- 13 August 2009
- No. 6,726 (cartoon)
- How can you be so remorseless?
I cant explain it; its my gift.
- 14 August 2009
- Les Paul, 1915-2009
- Id heard about the brilliant inventor and so-so musician Les Paul, but I didnt really know much about him until I read his obituaries after his death yesterday. Dying is perhaps the best way of getting publicity; too bad it usually only happens once.
Had he not died, I wouldnt have known that Paul almost perished over sixty years ago, when he drove off a bridge into a river during a horrific blizzard. (Thats another good reason to avoid Oklahoma, as if another one was needed.)
Everything I had was broken, he recalled, and I was in bad shape for about two years, so I had a lot of time to think.
Two years thinking, imagine that! I cant. The idea of meditation is anathema to me; I cant tolerate two minutes of physical inactivity before I fiddle with some electronic doodad in my pack. Given Pauls innovation, perhaps I should rethink this silly behavior.
At least I agree with Paul when it comes to the importance of inquisitiveness.
Why? And thats the key to the whole thing, that curiosity, Paul said. You just ask that question, Why?, and youve got your life cut out for you.
Paul had his life cut out for him, and I still do, although I dont know why.
- 15 August 2009
- Theres Always a Catch
- Once upon a time, Joseph Heller wrote a novel called Catch-18. His publisher asked him to change the title, though, when Leon Uris beat him to the presses with Mila 18.
Its too bad that Heller died without writing an epilogue explaining the search for another number. Seventeen? Too similar to the film, Stalag 17. Fourteen? Not funny enough. I wonder what other numbers were considered and rejected before they settled on twenty-two?
Im too slothful to investigate, but Id wager that some academic somewhere has written a long dissertation on whether eighteen is more humorous than twenty-two.
Personally, I think that a catch by any other number would jell as complete.
- 16 August 2009
- Kiliaens Exasperating Pronouncements
- Kiliaen was in an obnoxiously contradictory mood when I went over to his studio for lunch today.
I told him that I liked the soup he made; he said that he knew I didnt really enjoy it. I told him that his obnoxious dog was bothering me by trying to eat my dinner; he said that he knew that I secretly adored the drooling beast. I told him that I was happy to fix his computer; he said that I only make such repairs grudgingly.
I found Kiliaens insistence that he knew more about what was going on between my ears than I did extraordinarily annoying. I thought Id retaliate by being even more irritating, but couldnt think of anything of a greater magnitude. I gave up, and resigned myself to not having any beliefs or opinions during what turned out to be a brief lunch.
- 17 August 2009
- Wine Glass Variations
- I pulled out a bottle of cheap wine when Sid came over for dinner tonight, then uncorked it and took a little gulp.
Good enough for the likes of us, I declared, offering the bottle to Sid.
How about some glasses? he asked.
Glasses for what? I replied.
Um, for the wine.
Is that some kind of joke? Wine needs to breathe, not see, so it doesnt need glasses.
No, a glass for drinking wine.
You want a glass of your own?
I opened another bottle of wine for Sid, but that just led to more confusion. It turns out that Sid didnt consider a glass wine bottle a wine glass. I did. It seemed silly to generate another dish to wash, but Im nothing if not a gracious host so I gave Sid a clean cup.
The rest of the evening flowed swimmingly.
- 18 August 2009
- Alicia May Be a Serbican
- I want you to tell me the truth about something, Alicia began.
Im always honest with my friends, so its worrisome when one of them prefaces a query with a request for candor.
David, do I look like Im from Eastern Europe? she asked.
Alicia is the daughter of Kenyan immigrants, so I didnt need to massage the truth, not even a little bit.
I might have thought you were from Tanzania instead of Kenya, I replied, but Id never mistake you for an Eastern European.
So I dont look like Im Serbican? she continued. Gerrit said I was.
I never heard of Serbica. It could be one of those tiny African countries an ignorant American like me would not have heard of because we never invaded it. Are you sure he didnt say Serbia?
No, he definitely said Serbica.
So what did he day, exactly?
We had a big fight, and Gerrit told me that he was tired of me being a Serbic.
Maybe its some region that neither of us have heard of. Id ask Gerrit for an explanation, I advised.
Im going to have a word with that Gerrit, she said shrilly.
Poor Gerrit; hes in for a Serbic encounter.
- 19 August 2009
- Ululating All the Way to Flint
- Im on a flight to Flint, Michigan, and the plane is full of ululating and screeching children. I cant blame them; who wants to go to Flint?
Perhaps the aggravated bairns on their way to some sort of caterwauling competition; were an hour into the flight and theyve managed to sustain the same impressive decibel level since the plane left earth.
I dont have a problem with the cacophony. Ive convinced myself its music, so it is. Its also a great form of birth control, almost an aural vasectomy.
The young woman sitting beside me is decidedly less sanguine.
Contraception has to be one of the best values on the planet, she observed.
I didnt see much point in replying; the music blasting out of her headphones was so loud I knew she couldnt hear me.
Asparagus kangaroos weave granite, I said with a grin.
She nodded, returned my smile, and returned to her book.