

8 March 2002
English Ain’t Easy
I read that a distraught woman in Georgia couldn’t verify the authenticity of her brother’s “cremains,” or cremated remains. A business executive reportedly instructed his underlings to “conversate more with clients.” And the president of the United States has coined a new word, “misunderestimate,” but nevertheless seems incapable of pronouncing the word “nuclear.”

English certainly ain’t easy.

9 March 2002
The Literature of Tomorrow Today
A large chain of bookstores is advertising that its outlets are “featuring the literature of tomorrow today.”

I don’t think that featuring the literature of tomorrow today is a good idea. Sure, I suppose I could read tomorrow’s literature today, but then what would I read tomorrow? Tomorrow, having read today’s literature yesterday, all I’d have to read then is yesterday’s literature. On the other hand, there’s all sorts of great literature from many, many yesterdays that I have yet to read. On the other hand, should I die tonight, today will be my very last chance to read tomorrow’s literature.

And now I’m running out of hands.

10 March 2002
Easy Meat
My grandfather, Rosco, was a great cook. Rosco, who died nearly a quarter of a century ago, always enjoyed telling the story of one of the first meals he ever prepared for me. According to Rosco, he cooked an animal to the point that its meat lost all structural integrity. I must have appreciated the texture; Rosco reported that I made several requests for more “easy meat.” (I can’t remember the event at all, so I’ll have to take Rosco’s word for it.)

I thought of my apocryphal meal today when I saw a lovely studio photograph of a baby rhinoceros made with a large-format camera and flattering lighting.

Baby? Endangered species? Easy meat.

11 March 2002
Hot ’n’ Evil Noodles
Sophie called me after yesterday’s brunch and asked me for the recipe for my infamous Hot ’n’ Evil Noodles.

“No problem,” I replied. “Just cook up a mess of noodles, then add a sauce made from peanut butter, raw garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, and lots of peppers.”

“How much of each?” Sophie asked.

“Just combine the ingredients in pleasing proportions,” I suggested. “Life is too short to measure peanut butter.”

12 March 2002
Like a Bald Man Eating Hair
William appeared to be quite drunk when I met him at the bar.

“Would it be fair to say that you’ve already had more than a little bit to drink?” I asked.

“Well,” William replied slowly, “I may be somewhat intoxicated, but I’m not precisely inebriated.”

I didn’t want to examine the subtle differences between intoxication and inebriation, so I was glad when the bartender arrived.

“I’d like a pint of Pheasant Plucker, please,” I requested.

“It may be time to sober up,” William announced. “I’ll have some black coffee.”

“I think you’d be better off with a beer,” the bartender recommended. “Drinking coffee to sober up is like a bald man eating hair.”

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart