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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak VI


5 February 2013

gratuitous image

No. 296 (cartoon)

What’s the secret?

There is no secret.

So that’s the secret!

6 February 2013


There’s a place in France where the women wear no pants.

I thought that was a stupid line even when I heard those lyrics for the first time in third—or was it fourth?—grade. Now, however, I’ve learned that since 1800, women wear no pants in every place in France unless they have police permission. The law was intended to stop women from impersonating men. I think it had something to do with the revolution, but, since it’s France, who cares?

In any case, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the Minister for Women’s Rights, repealed the law a few days ago, over a couple of centuries too late.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité? Nope: men are still required to get approval from the gendarmes before wearing a dress or skirt in public. I wonder if the minister for men’s rights will do anything about that? But, since it’s France, who cares?

7 February 2013

Richard III Unearthed

Archeologists dug up the remains of Richard III from under a Leicester parking lot. So that’s where he’s been hiding for the last few centuries!

As for Dick III, some people were for him, some were against him, and I tend to agree. Here’s all I know about the hombre: he was the last English monarch to die in combat. In 1485, that was.

I think all monarchs, presidents, premiers, chancellors, et cetera should lead the charge into the first battle of the next war. That would be a big boost to Darwinism and diplomacy, and spare a lot of young lives.

It’ll never happen.

8 February 2013

gratuitous image

Gratuitous Photo of the Weak: Free Dual Cassette Deck

I was cycling through an upscale San Francisco neighborhood when I spotted a number of household items on the street that the owner was giving away: a beat up filing cabinet, a cheap desk, a chair with a broken leg, a filthy couch, and a dual cassette deck.

A manufacturer with a good reputation in the music world made the last item; it appeared to be in perfect condition. The problem, of course, is that cassettes have long been superseded by superior audio technologies. I wonder if anyone will take the dual cassette deck before rain destroys it?

9 February 2013

A Real Doozy

I’ve never understood anger and revenge, since I can’t imagine how either could benefit me. And so, I have a macabre fascination with those who enjoy such behavior. Jerry’s daughter Megan told me a story that was, in the words of my aunt Betty, a real doozy.

When Megan’s friend Suzette was in high school, she had the perfect boyfriend: smart, athletic, and handsome. And a scoundrel as well. After being a couple for over a year, he abruptly ended the romance without giving a reason. He didn’t need to; she saw him being quite amorous with her best friend the next day.

I’ll skip the next few chapters of a tedious tale. (Megan has many fine qualities, but storytelling isn’t one of them.) Many years later, Suzette and the scoundrel reunited and moved in together. She fed him huge, fattening meals; he gained perhaps fifty or sixty kilograms. Their friends joked that she was fattening him up for their upcoming wedding.

They appeared to again enjoy an idyllic relationship, but appearances can be deceiving. Three weeks before the wedding, he returned from a long business trip to find a mostly empty house and a note.

You’re an fetid blob of festering shit. The wedding’s off and so am I. Don’t you dare try to contact me again. Now you know what it feels like to be dumped.

Wow; I can’t believe that she took over a year out of her life to exact revenge, with interest. Not every story has a moral, but this one certainly does: don’t mess with Suzette.

10 February 2013

The Coffee Jitters

Juanita pointed to a sign in the cafe that proclaimed, “Eight percent of our coffee comes from fair trade sources.”

“Do you know what that means?” she asked.

“I think so,” I replied, “but you’re going to give me a different answer, so let’s hear it.”

“It means that ninety-two percent of the coffee here is grown with harmful pesticides in an environmentally unsustainable manner and picked by workers who aren’t paid a living wage for working long hours in inhumane conditions,” she explained.

I should care more about fair trade than I do, but long ago I accepted that life is unfair.

11 February 2013

Prime Number Day

Today’s a good day, numerically speaking. Curtis Cooper used a thousand computers at the University of Central Missouri to discover the largest prime number to date: 257,885,161–1. He ran a program for thirty-nine days to come up with the number that’s over seventeen million digits long.

Cooper’s achievement is notable, but not all that remarkable when seen in context. If I lived in central Missouri, I too probably wouldn’t find anything more interesting than looking for large prime numbers. In fact, I’m considering a prime number expedition to Missouri; the Electronic Frontier Foundation is offering a $150,000 prize to the person who discovers a prime number that’s over seventeen million digits long. That would be just enough remuneration for spending an extended period in that forbidding wasteland.


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©2013 David Glenn Rinehart