2003 Notebook: Weak XLIII
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22 October 2003
No. 3,633 (cartoon)
What rhymes with butte?

No, it doesn’t.

23 October 2003
Free Sock Ploy
When I finally got around to unpacking my luggage from my last trip, I discovered it had been inspected by government agents. I know this because the idiots failed to zip my travel bag up, and because they left a note inside announcing they hadn’t found any terrorist related items during their search.

Since I was brought up to be polite, I thought it was only fitting that I should reply to the incompetent inspectors’ note. And, since I’ve unlearned most of my upbringing, I lied. Here’s what I sent the comical cops:

    After a recent flight from Albuquerque to San Francisco, I found a notice inside my checked baggage informing me it had been inspected in order to ensure it didn’t contain Bad Things.

    Unfortunately, one of my socks seems to be missing. I’m absolutely certain I packed ten socks in New Mexico, but now I only have nine. That’s one missing sock.

    Please drop me a line if you happened to have found a missing sock. It was black, and rather nondescript. Just a black sock, really.

    If you happen to find it, send a note and I’ll let you know where to ship it.

    Good luck in catching the terrorists!

Even though I didn’t really lose anything, I figured having an extra sock—for free, even—could come in handy.

24 October 2003
Fucking Brilliant Decision!
Earlier this year, an overrated entertainer from popular music industry said “this is really, really, fucking brilliant” during an American television broadcast. This comment let a coalition of self-appointed moral watchdogs to petition the U.S. government’s Federal Communications Commission to punish everyone involved in the broadcast for the remark.

I like this kind of stupid fight. It’s like the war criminal Henry Kissinger said about the Iraq-Iran war: the tragedy is that only one side will lose.

In this case, the censoring idiots lost. According to the Federal Communications Commission:

    As a threshold matter, the material aired during the “Golden Globe Awards” program does not describe or depict sexual and excretory activities and organs. The word “fucking” may be crude and offensive, but, in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities. Rather, the performer used the word “fucking” as an adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation.

Fucking as an excretory activity?! The government’s moral watchdogs in Washington, DC are apparently familiar with some recreational (as opposed to procreational) activities that have yet to show up on even the hypersensitive San Francisco radar.

Nevertheless, I suppose I can fucking say fucking anything about any fucking thing without worrying about any fucking interference from fucking U.S. excretory bureaucrats. And that’s really, really, fucking brilliant!

25 October 2003
Girl Painter
I was looking at online art presentations when I noticed that one woman described herself as “girl painter.” I decided to investigate, and sent her a brief note.

    I was struck by your “girl painter” title. Do you really paint girls? I think it could be a great idea. As a woman, you can do so without being a sexistpigdog. Of course, Yves Klein got away with dipping nude women in blue paint and using them like giant paint brushes, but that was then and this is now.

She didn’t reply, so I don’t know if she’s really a girl painter. She probably should be if she’s looking for money. As any art dealer will tell you, nudes sell themselves.

26 October 2003
Memorable Parking Lots
I’m visiting my mother in Flint, Michigan, on what’s become an annual visit. It’s not that I don’t love my mother; I do. She’s great. It’s just that Flint is a wretched place; if it weren’t for my mother I’d never come here unless I needed a readymade film set depicting the grim real estate on the border between purgatory and hell.

Our visits usually consist of drinking coffee and chatting for two or three days. In the evenings, I usually have a few drinks just to give her something to worry about. Mothers need to always be somewhat troubled by their children, so I let my mother worry about my drinking in order to distract her from conjuring up something worse.

Today, my mother suggested we go for a drive, so we did. We drove north of Flint about fifteen kilometers to the small town of Mt. Morris, where I spent the first dozen years of my life before escaping this wretched region.

“There’s the parking lot where the house used to be,” my mother pointed out.

She was, of course, right; I remembered the corner lot perfectly. There was a nondescript parking lot where a comfortable old house surrounded by buckeye trees and lilac bushes once stood. As we drove on, my mother pointed out other parking lots where other landmarks from my youth used to be.

We took this drive once before; this time we saw more parking lots. Although I’ll miss my mother’s delightful company, I’m looking forward to returning to San Francisco, where parking lots are quite rare.

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Natural Toothpick Conundrum
I’ve had a “natural toothpick” on my cluttered desk for months. I keep thinking I’m going to do something with it, but I never do. The puny, insignificant toothpick in its cheap, paper wrapping mocks me. My thought process only gets as far as the question, is there an unnatural toothpick?

28 October 2003
A Different Earache
I’m at a bar, and my learned friends are discussing the case of Valdemar Lopes de Moraes, a thirty-nine year old Brazilian man who went to the doctor with an earache and left with a vasectomy. The official explanation—that he mistakenly reported to the doctor when a different patient was summoned—didn’t stand up to any sort of critical inquiry.

Leonora, the only woman at the table, finally accused us of being disingenuous. “You idiots think with your damn genitals more often than not,” she explained. “It doesn’t seem that much of a stretch to imagine some poor guy thinking he could hear through his pants.”

My learned male friends and I glanced around the table with varying degrees of nervousness, embarrassment, and discomfort. Finally, Alex broke the awkward silence by mumbling something like “I suppose she’s got a point” before changing the subject.

29 October 2003
Alien Assault Ship False Alarm
I was up on the lab roof tonight, and I saw a bright light above me. At first, I thought it might be an enemy attack craft, but then I decided that such an alien assault ship would try to cloak itself in darkness.

I was right. Whatever the thing was, it eventually went away. The rest of the evening proceeded uneventfully.

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart