2003 Notebook: Weak LI
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17 December 2003
No. 136 (cartoon)
What choice do I have?

Choice is an illusion.

Illusion is a choice.

18 December 2003
Tolerant Worms
I read a headline that said a study of worms revealed why people like me don’t seem to be greatly affected my moderately large quantities of alcohol.

Worms! So that’s it!

I imagined my digestive tract full of tipsy little worms who drank my beer, wine, and whisky before my body could discover the alcohol. If it weren’t for those invertebrate little spongers, I’d probably notice the pleasant effects of adult beverages sooner than later in the evening.

And then I read the article and discovered that I probably don’t have freeloading worms after all. It turns out that some members of the C. elegans family have a mutated gene, sl0-1, that controls the flow of potassium ions that have something to do with how well neurons fire. Or not. Or something like that.

I don’t understand or care how my body functions; I’m just relieved to know that no greedy little worms are stealing my drinks.

19 December 2003
Twenty-five Hundred Weeks Old
Most people only recognize one birthday a year, and I think that’s just ridiculous. How depressing to sit back and watch the numbers increase annually, knowing that life will probably come to an end in the sixties, seventies, eighties, or almost certainly during the nineties. Or, as was recently the tragic case with a friend of a friend, in the twenties.

That’s why I celebrate as many birthdays as possible. Just a few months ago I was twenty-five million minutes old, and today I’m celebrating twenty-five hundred weeks on this lovely planet, only one of which was spent in captivity.

This occasion calls for a party, so I’m off to find one.

20 December 2003
Love Is Oxygen
I’d drown without my dear friends; their love is oxygen.

21 December 2003
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily ...
Twelve years ago today my father took a nap from which he never awoke. I decided to mark the anniversary of his death by rereading the last letter I received from him. This is how he closed the missive: “So merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. Keep having those happy dreams and I will be happy.”

I have a number of friends and associates who are somewhat dissatisfied because they’ll never fulfill their parents’ exhortations to do this, that, or some other thing. I feel fortunate to have had a father whose only request of me was to enjoy life.

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22 December 2003
Absinthe Party!
What a party last night! Kerstin’s glowing! Ame deflowered a cake! Absinthe is a most efficacious beverage!

No wonder it’s illegal. Conversely, that may be exactly why it’s so felicitous.

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23 December 2003
Anger? Touch the Electric Third Rail
The BART subway vandals have struck again! Using only a black felt pen, someone changed “Danger Do not touch the electric third rail” to “Anger? Touch the electric third rail.”


24 December 2003
The Other Chef Trick
After sharing one of my two chef’s tricks—the one about the onions—last month, a number of my inquisitive friends have asked what the other stratagem is.

I think that’s an entirely reasonable request; I’m happy to tell everything I know. And so it is that I will reveal that I employ the Japanese approach of always keeping my guests’ beer and wine glasses at least half full all night.


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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart