2002 Notebook: Weak XV
gratuitous image
9 April 2002
No. 4,714 (cartoon)
Once upon a time, they ...

lived happily ever after?

The end.

10 April 2002
Protect and Eat
Those rascally whalers are at it again!

Yesterday, Japanese whaling bureaucrats celebrated their country’s Whale Day by passing out samples of deep-fried whale along with canned whale stew. I think that was a good public relations move. Everyone likes free food, and deep-fried anything tastes great, especially with beer.

The whalers have come a long way. Less than a year ago, the deputy commissioner of the Japanese delegation to the International Whaling Commission described minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) as the “cockroaches” of the ocean, “because there are too many, and speed of the whale, swimming so quick.” That was great poetry but poor marketing: a cockroach is perhaps the only thing on the planet that doesn’t taste better fried in fat.

My favorite part of the public relations program, however, was the new pro-whaling slogan: “Protect and Eat.”

Protect and eat! Everyone likes to protect or eat whales; the whalers have come up with something for everyone. Perfect!

11 April 2002
Tourette’s, With Regrets
Marty just pointed out an advertisement for a musical ensemble called “Tourettes [sic] Without Regrets.”

“Shit!” Marty exclaimed with an excited twitch, “What a fucking great name!”

“That would be a reference to Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, no?” I asked.

“Fuckin’ A yes,” she replied.

“You would say that, wouldn’t you?” I suggested.

Marty grunted, made an obscene gesture, then left.

12 April 2002
Pondering a Personal Piper
I just heard that the dead queen mother had a personal piper, as in bagpipes, as in bagpiper. Good for her!

If I was ever in a position to hire a piper, I certainly would. I’d have a giant, hirsute Scot accompany me on forays into enemy territory, carrying his bagpipes in an unambiguously menacing and threatening manner. I’d insist that he never play the contraption, though, unless we were threatened.

Speak softly and carry a big set of pipes; that’s the ticket.

13 April 2002
Clapping at Movies
I went to see a film tonight at a small theatre, the kind traditionally described as an “art house.” (I have no idea why minuscule movie theatres are called art houses, since these venues are never housed in houses, and rarely offer any art.)

I arrived at the theatre early, something of a necessity in that more than one hundred people usually vie for fewer than one hundred seats. As a result, I had no choice but to sit through “two selected short films.”

The alleged films were embarrassingly bad. Wretched, even. Nevertheless, most of the people in the audience clapped.

As usual, I don’t get it.

I accept that clapping is an almost universally-accepted way of complimenting a performer, and for that reason it seems silly to clap to express support for an absent director, cast, and crew. And indisputably silly to clap for mediocrity. And so on.

Eventually, I saw the film, D.I.Y. Or Die: How To Survive as an Independent Artist. After the film ended, the small theatre’s impresario announced that the filmmaker was in the audience.

I clapped.

14 April 2002
Scrambled Flaubert
I read an informal reference to a Flaubert quote, so I looked it up on the Internet. And as with the recent Gary versus Garry Winogrand controversy, Internet publishers couldn’t quite agree on which version of the quote was correct.

Roger Ebert claimed, “French author Flaubert once wrote ... his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.” An anonymous author, however, Quoted Flaubert saying “that a novelist ‘must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.’”

Another publication agreed with Ebert that the book, not the author, “must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.” Yet another anonymous writer quoted Flaubert as saying, “An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.”

And so on.

I love the Internet; it’s like a big information shredder creating random variations of just about anything.

15 April 2002
Losing Dietary Face
I just realized that I wasn’t familiar with Peggy and Collin’s dietary preferences. And, since they’re coming over for dinner tomorrow night, I called Peggy.

“Anything you don’t eat?” I asked.

“I don’t eat meat,” Peggy replied.

“Are fish meat?” I inquired.

“If it has a face, it’s meat,” Peggy explained.

“Got it,” I said. “See you tomorrow night.”

I put down the phone and meditated on the fresh trout I just bought. I looked in their clear, glassy eyes and empty mouths, and wondered whether such an arrangement constituted a face. I wasn’t sure, so I cut off the trouts’ heads to ensure tomorrow’s dinner will be of the faceless variety.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart