2005 Notebook: Weak XXXVIII
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18 September 2005
No. 8,601 (cartoon)
I fear death.

Not as much as you fear life.

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19 September 2005
Perpetually Stranded Buffalonians
I looked around this afternoon, and wondered aloud why all these people live in Buffalo. Helena explained that they simply don’t know how to leave. Long ago, traffic engineers removed all signs indicating how to exit the city. And thus, Helena maintained, generations of Buffalonians live there because they don’t know how to get from here to there.

I suppose it’s like Gertrude Stein said, “There’s no there there.”

20 September 2005
Matt’s Memorable Farewell
Matt said something amazing this morning as I was leaving for the airport.

“Goodbye, David,” he said, “thanks for visiting.”

Matt’s sentiments weren’t remarkable, but his delivery was. He said the five words in the course of a long belch.

Matt shrugged when I marveled at his exceptional ability; he takes his skill for granted. I suppose that’s always the way it is; I rarely meet anyone who thinks their unusual talents are noteworthy.

21 September 2005
Creative Poetry Scam
Villem is making lots of money in poetry. He’s not writing it, he’s promoting it. Sort of.

Villem is selling lots of “Poet’s Promotional Packages” for thirty-five dollars each. Each packet consists of an eight-page booklet exhorting poets “not to hide their light under a bushel” (whatever that means) and forty-one oversized envelopes addressed to prominent poetry editors and publishers.

Now here’s the beautiful part: the editors know what Villem’s doing, so they don’t bother opening the preaddressed submissions. All the aspiring poets’ work goes directly to the trash, with one notable exception.

Al Rogers, the editor of the Nome Poetry Review, welcomes all the poetry he receives. All the poems go into a shredder, then into his stove. The poetry may not warm anyone’s heart, but the drivel keeps Rogers’ cabin warm throughout the long Alaskan winter.

22 September 2005
Kleptonesia and/or Cryptonesia
I’m confused, as usual. I heard a story on the radio about people who unconsciously plagiarize. The name for this practice is something like kleptonesia or cryptonesia; beats me.

I used to inadvertently steal other people’s work, but I don’t anymore. That’s because I like to be in control of what I do. And so, when I steal, I like to know what I’ve purloined so that I can cover my tracks. I feel sorry for drunks and artists who don’t know what happened last night.

As an aside, I don’t remember what happened last night, but that gas nothing to do with kleptonesia, cryptonesia, or a liter of vodka. That’s my story, and I believe it. Sort of.

23 September 2005
Disaster Planning
As if anyone might have hallucinated otherwise, government bureaucrats have advised that no one should rely on them for a few days after a natural disaster such as a hurricane or an earthquake. Having seen the suffering in the wake of the recent hurricane, it seems clear that when disaster strikes, it’s every looter for herself.

I evaluated the situation here at the lab, and noted that we don’t even have a three-hour supply of Rainier Ale. I’m not sure what to do about that. I should keep enough ail to last for three days. That may be impossible, though, since demand always expands to overwhelm supply. I’ll have to look at the numbers, but I fear there’s no such thing as a three-day supply of Rainier Ale.

Oh well. If there’s an earthquake strong enough to interrupt ail deliveries, with any luck it will be powerful enough to kill me so that I won’t notice. I suppose that’s what it will take for supply to exceed demand.

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart