2002 Notebook: Weak XXV
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18 June 2002
No. 3,660 (cartoon)
Do it.

I can’t.

What makes you think that you have a choice?

19 June 2002
Choose Your Lychees Well
My local radio station occasionally broadcasts public service announcements. The most recent message urged me to “choose your lychees well and enjoy the best international agriculture has to offer.” The announcer then described how to eat a lychee. I forgot the first step, but remembered that the second step was to “pop the fleshy part into your mouth and spit out the large pit.”

The lychee promotion assured me, “it’s worth the effort,” but I’m not so sure. It doesn’t really matter, though, since I have no idea what a lychee looks like.

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20 June 2002
Natural Flower Garden
“Where did you get that!?” Emiko said as soon as she spotted my souvenir plastic bag hanging on the wall of my studio.

“I found it hanging on a fence when I was in Japan,” I replied. “I thought the words ‘natural flower garden’ on a cheap, blue shopping bag seemed particularly Japanese.

“You shouldn’t have taken that,” Emiko replied. “That was a piece by Katsukawa Katsushika. He puts them up as sort of an aesthetic protest.”

I was disappointed to learn about my bag’s provenance. I thought I’d turned the readymade object into art, but Katsushika beat me to it. Oh well, easy come, easy go, easy come again.

21 June 2002
I just discovered a new word, “demiurge.” My piss-poor dictionary tells me that a demiurge is “a powerful creative force or personality,” and/or one of several ancient deities. At first, I was excited about a new synonym for creative force, but then I changed my mind.

Who wants a demi anything? I shall continue to seek out megaurges.

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22 June 2002
Mt. Rainier Towers Over Half Dome
Veronica asked me if I’d fix her pesky computer for her. I said I’d work for my usual fee, beer. On the way to her house, I started to worry. I couldn’t remember whether Veronica knew much about beer, so I picked up some Rainier Ale from a corner shop.

“Why did you bring beer?” Veronica asked when I arrived. “I told you I’d get some.”

“Can’t be too careful,” I replied. “What kind did you get?”

“I got some Half Dome Amber Ale,” Veronica said. “I liked the illustration.”

“Although I’ve heard that many wine experts choose wine by the aesthetic appeal of the bottle’s label, I think we have some more telling evidence at hand,” I explained as I put the big cans of Rainier Ale next to a relatively diminutive bottle of Half Dome Ale.

“See how the majestic Tahoma towers over little Half Dome?” I inquired rhetorically. “A computer problem as serious as yours needs such monumental resources.”

Veronica sighed and poured herself a glass of orange juice. Both of us knew it was going to be a long afternoon.

23 June 2002
The Problems with Nude Beaches
Tracy asked me if I wanted to go to a party at Baker Beach, one of San Francisco’s “clothing optional” (read: nude) beaches. I didn’t want to admit that I was too shy to attend, so I had to come up with another reason.

“I think it’s a mistake to go to a nude beach that’s not on the Mediterranean,” I said. “The nude beaches here are full of people you’d never want to see with their clothes off.”

24 June 2002
More Drinking Rats
Although I don’t know much about science, everything I’ve learned suggests that most experiments on animals are a waste of lives and money. Recently, for example, Brian Smith of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, conducted a maze experiment with sixty rats. According to the report I read, the researchers observed that the smart rats who navigated the maze fastest drank more alcohol than their less intelligent counterparts.

I disagree with the pundits who have concluded that heavy drinking is a sign of superior intelligence. Smith’s expensive experiment just demonstrates what almost everyone knows: the rat race drives people to drink.

25 June 2002
How I Invented Mountain Biking
I’m surprised at how many people don’t know I invented mountain biking decades ago, so I suppose it’s time to tell the story. Unfortunately, given that I invented the wilderness bikes in the course of a criminal enterprise, I can’t be too specific about the details because of problems with the statute of limitations.

I was setting up a moonshine still high in the mountains in a remote, abandoned cabin. To get the heavy distillery equipment up the steep path, I built a big bike with massive tires and sturdy shock absorbers. I loaded the bike with supplies and headed up the narrow trail.

My invention worked well. The breakneck rides down the steep path more than compensated for the difficult, uphill climb.

On my third trip up, though, I discovered I wasn’t alone. I spotted a couple of guys on horses near the cabin. I pulled out my binoculars and saw that they were cops! I had to escape, so I threw my distillery pipes off the bike and headed back down the overgrown trail on the bike. The cops on horseback chased me, but couldn’t go very fast because of all the lowhanging branches.

When I made it back to the road, I hitched a ride from a man in a pickup truck. I threw the bike in the back of the truck and we headed into town.

Since I had to get rid of the incriminating bike, I sold it to the driver for fifty dollars. The man who bought my bike took credit for inventing it, and still claims to be the father of mountain biking. Oh well, I didn’t get arrested, at least not that time.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart