- 23 July 2003
- No. 8,058 (cartoon)
- Im surprised we dont see each other more often.
I suppose its luck.
Good luck or bad luck?
- 24 July 2003
- Penelopes Prudence
- Jeremys miserable, and I dont blame him. For months, hes been pursuing Penelope with amorous intent, and last night she told him that courtship was out of the question.
Thats too bad, I told Jeremy after I heard the news.
Not much gets by you, he muttered glumly.
I hope she was diplomatic, I remarked.
Sounds like youre fishing for tawdry details, Jeremy replied. Im afraid there werent any. She was weird, thats what she was.
Good weird or bad weird? I inquired.
When I put my arm around her in the park, she pulled away and told me, You should not think of love when you have no work to do. Jeremy explained. Thats how weird she was.
Easy come, easy go, easy come again, I said mindlessly. I didnt add that Penelope sounded perfectly prudent to me; I didnt think Jeremy was ready to hear that.
- 25 July 2003
- Try Your Luck Daily
- I was feeling feeling ridiculouser than usual tonight, but Jeannie was having none of it.
Youre pushing your luck, David, she warned. Take that crap out of my oven.
You should try your luck at least once a day, I replied. Otherwise you could be walking around lucky all day and not even know it.
Whose line is that? Jeannie asked. Sounds too clever for you.
Right you are, I said. I couldnt find any citations for it, so I think Ill take credit for it anyway.
Jeannie made a sputtering sound to indicate the conversation was over.
- 26 July 2003
- No Detectable Brain
- Ive always admired the sea sprite, an ocean critter that eats its own brain when it concludes that that particular organ is no longer required. John Lorber, a neurology professor at the University of Sheffield in England, has raised my hopes that I too may be getting by without a brain. Lorber discovered that an unnamed mathematics student at the university had only a millimeter or so of cerebral tissue covering the top of his spinal column, some forty-four fewer millimeters of brainy goo than would have been expected.
No ones looked inside my head, except for perhaps my dentist and the doctor who cut my tonsils out. They dont count; they wouldnt have been examining the cavity where my brains supposed to be. I have ignored repeated admonitions from well-intentioned friends to have my head examined. Had I done so, I might have discovered that I, like the mathematics student, have been going through life virtually without a brain.
Its not too hard for me to envision life without a brain. In fact, Im sure its pretty much like the wonderful life in which I delight today.
- 27 July 2003
- Barbequed Burrito
- Fred asked me to list my three favorite meals, so I did:
1. Any free food,
2. Pasta and vegetables,
3. Rice and vegetables.
Fred wasnt satisfied with my straightforward answer; thats one of the many problems with honesty. Fred insisted that I tell him about some concoction I invented.
I was about to confess that almost all of my creativity involves theft when I remembered the Treat Street Barbecue. A few years ago, I was invited to this celebrated San Francisco event. I was about to enter the Treat Street Compound when I noticed that the invitation advised, bring something to throw on the barbeque.
I headed for a nearby taqueria, bought a huge, stonking burrito, and headed back to the party. I slathered the burrito with barbecue sauce, threw it on the grill, then loaded up my plate with a kilogram or so of fresh salmon.
Everyone complimented me on my fabulous concoction, so I can only assume that it was scrumptious. Ill never know, I was so full of fish that I never sampled my only culinary invention.
Ive never made another barbequed burrito since. Why would I attempt to repeat my only culinary achievement?
- 28 July 2003
- Hope Is Dead
- I was driving up to Mt. Rainier this morning when I heard the news on the radio: Hope is dead.
Bob Hope was over a hundred years old when he died. I have no idea why he checked out when he did, but it couldnt have come at a worse time for me. Id been anticipating his passing for some time; I was looking forward to walking around the city full of HOPE IS DEAD newspaper headlines.
Sulking teens walk past the hundred and forty-four point type, HOPE IS GONE. Somnambulistic parents haunt grocery stores beneath the newsagents ad, HOPE DIES. Doddering elders limp past clutching the Guardian and its macabre headline, HOPE: THE LAST ACT IS OVER.
Instead of witnessing this long-anticipated somber tableau, Im walking around sunny Mt. Rainier without a newspaper in sight. Whats wrong with these cheerful hikers? Dont they know that Hope is dead?
Feh! Bob Hope! Double feh!
- 29 July 2003
- Camp Hazard Warning
- For reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with climbing, I found myself in the office of the ranger who issues climbing permits on Mt. Rainier. This is the text on the orange warning sign in the center of his cramped cabin:
Attention ClimbersDue to warm weather, ice and rockfall potential is greatly increased on the upper mountain. All climbers should avoid camping at Camp Hazard.
Ice and rockfall? What about ravenous wild beasts, pestilence, famine, and glacier pirates? Shouldnt one expect to find all these things and more at Camp Hazard?!
When Im back at Rainier in a few years, I expect Ill see an even sillier government alert. Backcountry warning: High levels of pollen have been detected at Camp Hazard. Those with asthma, allergies, or other medical conditions should avoid Camp Hazard and use Camp Sleepy-Safey instead.
I think people should expect the worst at Camp Hazard, and I think Camp Hazard should give it to them. And anyway, how can on operate a facility called Camp Hazard without ice and rockfall?