2003 Notebook: Weak IV
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22 January 2003
No. 9,153 (cartoon)
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

There is no tunnel, it’s just a deep hole.

23 January 2003
Devoid of Erst
I have no erstwhile friends. All my living friends are devoid of erst. It’s nice to have them here.

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24 January 2003
Rainier Gum Ale
When I gave Stephanie a pint of Rainier Ale, she took the chewing gum out of her mouth and stuck it to the rim of the can. I didn’t ask her whether or not she was going to resume chewing the gum after the drink; I wanted to savor the anticipation.

25 January 2003
A New Tail
I like to reinvent myself. It’s not too hard to pull off; it only takes a modicum of effort. And after reading an article in the science journal Nature, I’ve found new hope for previously unimagined changes.

I’m going to grow a tail.

I think my tail will be immensely useful as well as entertaining. I could hold a gizmo with my tail while working on it with both hands. At parties I could have a plate in one hand, a drink in the other, and surreptitiously grab more food off the buffet with my tail. And of course, the risqué options are too numerous and obvious to mention.

It turns out that walking sticks—of the insect persuasion—have lost and then regained their ability to fly. I figure that if some worthless bugs can reinvent the ability to fly, I can (re?)grow a tail.

26 January 2003
Self-loading Cargo
This morning, I received a letter from an anonymous correspondent in Britain.

    Dear Mr. Rinehart,

    Recently, you posed the question, “I wonder why more people don’t kill themselves aboard a British Airways flight to Los Angeles.”

    I’m going to answer your silly question. I’m a BA flight attendant; I was on Flight 265 when one of our passengers decided to kill himself rather than suffer any more of our rancid food or our insipid “service.”

    Here’s all you need to know: passengers are self-loading cargo. A dead passenger is not self-loading cargo; a dead passenger is a fucking pain in the arse. We spent hours filling out the paperwork on that inconsiderate bastard. That’s why we give our self-loading cargo just enough attention to keep them from hanging themselves in the fucking toilets. But fucking toilets are another story for another day.

    I hope you never have the misfortune to fly BA. If you do, remember to [reference to secret code to get decent treatment deleted].

Spending too much time too far from earth can’t be good for those poor airline workers.

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27 January 2003
Hawai’i Starts Her
Erosion and vandals have attacked a billboard near the laboratory. The poster now shows an attractive, slightly cubist, three-eyed Asian woman. The copy advises, “Hawai’i Starts Her.”

28 January 2003
The Germans Have a Word for It
I love and compose infinitely-long repetitive songs, such as The Pasta’s Not Done, Cup o’ Java, What a Dish!, Call Me Mister Squishy, Rosie is a Kitty Cat, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam. Some professor declared my compositions resulted in Stuck Song Syndrome, a lovely state of being.

Now, some other academics at Dartmouth have concluded that annoying songs are stored in the rostromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain. The best part about the recent focus on irksome, irritating music is the German word for such tunes: “ohrwurm,” or “earworm.”

Ohrwurm! Mit schlag!

29 January 2003
Dead Guy in a Tree
I just read a story about the dead man who spent a year hanging in a tree in the Northwestern United States. If dead people can spend time, that is.

The person who spotted the corpse a year ago didn’t say anything at the time because he was already in legal trouble with the authorities. When he say the same body a year later, though, he decided to report it. And that’s all I know about the dead guy in a tree from reading a brief news bulletin.

Why didn’t the dead guy decompose and fall out of his noose? Was his corpse held together with moss? Or did he mummify? This is one of the few times when I wish I hadn’t skipped so many science classes.

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart