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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XVI


16 April 2010

gratuitous image

No. 1,892 (cartoon)

How much punishment can you take?

How much can you give?

I don’t give. How much can you afford?

17 April 2010

Andy’s Gullible

I took advantage of Andy’s naiveté, and played a stupid practical joke on him. It was as fun and easy as shooting eggs in a barrel.

“I’m so gullible,” Andy lamented.

“No you’re not,” I replied, “if only because there’s no such word as gullible.”

“There’s not?” he said.

“Absolutely,” I confirmed. “Look it up in the dictionary.”

Andy left, and soon returned with the thickest dictionary in the house. He opened it, thumbed through the pages, then pointed triumphantly.

“Look at this!” he exclaimed. “Gullible!”

I wanted to tell him that he was indeed gullible, but I was laughing too hard to say so.

18 April 2010

Overpriced Turgid Nostrils

Andrea asked me if I wanted to hear a performance by the Turgid Nostrils.

“I’m going to pass,” I replied, “but thanks for the invitation.”

“Stop being such a bore,” Andrea insisted, “it’s only five dollars.”

“I’ve heard them before,” I explained, “and I think that’s thirty dollars too much.”

19 April 2010

Bicycle Day!

Today’s bicycle day, an event that only involves peripherally involves two-wheeled transportation.

It was sixty-seven years ago that Dr. Albert Hofmann swallowed two-hundred and fifty millionths of a gram of lysergic acid diethylamide, more commonly known as LSD. Hofmann thought that he was ingesting a threshold dose, but he was off by at least an order of magnitude.

And in colloquial terms, Hofmann was off his rocker. Recognizing that he couldn’t drive, he pedaled home on his bicycle. He observed his surroundings, “vibrating in a condition of highest sensitivity, which then persisted for the entire day.” He chronicled the first figurative and literal LSD trip in his book, LSD: My Problem Child.

As I biked around San Francisco this sunny afternoon, I wondered how many of my fellow cyclists were riding solo and how many were sharing the saddle with Hofmann’s problem child. It’s hard to tell; all the crazed smiles look the same.

20 April 2010

Dangerous Earthquake Women

I’ve never understood geology in general or plate tectonics in particular, and so have never really comprehended why San Francisco has so many earthquakes. But now, thanks to Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, I understand what causes earthquakes.

Women. Beautiful women. In revealing, seductive clothing. Hubba-hubba!

“Many women who do not dress modestly,” the Iranian zealot explained, “lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity, and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes.”

Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?

The imam didn’t explain his insight, and that’s fine. Religious nutcases aren’t known for their intellectual prowess. He probably saw an old movie of young women dancing to the song, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, and came up with his hypothesis. Or maybe the old codger—who probably knows even less about geology than I do—felt the undeniable gravitational pull of a beautiful woman and extrapolated the rest.

I’m not worried. I’ll take the risk of being surrounded by beautiful women in San Francisco; that’s clearly preferable to dying from boredom and/or a tornado in Iowa.

21 April 2010

Tyson Homosexual and Ground Black People

Thanks to many critical missives from everyone from close friends to complete strangers, I now my writing is chock-full of typos. Some are there because of my ignorance of this accursedly difficult language. I miss others, such as “the the” (one of my favorites), because I never ask my computer to edit my work.

I make all of my mistakes myself. The staff at Penguin Australia use computer-generated gaffes, such as the one that recently appeared in The Pasta Bible. Making tagliatelle with prosciutto and sardines? Don’t forget the “salt and freshly ground black people!”

I know the Australians are a crude people with at least the usual percentage of racist cretins, but even I wouldn’t accuse most of them of advocating cannibalism. I can understand why a sloppy editor would let a computer change a misspelling into “people” instead of “pepper.” That was bad enough, but the publisher’s reaction was worse.

“Why anyone would be offended,” mused Robert Sessions, head of publishing at Penguin Australia, “we don’t know.”

Poor Sessions just doesn’t appreciate that most of us live in a world where racism, cannibalism, and replacing human editors with computers is regarded with disdain if not outright hostility.

This is not the first—and certainly not the last—time a computer editor has run amok, just ask Tyson Gay. The gifted athlete ran afoul of a homophobic programmers, which resulted in some curious “journalism.”

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue ... Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic trials ... Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team ... “It means a lot to me,” the 25-year-old Homosexual said.

There wasn’t much of a public outcry over the kind appalling stupidity one expects from fundamentalist bigots. Stupid people—and now stupid computers—are part of the social landscape.

22 April 2010

Open Running Sores, Fond Memories

I invited my hiking companion from last weekend over for dinner. We were enjoying a lovely evening until I made the mistake of showing her the draft of today’s notebook entry.

I’m remembering last Sunday’s fun in the woods with Elaine fondly. How could I forget, especially with the open running sores that are a constant reminder of our forest escapades.

“If you publish this, I’m not going to speak to you for at least a year,” she threatened. “Everyone’s going to assume you got some sexually transmitted disease. You know you got poison oak because you can’t tell the difference between a weed and a redwood.”

“Relax, Hilary,” I explained. “It’s a juicy story, no pun intended. And anyway, no one will know I’m talking about you because I used a fictitious name, not yours.”

Hilary seemed appeased, so I opened another bottle of wine. And since she’s too smart to waste her time reading my nonsense on the Internet, that was the end of that.

23 April 2010

Geek Savant

Kurt sent me a text message to my phone asking my to confirm that we were meeting at two. I called him back and told him I was on schedule.

“Why didn’t you just text me a one-word reply?” he asked.

“I prefer voice communication,” I lied.

In fact, I didn’t send him a text message because I don’t know how. It’s true that I’m fairly competent with computers, having used one for many hours a day for over a quarter of a century. Unfortunately, that knowledge doesn’t translate to other technologies; I’m something of an idiot savant. Modern televisions baffle me, electronic kitchen gizmos befuddle me, and Japanese toilets intimidate me. At least video cassettes are virtually extinct; I never did figure out how to use one.

And so, please don’t send me a text message. But don’t hesitate to call if you need to know how to zap your PRAM.


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©2010 David Glenn Rinehart

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