2004 Notebook: Weak XI
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13 March 2004
No. 222 (cartoon)
Pick a number.



14 March 2004
Go Team Go!
When I was a teenager, I made at least one very wise choice and one indisputably foolish decision. Specifically, I wisely chose to ignore organized sports and foolishly chose to get perfect academic grades. I’m glad I didn’t waste time on unnecessary athletic pursuits, but, in retrospect, I really should have spent more time engaging in youthful debauchery instead of pointless study. No one has ever asked about my academic achievements, not even once.

After reading a recent news story, I wonder if I should have been an athlete. That would have probably solved the problems about studying too much. For example, here are some questions on the final exam for the University of Georgia’s “Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball.”

    How many quarters are in a high school basketball game?

    How many goals are on a basketball court?

    How many points does a three-point field goal account for?

The test was easier than the questions would suggest; the athletes had to choose from several possible answers.

Go team go!

15 March 2004
The Dark Side of California
I usually enjoy my extended visits to California in general and San Francisco in particular. I find the aesthetic, social, and economic landscapes and atmospheres conducive to relaxed and rewarding work. Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect environment; the local biosphere is populated by painfully stupid “new age” (rhymes with sewage) practitioners.

They’re everywhere.

I was at a party last night when some new age wanker approached me with a glassy look in his eyes, the kind of empty gaze that comes from really poor cognitive abilities and/or really good hallucinogens.

“We’re all just bundles of energy,” he declared, apropos of nothing, “that’s all, really.”

“Not me,” I replied as I made a break for the bar, “I’m a bundle of indolence and sloth.”

And that was that. About the only good thing I have to say about new agers is that, through lack of intellect or will, they rarely argue.

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16 March 2004
Dihydrogen Monoxide Abuse
I try to run a relaxed lab; I work hard to keep an open mind. Having said that, sometimes I have to act like the enlightened despot I am. For example, I had to put my foot down yesterday when I caught Stewart adding dihydrogen monoxide to his Bunnahabhain.

“Are you insane?” I asked rhetorically. “Never, ever mix dihydrogen monoxide with whisky.”

Stewart stared down at his glass; he was understandably chagrined and embarrassed.

“Now pour that crap out,” I ordered, “and don’t touch the dihydrogen monoxide, dihydrogen oxide, hydrogen hydroxide, hydronium hydroxide, or hydric acid again without asking me first.”

Stewart’s irresponsible little experiment forced me to limit access to our inventory of a lovely chemical family. I try to run a relaxed lab, but there’s a reason dihydrogen monoxide is colloquially known as the invisible killer.

17 March 2004
St. Patrick’s Day
On the way back to the laboratory, I waded upstream through a gaggle of young, Asian women wearing identical pink shirts embroidered with the admonition, “Kiss me, I’m Irish.”

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and everyone’s marking the occasion by wearing green and drinking heavily. I have no idea who the alleged saint was; I can only conclude that he drank more than me and dressed even worse.

18 March 2004
Three Thousand Entries
This is my three-thousandth notebook entry, and that calls for a drink. As did yesterday’s brief dissertation. As will tomorrow’s effort. It’s no wonder everyone wants to be a writer!

19 March 2004
Clichés Alive!
Clichés have to come from somewhere. Today’s example comes from Rhea County, Tennessee. The politically reactionary county hasn’t garnered much attention since 1925, when a local judge and jury convicted high school teacher John T. Scopes of teaching evolution.

Some things never change, and some people never learn. Recently, the county commissioners decided to request Tennessee law be amended to make being a homosexual a crime punishable by a jail sentence.

“It was to stop people from coming here and getting married and living in Rhea County,” explained county attorney Gary Fritts.

So far, the story involves homophobic fools worrying about an influx of foreigners invading their stagnant little gene pool. That’s funny, in a pathetic sort of way, but it wouldn’t be an entertaining parable without a good punch line.

The backwater cretins were surprised when their ignorant phobia generated international ridicule. And that finally brings us to the punch line.

“I’ve never seen nothing like this,” Fritts said when he announced the locals were abandoning plans to imprison homosexuals.

Breathtakingly stupid people, hillbilly grammar, what’s not to like?

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart