2000 Notebook: Transition XXXVII
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2 November 2000
Seven Beer Lunch
I went to lunch at a pub that brewed seven different types of beer on the premises. I couldn’t figure out which one to have, so I had one of each.

The three-martini lunch may have come and gone, but the seven-beer lunch is here to stay.

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3 November 2000
Please Look With Your Eyes!!!
I saw a wonderful sign in an expensive crafts store yesterday. The sign demanded, “Please look with your eyes!!!”

Few people can deny that that’s damn good advice.

4 November 2000
First-Class Swine
A lot of my friends are telling me the same incredible story. On 17 October of this year, a couple of women flew, first class, from Philadelphia to Seattle with their companion animal.

Now, here’s the good part: the companion animal in question was a one hundred and forty-kilogram pig.

The pig slept through most of USAirways Flight 107, but got excited when the plane landed in Seattle. (But, that close to Mt. Rainier, who wouldn’t?) As the plane taxied toward the gate, the porker ran though the plane, shitting everywhere, and tried to break into the cockpit before holing up in the jet’s galley.

I don’t know what’s so funny. Given the inevitable errors in the airlines’ seating computers, I’ve accidentally flown in the first-class part of the plane enough to know that most of us in the front of the plane are, in fact, swine.

Can you see the little piggies?

5 November 2000
2000 SG344
Just so you know: an asteroid may smash into Earth on 21 September, 2030. Am I worried that, in roughly 11,277 days from now, I could be killed by a blast a hundred times more powerful than the bomb that leveled Hiroshima?


If I’m alive then, I’ll be over seventy-five years old. Given my inadequate knowledge of maths in general and probability and statistics in particular, I’m not especially concerned that 2000 SG344 may have my name on it. (For the record, 2000 SG344 is a bit of cosmic debris, perhaps a meteorite, or perhaps one of nine discarded Saturn V rocket boosters left in planetary limbo from NASA’s Apollo program.)

Death by 2000 SG344 is just a bit less probable than expiring from a heart attack after a four-day orgy, and a jillion orders of magnitude less likely than being consumed by the cancer that’s already chewed too many friends to death.

I thank the International Astronomical Union for its timely advice. Unless four-day septuagenarian orgies make an extremely improbable comeback, 2000 SG344 will be an increasingly attractive exit option.

6 November 2000
David Brower 1912-2000
David Brower died yesterday.

I knew David as the godfather and midwife of myriad “wilderness” books. He was also the first president of the Sierra Club, one of the founders of Friends of the Earth when told by the Sierra Club to take a hike, a cofounder of Earth Island Institute when told he was no friend of FoE, and no doubt would have been the cofounder of another fine environmental organization if he ever ran out of room at Earth Island.

Truly an hombre!

His stories of “doing serious damage to a bottle of whiskey” in a tent in Yosemite with Charis and Edward Weston and Ansel Adams are the stuff from which Great Adventures are made.

I remember one of my last visits with David. I walked into his office and said, “You really pissed me off.”

“Take a number and stand in line,” he replied. A second later, he asked hypothetically, “By the way, what did I do this time?”

I replied that, after becoming comfortable with my apathy, I’d inadvertently listened to a speech of his on the radio that had left me the slightest bit motivated. He’d inspired me to get off my comfortable derrière, albeit somewhat involuntarily.

When he was pushing ninety, ninety pushed back hard, real hard. Real hard, as in cancer.

David Brower died yesterday.


7 November 2000
(Bowe)More for Me
It’s a party at the laboratory, and the lads are celebrating a profitable Tuesday. (In fact, every day at the laboratory is a profitable day, and every day at the lab is a cause for celebration. That’s why I live at the laboratory, mostly.)

“Yechhh, this crap tastes like it came from some damned bog,” said one young lad after a sip of Bowemore whisky.

“Fucking swamp water and kerosene,” echoed one of the underling’s colleagues.

“Tastes great to me,” I said without hesitation. It wasn’t quite as yummy as Bunnahabhain, but I certainly appreciated the lovely peat flavor.

“Rinehart will drink any vile swill,” a third technician chimed in.

I poured myself another glass, and assured my friends at the bar that the relatively expensive bottle wouldn’t be wasted. Later, I’ll explain to my young employees that all Islay whisky has lovely peat overtones. I think I’ll wait a few decades, though, until the youngsters have passed along another case or seven of “undrinkable” whisky.

8 November 2000
Little Miss Strange
I just listened to The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Little Miss Strange for the first time in a decade or two.

What an Experience!

The lovely reunion made me want to revisit Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

(Without all the wonderful women in my life, I doubt it would have been worth living.)

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9 November 2000
17:06 Bay Bridge Lights
The lights on the Bay Bridge came on at 17:06 today. Why 17:06, I wonder? I suppose it has something to do with government policies and regulations, the time the sun sets, maybe even the price of electricity.

I sat around drinking cocktails thinking about that very question until 19:13, when an Un Chien Andalou moon dictated that I make a snapshot to illustrate my meaningless, irrelevant quandary.

10 November 2000
Chunky Minnesotans
I changed planes en route from San Francisco to Boston at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport in the middle of the night. Despite my somnambulistic state, I noticed that all the proletariat there were, well, rather lumpen.

As always, there’s a reason.

It turns out that Minnesotans rely on potatoes for personal warmth. The northerners stuff freshly-baked potatoes in their bulky jackets and inside their plaid shirts. Their baggy pants are jammed so full of bulky potatoes that many can only sit on large couches.

But why do almost all the Minnesotans, including those without potato-filled clothing, appear to be all too chunky?

As always, there’s a reason, and it’s not pretty.

After decades of eating the potatoes inside their winter clothes, the poor Minnesotans now resemble their tuber-laden garments. There may be some truth to the old saying, “You are what you eat.”

Who will rescue the poor, starchy Minnesotans? Not me, I’m gone.

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©2000 David Glenn Rinehart