Stare.
 
2009 Notebook: Weak IX
 
   
gratuitous image
26 February 2009
No. 3,374 (cartoon)
I want nothing.

That’s me!

You overestimate yourself.

27 February 2009
Death by Television
Kurt sent me a news story about the death of an unnamed six-year old girl who was killed by the family’s television. The child died after pulling the heavy device off the top of a dresser.

“I suppose it’s better she died instantly as a child rather than suffer a long, slow death by television,” Kurt opined.

I suppose there’s a case to be made for that reasoning, but I’m not going to acknowledge it. Few arguments can—or should—be advanced with dead children.

28 February 2009
The Problem with Cute Babies
I saw a woman on the subway who was stroking her newborn baby as if it was a pet. The sight reminded me Dr. Frizzell’s remark upon the birth of his first child, “It’s like having a pet of your own species.”

The problem with cute babies is the same problem with cute piglets: they grow up.

1 March 2009
Fake Money for Fake Drugs
I read an interesting news report from Tennessee that featured both mathematical and philosophical dimensions. The story is this: Unicoi County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Kyle Kochelek when he tried to buy fake drugs with counterfeit money. The arrangement between crook and cop reminds me of the workers’ paradise that was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, where, “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.”

My mother told me that two wrongs don’t make a right, an idealistic equation that fails to take into account the unsophisticated joys of revenge. Mathematically speaking, adding two negatives results in a negative sum. On the other hand, multiplying two negatives results in a positive.

I haven’t thought this through, but it seems like it’s only fair to use fake money to pay for fake drugs. Based on all the stories I’ve heard, police are usually a reputable source of quality drugs; cops selling placebos is almost unheard of. I’m no Solomon, but perhaps the elegant solution to this situation is for a fake judge to hand down a fake sentence after a fake trial. All the falsity and deceit sounds very American!

2 March 2009
Vintage Fetish
I heard a radio report about the resurgence of typewriters; it seems that they’re increasingly popular these days. That’s the first I’d heard about this particular phenomenon, but it’s an old and familiar story.

Photographers dust off fifty-year old cameras to make “classic” photographs, musicians use antiquated tube amplifiers to reproduce the nostalgic sounds of their youth, and so on.

I think I understand the fetish for vintage hardware. Some people think surmounting the technical challenges of using antiquated technologies instills their work with some sort of intrinsic worth. It does not.

I will never understand why people confuse difficult technique with creativity. Ironically, I suspect laziness is involved.

3 March 2009
Sydney’s still alive?!
Once a year I volunteer to work on a small publication, and every year I have the same embarrassing experience. Whenever someone tells me that Sydney’s submitted an article, I inadvertently blurt out, “Sydney’s still alive?!”

I’m chagrined by my stupidity. Sydney is a smart, accomplished guy who happens to be rather old and a bit frail, but that’s no reason to think of him in the past tense. I may live long enough to overhear someone say, “David’s still alive?!”

If I do, that will serve me right. And I suppose the reverse is true, as well.

4 March 2009
Some Days You Eat the Fish
Alphonse told me that three men drowned in a fishing boat accident in the Gulf of Mexico. That sort of thing happens all the time; Alphonse and I happened to hear about this particular tragedy in the news because the dead men were all well-known football players.

“Some days you eat the fish, other days the fish eat you,” Alphonse observed.

I’m sure I imagined this, but it seemed that the fish in my aquarium became more lively upon hearing Alphonse’s seditious remark.

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart