2003 Notebook: Weak XVI
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16 April 2003
No. 1,930 (cartoon)
I hate you.

I love you.

Let’s not quibble.

17 April 2003
A Dubious Medical Advance
The medical industry always amazes me. After years and years of research and spending zillions of euros, corporate scientists and lawyers announce that they’ve just patented an amazing new discovery. Inevitably, their invention turns out to be some sort of remedy some third-world tribe’s been using for millennia.

And so it was that the lead sentence in a Science Daily article sounded very familiar.

    An experimental drug delivering the potency of two cups of strong coffee and a mixed drink has been shown to limit stroke-induced brain damage in animals.

I’m incredulous! Is it possible that none of the researchers had never heard of Eire or its indigenous drink, Irish coffee? Instead, the scientists coined—and presumably trademarked—the name “caffeinol,” a combination of caffeine and ethanol.

Now here’s the best part of the story. The quacks administered the “new” drug intravenously. I predict that a future issue of Science Daily will breathlessly report that a medical anthropologist visiting the remote village of Dublin will observe the natives self-administering the efficacious medication from cups, not hypodermic needles!

18 April 2003
Another Dubious Medical Advance
I read that doctors in Calcutta did a favor for a one-year old boy by removing one of his two penises. (I’ll leave it to my more learned and philosophical colleges to debate whether they’d have done the lad a greater kindness by chopping off both of them.)

Anyway, during the operation, the surgeons learned that a boy had been born in another part of the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College Hospital with no penises at all! Putting one and one together, or subtracting one from two, or something like that, the doctors went on to perform the world’s first penis transplant.

The medical ramifications of this experiment seem limited; how many males have two penises? On the other hand, the opportunities for bad fiction are infinite. A divorced woman remarries, only to discover her new husband has more or less the same penis. Or, two gay men fall in love, and discover that they each have more or less the same penis.

And so on, and so on, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

19 April 2003
One Bottle Fits All
I went to an incredible opening today in Berwick-upon-Tweed. The work on exhibit was unremarkable; the pieces looked more like sketches rather than completed works.

The amazing thing about the show was the wine. Although I never saw a single thimble, I believe the woman who poured the wine must have used a thimble to pour a miserly quantity into each glass. Or, perhaps she poured just enough to cover the bottom of the small glass to a depth of five millimeters, give or take a seventh of a dram.

Or, perhaps the hostess wasn’t being stingy at all. The work on the wall may have just been a clever diversion, perhaps the event I attended was a performance piece that involved using a single bottle of wine to serve an entire audience.

In any event, the wine shenanigans made for an entertaining evening even though the art did not.

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20 April 2003
An Interesting English Beach
Ah, a walk on an English beach; what could be more tedious? Fortunately, I found an exceptional beach beach for today’s stroll.

A warning sign on the beach informed me that the site was a “former military target area,” with “metallic objects that may explode and kill you.” In addition, the beach also featured quicksand!


I had a nice stroll. Although I failed to spot any metallic objects or quicksand, I did admire a ram’s spinal column, with most of its head still attached. I guess sheep can’t swim very well.

21 April 2003
At Least One Kitten and Some Honey
Eleanor sent me an email note after last night’s party; she said she was looking forward to using my line, “not unless it involved at least one kitten and some honey,” with her girlfriend.

I’m confused.

I only vaguely recall people laughing at my answer, “not unless it involved a kitten and some honey.” Unfortunately, I can’t remember the question that prompted that answer; I haven’t a clue.

Too many answers and not enough questions; that’s always the problem.

22 April 2003
A Visit to the Splanchnologist
A friend, who shall remain anonymous for the usual reasons, told me that she paid a visit to the splanchnologist today. I had to look up splanchnology in my dictionary (“the scientific study of the viscera and its organs”), which then resulted in the need to define viscera (“the soft internal organs of the body, especially those contained within the abdominal and thoracic cavities”).

The examination involved pushing a remote-controlled video camera through her large intestine in order to allow medical professionals a chance to look around inside.

“Guess how long the camera tube was,” she asked.

“Six meters?” I guessed.

“No, one and a half meters,” she corrected.

“Is that all?” I replied.

“You wouldn’t say that if it was shoved up your bum,” she shot back.

(It turns out that it’s the small intestine that’s six meters long; the large intestine is, in fact, roughly one and a half meters in length.)

I’m surprised that more portrait artists don’t take advantage of splanchnology. Such an approach would present the best sides of some people and reveal the true nature of many others.

23 April 2003
Like a Rock Misses Gravity
I talked with Francesca over the phone lines for hours last night; we enjoyed a lovely conversation. She ended the call by saying, “I miss you like a rock misses gravity.”

I could have melted, and did.

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart