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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXXVIII

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18 September 2017

gratuitous image

No. 6,732 (cartoon)

A little goes a long way.

And a lot goes nowhere at all.

And that’s where we are!

19 September 2017

Cats, Vaginas, and Big Ears

Part of being an aspiring curmudgeon is kvetching that things aren’t as good as they used to be. And that brings me to the Ig Nobel Prizes: they’ve gone way downhill.

Marc-Antoine Fardin of the Université de Lyon won the physics award for his paper, “On the rheology of cats.” He concluded that the cats’ physical state unpredictably shifted from solid to liquid states and back again. He concluded, “The wetting and general tribology of cats has not progressed enough to give a definitive answer to the capillary dependence of the feline relaxation time.”

Translated into straightforward language, the means that Fardin’s looking for another grant and the Ig Nobel staff, like all of the other promoters on the Internet, are relying on beguiling felines for publicity.

Four Spanish researchers—Marisa López-Teijón, Álex García-Faura, Alberto Prats-Galino, and Luis Pallarés Aniorte—came out first in obstetrics by concluding that a human fetus responds much more positively to music coming from a speaker in the mother’s vagina than outside her body. The scientists patented their sonic tampon; it’s on sale for a couple hundred dollars. It’s only available as a monaural speaker; no doubt a subsequent model will offer stereo performance.

The award also meant that the Ig Nobel publicists could use “vagina” in the headline of every press release. Can’t go wrong there!

James A. Heathcote took the honors in anatomy for a paper he published some twenty years ago in The British Medical Journal that documented that old men really do have big ears: they get larger by a millimeter every five years or so. Presenting an award for decades-old research just underscores my point that the Ig Nobel Prizes just ain’t what they used to be.

Nothing is.

20 September 2017

Calling in Great

I was concerned when Brandon turned down Anita’s invitation to a party at her studio tonight so I asked him about his health.

“I feel fine,” he said, “but I’m scheduled to work tonight.”

“That’s perfect!” I replied. “Just call in great and I’ll see you there.”

“Ingrate?” he asked. “What in the hell are you talking about?”

I explained that the only way most Americans can get unscheduled time off from their burdensome jobs is to call in sick, and that’s just ridiculous. I urged Brandon to send his boss an email message explaining that he felt too great to work so he was going to Anita’s party instead.

“But she’d fire me!” he protested.

“Maybe she will, or maybe she’ll give you the night off since you’re feeling great,” I concluded.

Dyslexics untie! You have nothing to lose but your chinas!

21 September 2017

Rocket Man versus Dotard

Hoo boy, the world’s most famous crazy narcissists are acting out with missiles in a comedic effort to compensate for their insecurities in general and their farcical haircuts and tiny penises in particular.

Donald Drumph called North Korea’s corpulent little dictator, “Rocket Man.” The blubbery baby despot responded by pointing out that the baboon with a cheap, orange muskrat wig was, “a dotard.”

Dotard?!

I was one of the millions of people who reached for their dictionaries to become acquainted with a definition of the seven-hundred-year-old word, “an old person, especially one who has become weak or senile.”

The nominal leader of the United States equated the absolute tyrant of North Korea with the fictional hero of an old Elton John song. He responded by reacquainting the English-speaking world with a wonderful word most of us had forgotten.

Score one for North Korea in the latest war of words. And as long as the buffoons keep lobbing insults instead of nuclear weapons, I think this is a hilarious war.

22 September 2017

Eyeball Leeches, Chest Maggots, and Hookworms

The Washington Post published an article by Jason Bittel on the alleged dangers of being a wildlife biologist. It’s full of alarmist anecdotes from alleged researchers such as, “leeches trying to crawl up my urethra,” ... “a tick embedded on the inside of an eyelid,” “wriggling mango fly maggots popping out of the scientist’s chest,” that sort of thing.

It’s all hooey.

I have several friends who are wildlife biologists, and it’s a pretty easy job. For example, Julia spends summers in Alaska conducting grizzly bear surveys. In practice, that means sitting in a comfortable chair by a remote, idyllic stream working on her next novel. When she happens to spot a bear she usually makes a note in her log. Usually, but sometimes she doesn’t bother. Other times she makes fictitious entries to confuse researchers and increase the probability that she’ll get the same cushy assignment next year to gather more definitive data.

What a great scam!

Wildlife biologists are fabricating stories about leeches, maggots, hookworms, and worse to scare away possible competition; that’s just good business.

23 September 2017

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Planet X

Drat! It’s almost midnight, and it doesn’t look like our planet and all the life on it will be destroyed today after all. Planet X, also known as Nibiru, was on a catastrophic collision course with earth but didn’t collide, and I know why: it doesn’t exist; it never did.

David Meade, a pseudo-Christian, self-proclaimed, “specialist in research and investigations,” concocted Planet X. He explained that Planet X is the “perfect marriage” of science and the Christian bible. And commerce: Meade is selling his book, Planet X—The 2017 Arrival, for the low, low price of only three dollars and ninety-nine cents.

I have no idea why these charlatans persist in predicting the end of the world. If they’re right, no one will be around to appreciate the accuracy of their prediction. And if they’re wrong, as they consistently have been since the beginning of time, then they’ll just be recognized as the idiots they are.

I don’t think Meade is terribly disappointed. He’s revised his forecast, and the world will now end on 15 October. That gives him a few more weeks to tout his pseudo-scientific book to people even dumber than him. Empirical evidence suggests that is a huge market.

Having said that, I am a bit disappointed that our planet wasn’t destroyed today; I could have taken the day off from updating this infernal notebook.

Stare.

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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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