Stare.
 
2008 Notebook: Weak XXXI
 
   
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30 July 2008
No. 8,632 (cartoon)
I’m not paranoid.

Every paranoiac says that.

31 July 2008
Digital Urination
Sheila knows a lot about the Internet, and her beloved Marcus does not. And that’s why Marcus asked Sheila to set up a computer network in his apartment. She did, and gave Marcus the password, I_love_Sheila.

Sheila told me that Marcus asked her to change the password, but she wouldn’t, explaining that she liked the idea of forcing him to explain to his next girlfriend who she was.

“It feels like you digitally urinated on my territory,” Marcus complained.

“That’s because I did,” Sheila agreed.

1 August 2008
My Least Favorite Drugstore
I advise everyone I know not to go to the drugstore on the corner of Mission Street and Twenty-Third Street in San Francisco. It’s disgusting outside; the sidewalks are covered in piles of congealed blood and dank pools of greasy phlegm. That sort of thing.

Whenever I’ve been inside, my money’s disappeared; it simply vanished from my pocket. One time I lost five dollars, the next time I lost ten dollars. There may be pickpockets there, or it may be because the store was built on an excavated native burial ground. Who knows?

I’m not going back there; I now buy my dental floss at the store on the corner of Market Street and Sixth Street. All I have to worry about there are the rabid pigeons. That’s not a problem; most of them are too drunk to fly.

2 August 2008
The Oldest Joke
I love academic researchers; they have even more time to waste than I do. And better yet, I reap the rewards of their futile inquiries. And thanks to such uselessness, I now know that the oldest recorded joke was documented some five-thousand years ago. And without an even more tedious introduction, here it is.

    Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.

Although I’m not a scholar, I appreciate that there’s a significant difference in humor between then and now. Humor from five-thousand years ago isn’t funny.

3 August 2008
Old News
I just came across an 1883 memo by Paul Reuter, née Israel Beer Josaphat, the founder of the eponymous—and now defunct—news agency. His news service (d)evolved into Thompson Reuters, a company that provides “indispensable information-based products and services.” I have no idea from such corporatespeak whether the company still disseminates news about, well, news.

Five-quarters of a century ago, though, Reuter knew what made for marketable news, and he spelled it out what needed to be reported, including, “fires, explosions, floods, inundations, railway accidents, destructive storms, earthquakes, shipwrecks attended with loss of life, accidents to war vessels and to mail steamers, street riots of a grave character, disturbances arising from strikes, duels between and suicides of persons of note, social or political, and murders of a sensational or atrocious character.”

Some things never change, and never will.

4 August 2008
Faster Than Troubles?
Sonja got off the jet from Barcelona in good spirits.

“I was traveling so fast that my troubles couldn’t keep up,” she explained. She didn’t mention the free drinks on the plane; she didn’t have to confirm the obvious.

Later, we watched Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s 1922 film, Nosferatu. I paused the computer after an old man in the film cautioned, “Do not hurry, my young friend, no one can escape his destiny.”

I was going to ask Sonja if that observation conflicted with her theory that modern airplanes travel faster than troubles. I didn’t say anything, though, since she was unconscious. Perhaps I’ll ask her in the morning whether her troubles or the alcohol caught up with her; perhaps I won’t.

5 August 2008
Translate Server Error
Good communication is challenging under the best of circumstances, and especially so when different languages are involved.

The latest example involves a restaurant in China that decided to display its name in English as well as Cantonese. Or maybe Mandarin, I can’t tell the difference. The English language was apparently as confusing to the restaurant owners, who decided to use a computer-based translation service on the Internet. And thus the restaurant’s English name is Translate Server Error.

Nice!

I wonder if they serve saliva chicken?

6 August 2008
Snoring versus Didgeridooing
I snore; just ask anyone who’s been in the same house with me while I slept. Fortunately for me, my dear friends are quite tolerant; I’m always welcome wherever I travel.

Selena, who’s always been very gracious about my aural annoyances, tactfully passed along news from a 2006 study in the British Medical Journal. The researchers found out that subjects who practiced the didgeridoo for four months snored less.

I thanked Selena for the information, then pointed out the best sound from a didgeridoo is more unpleasant—and louder—than the worst snoring.

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart