2002 Notebook: Weak XVII
gratuitous image
24 April 2002
No. 5,964 (cartoon)
The air is scorching my throat and lungs.

My tongue is so swollen I can’t even swallow.

Welcome to Nevada!

25 April 2002
Nevada Poet Lariat
Since arriving in Nevada, I’ve discovered that there’s more to this great state than gamblers, prostitutes, and Wayne Newton (if that’s not repetitiously redundant.) There are arts, and lots of ’em! It turns out that Nevada even has its own SOBs (symphony, opera, and ballet). And, what’s more, the state has its own poet, a poet with a difference.

Some countries, states, and cities have a poet laureate, an esteemed wordsmith who writes pieces on the occasion of a leader’s liver transplant, the opening of a new parking garage, that sort of thing. Nevada, however, has Silus McCloud, the state’s poet lariat. McCloud writes poems even a young schoolgirl can not only appreciate, but memorize as well. For example, twelve-year old Eva recited one of McCloud’s more famous works, Staying the Course.

    Staying the Course

    On my horse.
    With no remorse.
    Of course.

Silus McCloud, what an hombre!

gratuitous image
26 April 2002
Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer
Although I can’t think of many nice things to say about Nevada, I must admit the state makes me thirsty. And who can’t appreciate a state of thirst?

I generally don’t like bars, but Harley’s Saloon’s promise of “ninety-nine beers” caught my eye. The proprietor would certainly offer something drinkable.

I don’t know why this is, but it seems that disappointment almost inevitably follows anticipation. That was certainly the case at Harley’s. When I asked the bartender for a list of the ninety-nine available beers, he was unable to provide the requested documentation.

“We ain’t got ninety-nine beers. We got Budweiser; we got Miller; we got Coors; what do you want?” the barman demanded.

“But what about the ninety-nine beers advertised?” I asked.

“We ain’t got ninety-nine beers,” the bartender continued. “We used to have ninety-nine beers, but then Al, see, took one down, passed it around, ninety-eight beers. And then Darrin, see, he took one down, passed it around, ninety-seven beers. And so on and so on, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”

“I’m afraid I had my heart set on a cool bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale,” I replied as I headed toward the door. “Pip pip, cheerio, and all that.”

I ended up drinking cheap, red, Chilean wine in my motel room.

Ninety-nine bottles of beer?


gratuitous image
27 April 2002
Camping with Henry
My laptop computer is old; it’s very old. It’s almost four years old. After hundreds of thousands of kilometers of bashing and banging, I’m afraid my old laptop is not long for this world. And I know it’s not long for the road. The headphone jack is dead, the batteries won’t recharge without a bulky docking adapter, and the auxiliary CPU causes the machine to periodically overheat and crash.

And, what’s worse, the computer’s hinged screen has developed erectile dysfunction. (I’m very sorry, but there’s no other possible description.) Without some external support, the computer’s LCD monitor flops helplessly on its worn-out hinges. That’s not a problem on a jet, since there’s never enough room for the screen to wander. Traveling in a car is a different problem, though.

And that’s why I’m glad Henry Weinhard’s here with me in the Sierra. Henry Weinhard is, of course, a brand name for a beverage that provides empirical evidence that “potable American beer” is not an oxymoron. Henry Weinhard’s beer is a long way from the beer-flavored water that usually passes for American beer, yet it’s not so strong that one can’t get from here to there and back again after quaffing a couple of bottles.

And so what’s the relationship between my ancient computer and Henry Weinhard’s beer? Well, a twelve-bottle carton of Henry Weinhard’s beer provides the precise size and weight a flaccid computer monitor needs for vertical support.

Perfect! And juicy too!

gratuitous image
28 April 2002
Banana Vision
I’m not one to have visions, with or without additional stimuli of either the natural or artificial variety. And so it is that I was surprised to wake up after a brief Sierra nap and see a colossal banana. An impossibly immense banana! A giant banana in the ancient trees!

I have no idea what a behemoth banana was doing floating among the redwoods and sequoias, but there it was for all to see.

It turns out, however, that there wasn’t a giant banana floating amongst the trees of yore. No, I was looking at a mortal banana of the typical length, weight, and proportion, a jungle fruit in leisurely repose on the dashboard of my automobile.

A banana reflected in a windshield is perhaps the extent of my vision.

29 April 2002
Fur, Feathers, and Blood
After a long walk in the mountains yesterday, I ran across an incredible, violent tableau. After scrambling up a cliff, I saw perhaps three or four square meters of white granite covered with fur, feathers, and blood.

I must have witnessed the evidence of a brutal—and probably fatal—fight, although I have no idea who the antagonists were. The feathers and fur were the same nondescript hue of brown, and the dried blood was is the same part of the spectrum. Did a fox attack a hawk? Did an owl kill a rabbit?

Since I have yet to meet a forest creature I dislike, I came up with an explanation for the bloody spectacle. I concluded that some mythic creature, a cross between a bird and a mammal, suffered a heart attack during midair coitus. All that was left after the unfortunate animal fell several kilometers to earth was the bloody scene I witnessed.

Although I felt sorry for the poor varmint, dying during high-altitude sex can’t be the worst way to go.

last weak  |  index  |  next weak

©2002 David Glenn Rinehart