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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XV


9 April 2011

gratuitous image

No. 5,406 (cartoon)

I have a hole in my brain.

That’s where the love comes in.

I never knew that.

10 April 2011

Oktoberfest Pass

I met a Munich policeman at the Edinburgh Castle, the one that’s a Sans Frisco pub and not the rambling edifice on the hill in Scotland. I couldn’t resist the temptation to tell him a stupid joke.

“Why did the German go to the Scottish pub?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” the polizist finally replied.

“To drink a lot of beer!” I answered.

The German looked confused, and that was of course the point. The policeman had obviously gone to the Scottish pub to drink a lot of beer. The German sense of humor never fails to disappoint; it’s funnier than almost any other form of comedy.

Lots of lager later, the visitor agreed to be lenient with me should I appear to be somewhat tipsy at the Munich Oktoberfest. He promised to remember me by my amputation, so this is a great opportunity for anyone with a missing index finger to make extra Munich merriment with impunity.

In the unlikely events that I ever visit the Munich festival and meet my new friend in German law enforcement, I shall be certain to ask him the old joke that begins, “Why did the American go to Oktoberfest?”

11 April 2011

photo credit: Goldman Prize

Green Automatic Weapons

The Goldmans gave one of their eponymously-named prizes to Francisco Pineda. I believe this is the first time in twenty-two years that an award recipient has used automatic weapons in his environmental work. It’s about time.

I wonder how many BGM-71 TOWs Pineda can buy with his hundred and fifty-thousand dollar prize? That’s the kind of persuasive argument that his fellow El Salvadorans who have been tortured and murdered several of his colleagues could understand.

12 April 2011

“Bikes Have Wheels”

Eva gave me a book, Bike Snob, to deliver to a mutual friend. I poked around a few chapters, and decided that the author, Bike Snob NYC, is too clever by half. Still, there had to be something worthwhile somewhere in the hundreds of pages, and I found it: a Noam Chomsky quote.

I’ve never read any of Chomsky’s books; I’ve never have a reason to do so. He writes well-reasoned and thoroughly-researched indictments of scoundrels, charlatans, and thieves. Since I’ve already tried and convicted the miscreants Chomsky exposes, I don’t think there’s any reason to review additional damning evidence. There’s another reason I’ve never read any of Chomsky’s work: he uses far too many words.

But now, thanks to Bike Snob NYC, I have a succinct Chomsky quote to cite in the unlikely event that I should find myself enmeshed in a long-winded conversation with verbose intellectuals.

“Bikes have wheels.”

I’m not sure what Chomsky meant when he said that, but I don’t have to know. Since no one will admit they don’t understand the profundity of those three words, I’ll never have to concede that I don’t either.

13 April 2011

Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars

Candy Dynamics of Indianapolis is an innovative purveyor of confectionaries. What other company sells Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars? None. And then there’s corporate integrity.

A lesser company might have simply relied on the novelty value of Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars to sell nutritious, wholesome food to an unsuspecting public. But not Candy Dynamics of Indianapolis: the firm’s Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars actually contain dangerous amounts of lead!

Government regulators punished Candy Dynamics of Indianapolis for its honesty, and forced the company to recall its fine products. Does anyone expect a Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bar to contain organic, free-range soy honey? Of course not; that’s why they bought a Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bar—rich in lead!—in the first place.

14 April 2011

True Voice(s)

Many of the world’s languages are dying along with the few people who still speak them. Four people speak Kayardild, three people speak Mabire, and two people speak Ter Sami. And Manuel Segovia and Isidro Velazquez are the only people who still speak Ayapaneco, or Nuumte Oote (True Voice).

Segovia and Velazquez, both in their seventies, are playing out a great tragicomedy. The Mexicans live within walking distance of each other in Ayapa, Tabasco, but don’t talk with each other. And the story gets funnier.

Linguists are working Segovia and Velazquez on an Ayapaneco dictionary, and the project’s not going well. The only two speakers can’t agree on many parts of the dying language, so the dictionary will contain each man’s version.

Human beings are hilarious!

15 April 2011

Bill Lipscomb, Major Accomplishment(s), Birthday, Deathday

Improbable Research is one of my favorite organizations. Its administrators publish the periodical, Annals of Improbable Research, and administer the Ig Nobel Prizes. And now I have a new reason to appreciate the organization: obituaries.

Death notice headlines almost always use the same formula: name, major accomplishment(s), birthday, and deathday. The Improbable Research editors announced a recent death with an elegant simplicity: “Bill Lipscomb is gone.”

Nice! I was so impressed by the succinct headline that I forgot to read the rest of the obituary.


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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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