Stare.
 
2008 Notebook: Weak XXVIII
 
   
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9 July 2008
No. 2,247 (cartoon)
I feel like I’m trapped in a prison.

You should know; you built it.

10 July 2008
Inspirimotivation Activation
Minnisha invited me to an evening of “inspirimotivation activation,” an event that involved sharing inspirational and motivational poetry. I politely declined, without admitting that I’d prefer to have my toes chewed off by rabid porcupines.

There are many reasons Minnisha and I aren’t close friends, and her interest in inspirimotivation activation poetry is certainly one of them.

11 July 2008
A Million Scoville Heat Units!
I don’t follow scientific developments very closely, since most new discoveries are too specific or esoteric to be of any relevance. But today is an exceptional day, thanks to scientists at New Mexico State University who discovered the hottest pepper in the world. That’s news I can use!

Bhut Jolokia, a pepper from Assam, India, packs over a million Scoville heat units. By contrast, the Red Savina pepper, which previously held the title, is rated at under six-hundred thousand SHUs.

Dr. Paul Bosland, Director of the Chili Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, notes that Bhut Jolokia means “ghost chili.” I think that adds a certain mystique; who wouldn’t want to sample a lethal pepper? I wonder where I can get one?

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12 July 2008
Big and Horsey
Annalee invited me out to see her horse Shasta, so I did. We went to a hot, dusty field, and there was Shasta. Shasta looked bored, but I know almost nothing about horses. About the only time I’m in close proximity with a horse is when I’m feeding a friend’s dog.

“I’m afraid I don’t understand your attraction to horses,” I admitted. “They just seem big and horsey.”

“That’s pretty much it,” she agreed.

I know almost nothing about horses; my equine ignorance may be perpetual.

13 July 2008
Like a Dog, Except
Kiliaen disparaged Sid, opining that he’s like a dog in every way—except the good ones. I diplomatically ignored his remark.

Kiliaen’s snide comment reminded me of Blaise Pascal’s observation, “If all men knew what each said of the other, there would not be four friends in the world.”

14 July 2008
An Apostrophe Redefined?
Gerrit, a scholar at the International Center for Linguistic and Semantic Inquiry, dropped by for a visit. Naturally, I asked him what was happening at his shop.

“Everyone’s still debating the work of Carl Karcher, even though he died last January,” Gerrit reported.

“Sorry pal,” I said, “I know almost nothing about your fellow academics.”

“That’s the funny thing about this area of research,” Gerrit explained, “Karcher wasn’t one of us, he was a hamburger guy.”

“A hamburger guy?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Gerrit continued, “he owned the Hardee’s chain and founded the Carl’s Jr. string of hamburger joints. He was also a rabid cretin, who spent a million dollars trying to have all homosexuals fired from public schools.”

He went on to explain that he and his colleagues were intrigued and confounded by Karcher’s use of apostrophes. Hardee’s was a conventional usage, but no one knew what to make of Carl’s Jr. Carl’s Junior what? Or was it a conceptual breakthrough, an existential, nihilistic redefinition of a possessive?

Gerrit droned on about academic tedium until I threatened to start serving coffee instead of whisky. That did the trick, and he started recounting sordid details of all the tawdry affairs in his office. The stories were both cautionary and educational; I now know how to get guacamole stains out of felt draperies.

15 July 2008
Alicia’s Misfortune in Advertising
Alicia made a fortune in advertising, then spent it all—and more—obeying advertising’s capricious dictates. What’s worse, the irony was lost on her.

16 July 2008
My Increasingly Better Past
The stories from my misspent youth get better the older I get. I’m not sure why this is; I suppose it’s a combination of having more difficulty in remember facts and getting better at embellishing trivia.

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart