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20 August 2011
No. 7,034 (cartoon)
Does this outfit make me look fat?
No. Your morbid obesity makes you look fat.
21 August 2011
What’s Time to a Cat?
Alicia likes to walk her cat Fluffness around the block. I think that’s mostly about calling attention to herself, since it’s unusual to see a cat on a leash. Unlike less intelligent dogs, Fluffness isn’t concerned with going from here to there; she likes to meander, circle back, and rest frequently. And if she needs ten minutes to study a leaf, she will. As a result, a walk around the block can take an hour, sometimes two.
I once asked Alicia whether she thought their strolls took too long.
“What’s time to a cat?” she replied.
Only Fluffness knows the answer to that question, and she’s not talking.
22 August 2011
Indeterminate Nocturnal Emission
The Collins Dictionary editors are removing infrequently used words from their smaller dictionaries. Recent casualties include charabanc, cyclogiro, drysalter, succedaneum, supererogate, wittol, and woolfell. (As a relevant aside, by computer tells me that all of those words are misspelled.) I’m confused by this development. On one hand, I’ve never heard of any of those words, and have no idea what any of them mean. On the other hand, one of those words might be quite useful.
For example, what if “succedaneum” meant, “indeterminate nocturnal emission?” That’s not a work I’d need often, but, when I did, “succedaneum” is much easier to write than, “indeterminate nocturnal emission.”
If the Collins Dictionary editors were more ambitious, they’d give unused words new, useful definitions instead of just abandoning them.
23 August 2011
The First Bay Tunnel
I engage in improbable activities for easy money, including being peripherallyto an almost hallucinogenic degreeinvolved in building the first tunnel under San Francisco Bay.
This alleged project seemed suspicious, since I regularly travel from one side of the bay to the other in a subway under the water. I resolved my confusion by discovering that my journey involves a tube, not a tunnel. For reasons known only to engineers and geologists familiar with the myriad geological faults that crisscross the region, the train uses a tube sitting on the bottom of the bay instead of a tunnel though famously shaky bedrock.
I suppose that makes sense if one considers that a huge earthquake could snap a tunnel like a chicken dinner’s neck. I have a different concern. Since the subway tube sits on the bottom of the bay, my fear is that some drunken sailors (pardon the redundancy) could snag the tube while dragging a large anchor and quickly flood the entire tunnel, trains and all.
I don’t mind the risk. Each time I cross under the bay safely, I feel as if I’ve won a lottery. Because I have.
24 August 2011
Say It with Dead Flowers
I associate bouquets of flowers with death. They’ve all been severed from their roots; they’re all going to die soon. Dying and dead flowers remind me of funerals.
I was visiting Lisa this afternoon when a delivery woman arrived with a large floral display.
“Who died?” I asked.
“Another year of my life,” she explained.
“Happy birthday!” I replied.
25 August 2011
Molson Coors makes terrible beer-flavored water. But a team of clueless Canadians and reactionary reactionaries would, wouldn’t they? Their latest alcoholic farce is Animée, a beer, “for the ladies.”
The repugnant, “bloat-resistant” swill comes in three flavors, “crisp rosé, zesty lemon, and clear filtered.” The first two flavors (flavored beer?!) sound execrable; the latter would appear to be the standard Molson Coors anemic offering.
Animée represents a new low for the alleged brewery; the condescending attitude toward women represents the sexism for which Coors has been synonymous for decades. I’m reminded of the old Earth First! bumper sticker, “Boycott Coors: Anti-Environment, Anti-Union, Anti-Women, and Tastes Like Horse Piss.”
26 August 2011
Smells Like Art
Christopher Brosius is one of the few artists working in the medium of scents. His more notable works include Baseball Glove, Green Bean, and Clean Baby Butt. My favorite creation is one of his most recent, Where We Are There Is No Here.
The piece is based on the premise of using a subtle combination of amber, jasmine, and sandalwood to create a scent too delicate to be consciously perceived, yet strong enough to affect anyone who smells it. As Brosius explained, “The question, ‘What perfume are you wearing?’ should never arise.”
Smells like art to me!
27 August 2011
Helena and her mother Mabel are at war with their neighbors, and they have a powerful weapon in their arsenal: scaffolding. They’ve built a wooden platform around half of their house in order to outrude the rude family next door. Their nemesis neighbors in the adjacent lot of course hate it; all the others assume they’re doing a commendable job and improving the neighborhood.
They use chainsaws, hammers, and drills to perform a raucous concert on their de facto stage, occasionally accompanied by a jackhammer in the driveway. Sometimes Helena and Mabel invite their friends over; they dress in hardhats, drink beer on the platform, and leer into the neighbors’ yard.
Their neighbors retaliate by blasting terribly loud terrible music all day and most of the night, leave their miserable dogs outside to bark incessantly, and sometimes flinging garbage over the fence.
Both sides are losing the war of attrition, but no one’s ready to stop attriting. Humans can be that way.
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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart