free (and worth it) subscription

An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak

Weak I


1 January 2011

No. 8,701 (cartoon)

I’ve grown a lot.

From leech to victim.

2 January 2011

A Prime Year

2011 is a prime number. It’s also the sum of eleven consecutive prime numbers: 157, 163, 167, 173, 179, 181, 191, 193, 197, 199, and 211. I have perhaps four more prime years left in my life: 2017, 2027, 2029, and 2039.

It’s nice to start off January with useless knowledge; it sets a good tone for the entire year.

3 January 2011

More Meaningless Statistics

Having completed fifteen years of these daily notebook entries, I decided to take a brief numerical review of my work to date. My computer tells me that I’ve used 3,889,754 characters to create 671,017 words. Not surprisingly, the daily averages are about the same as the last time I conducted this silly exercise five years ago. That’s the way averages work, on average.

This notebook contains ninety percent as many characters as the bible, but only about eighty percent of the words. I’ve always suspected that the religiotainment industry talks down to people, and the use of small words provides a bit of empirical evidence for my supposition. Continuing my ludicrous comparison to the bible, my work is perhaps more enlightening, but not nearly as funny. I’d say that the bible’s editors and I have been equally inept at coming up with any sort of a coherent plot.

I don’t have an easy way of finding out about word frequency, but I did a quick count of how many times I mentioned beer and wine. I used the word “wine” five hundred and sixty-nine times; that’s nineteen fewer instances than “beer.” I liked that symmetry so much that I decided to postpone further analysis for at least another five years.

4 January 2011

Rainy Day Typos

My notebook entries contain myriad typographical errors; this I know. Some are there because of ignorance, others because of laziness. I have a software program that catches mistakes other tools don’t, but I hate to use it because it’s made by a fiendish company too opprobrious to mention.

After some deliberation, I decided that I could hold my nose, fire up the bloated program, and check all of last year’s entries simultaneously. I found plenty of mistakes, including the the most predictable one: repeating the same word twice. Other typos included misspelling everything from my late grandmother’s name, Beulah, to “restauranteur,” which is in fact spelled, “restaurateur.”

By the time I concluded my exercise, I’d corrected forty percent of my weakly entries. Just as no one noticed the errors, I doubt anyone will appreciate the corrections. That doesn’t matter; few things do. I enjoyed whiling away the rainy afternoon with such trivial clerical work.

5 January 2011

Molly Didn’t Catch a Cold

Molly called to cancel tonight’s dinner. I could tell from her voice that she was sick even before she told me that she had a viral infection.

“Sorry to hear you caught a cold,” I commiserated.

“I didn’t catch a cold,” Molly replied, “it caught me.”

I’m glad she told me that. I always appreciate it when a nurse can clearly explain things in lay terms.

6 January 2011

England’s Sinking

English lawmakers have finally addressed a problem that’s plagued drinkers there for centuries. For generations, pub visitors have bitterly complained about being served more than they could drink, and politicians finally took action.

Until now, publicans were legally obliged under a 1698 law to only serve beer and ale in pints, half pints, and third pints. Now, landlords are allowed to use a new measure, the schooner. It’s roughly two thirds of a pint.

The schooner is a solution sailing in search of a nonexistent problem. I’ve spent too much time in English pubs and not enough time on Scottish ones. The practice in both is the same: everyone at the table buys everyone else a drink. Four people equals fours drinks each; do the math. I’ve never seen anyone drink fewer than three pints.

I suspect the useless new measurement is a clever ploy to serve drunks schooners of lager, then charge them for pints. If English bureaucrats wanted to do something practical, they’d introduce the yard, a measure that’s roughly equivalent to two and a half pints. That’s more than an American forty (ounce), a serving size found in virtually every liquor store of distinction.

I doubt I’ll ever see an English yard. As evidenced by the schooner, England’s shrinking. It’s a silly little country, and getting smaller.

7 January 2011

Double Nickels

Old age is the most unexpected of all things that happen to a man.

Leon Trotsky said that. I’m wondering: is today’s birthday the one that will make me a Trotskyist? If not, I’m getting close.

8 January 2011

Pepper Perfumes!

I enjoyed my seven-hour visit with Mei yesterday. I especially appreciated her stories from Malaysia. Were it not for her, I may never have heard about that country’s Pepper Marketing Board. Despite the unenterprising name, the institution’s bureaucrats came up with a truly brilliant idea: pepper perfumes!

I read about Amila and Sensasi, but couldn’t determine whether those fragrances were available locally. Pepper perfume is dangerous in so many ways that the future is looking quite interesting.


Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak
©2011 David Glenn Rinehart