- 28 August 2006
- No. 8,433 (cartoon)
- What you did was wrong.
I did it for the right reasons.
- 29 August 2006
- The Bacteria of Stupidity
- Theres not much to be said about the middle east that hasnt been said many times over. And even if there was, whod listen? After decades and centuriesno, make that millenniaof brutal conflicts, I doubt there are many open minds in that scorched neighborhood.
And so it was that I was pleased to come across a piece by Ghazi Hamad, We Have All Been Attacked By The Bacteria of Stupidity. I thought the essay was all the more remarkable since Hamad is a spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority.
The bacteria of stupidity: why has no one commented on this obvious and universal phenomenon before?
- 30 August 2006
- Its All True
- In the eighties, Hubert told me a story about a flight aboard a Boeing 737 in South Africa. Hubert was flying on a domestic flight on a clear day when he saw something amazing. One of the two pilots was talking to passengers when the other half of the two-person cockpit crew came out to ask a question, or perhaps to deliver a message.
Its not important to understand why the entire flight crew was outside the cockpit. For the purpose of the story, the only important thing to know is that no one was in the cockpit when the door separating the pilots from their planes controls slammed shut.
Hubert, who knows a thing or seventeen about jets, watched in amazement as the hapless pilots tried to pick dozens of locks to reënter the cockpit.
They failed. And thats when one of the pilots grabbed a microphone to address the passengers.
Er, folks, every so often we need to conduct certain safety exercises, one of the airline drones drawled, so theres no need to be alarmed at what youre about to see.
And with that, the pilot used a fire axe to smash through the cockpit door. And that was that.
Then, in 2001, a British story reported the tale was an urban myth. After brief, lackadaisical investigation, I concluded that Huberts anecdote was probably apocryphal.
As Ive said before, everything I say is true: it either happened or it will. And thus I was not at all surprised to read today that the pilot of Jazz Airlines flight from Ottawa to Winnipeg was accidentally locked out of the cockpit. After banging on the door for ten minutes, the crew pulled the door off its hinges in order to allow the captain to land the jet.
And thats the reason Im such a generally happy person: sooner or later all my dreams and apocryphal tales come true.
- 31 August 2006
- Fine Dining and Drinking with Dr. Hayes
- Dr. Hayes visited me at my studio tonight; he was pleasantly surprised at how good cheap wine can taste. From there, the conversation tuened to food.
My late father succinctly stated the Rinehart position on food in a critique on the meals he received during a hospital stay: It tastes bad, and theres not much of it.
I agree, Dr. Hayes replied, I dont have to have good food to enjoy good food.
Later in the evening, we expressed surprise that wed both failed to appreciate how well grilled-cheese and wasabi sandwiches go with cheap, red wine.
- 1 September 2006
- Toothless Tiger
- I read that American toothpaste magnates are excited by the Chinese market after learning that some half a billion people there have never brushed their teeth. I dont understand their excitement; it seems roughly the conceptual equivalent of saying that ninety-nine percent of male earthlings have never bought a tampon. Perhaps my ignorance explains why I have so little interest in business.
It turns out that Chinese dental hygieneand lack of samemay be attributed to Chairman Mao, who sagely observed, A tiger never brushes his teeth. Instead, Mao employed the peasant custom of rinsing his teeth with green tea. By the time the Great Helmsman died in his early eighties, his few surviving teeth had turned seaweed green.
Ive tried, but I just cant seem to generate any interest in the Chinese dental landscape. Maybe my friends were right: I dont have what it takes to be a toothpaste magnate.
- 2 September 2006
- Ignorance Doesnt Make You Free
- I like to quote the clever remarks of others. Such epigrammatic observations are ideal for this age of short attention spans, and, in any case, Im not brainy enough to come up with the lines myself.
But, as Ive remarked before, its important to know who youre quoting. If you dont believe me, ask Tommaso Coletti, the president of Chieti province in Italy. Coletti contributed some copy for a brochure for local employment centers, and he certainly came up with a memorable quote.
Had I been given that assignment, I probably would have used Noel Cowards line, Work is more fun than fun. Or maybe I would have come up with an alternative, since Cowards sentiments dont seem particularly Italian. Perhaps thats why Coletti used a familiar maxim.
I dont remember where I read this phrase, but it was one of those quotes that have an instant impact on you because they tell an immense truth, Coletti wrote.
Unfortunately, the words Coletti chose are most familiar in their original German. In fact, you can still see, Arbeit macht Frei, at Auschwitz. Even though the concept that work makes you free has some merit, it will be another millennium or two before that concept isnt associated with Nazi death camps. If you dont believe me, ask Tommaso Coletti, whos issued three hundred and seventy-three public apologies at last report.
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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart