2005 Notebook: Weak XL
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1 October 2005
No. 4,617 (cartoon)
You call this love?

I call it nothing.

2 October 2005
A Different Wrinkle
“Look at those wrinkles,” Tammy sniffed as she surveyed my scruffy attire. “It looks like you slept in your clothes.”

“I did,” I replied. “They were a lot more crumpled last night.”

“You’re joking, aren’t you?” Tammy asked.

“I’m not,” I answered. “As an aside, I was a lot more crumpled last night too.”

3 October 2005
Overhearing Boning
The people eavesdropping on Nick and Alicia’s conversation are blushing.

“Did you bone that guy you’ve been working on?” Nick asked.

“I haven’t got around to it yet,” Alicia replied.

“Can I watch you do it?” Nick inquired.

“Sure,” Alicia agreed, “sounds like fun.”

I know something the red-faced eavesdroppers don’t: Nick and Alicia animate three-dimensional computer figures. When the appearance of a new character is finalized, the animators give the creature a virtual skeleton, a process known in animators’ parlance as “boning.”

Sometimes single-entendres are more amusing than double-entendres.

4 October 2005
Laying Gerbils
I’m housesitting, and trying to find a familiar radio station. As I was going from one channel to another, I heard an impassioned man who sounded like an evangelist urging listeners to, “lay your gerbils on me!”

Of course, that probably wasn’t what he said, but what was it? Turtles? Weevils? Gobblers?

Who knows?

I was tempted to go back and figure out what he said, but concluded that two seconds was more than enough time listening to evangelists for one year.

Who cares?

5 October 2005
Willy’s Bad Movie
Willy showed up quite drunk with a story of sorrow, treachery, and intrigue.

“Harriet left me,” he somberly announced.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I was curious about the tawdry details. I didn’t ask, because I assumed he’d tell me within a minute. I assumed correctly.

Willy told me his girlfriend had just admitted that she’d been having an affair with his “best friend” for most of the year. Although he claimed to be devastated, he added that there was a mitigating factor: for many months, he’s been “sleeping” with his best friend’s partner.

“You’re not going to write about this, are you?” Willy asked when he saw me taking notes.

“Don’t worry,” I replied, “I’ll change the names and details; no one will recognize you or anyone else.”

“You’re missing the point,” Willy insisted. “I’m going to write a screenplay about the whole thing, and I don’t want anyone to steal the plot.”

I promised him I wouldn’t write about it. I lied.

Willy was so drunk I doubt he’ll remember much of the conversation. And even if he does, it’s unlikely he’ll read this. And as for stealing his screenplay idea, I’d wager that movie’s been made a few hundred times already.

6 October 2005
Nine-Year Drip
I’ve never heard of an artist creating new science in the course of aesthetic inquiry. On the other hand, scientists routinely create some darn good art as scientific byproducts. For example, University of Queensland scientists have been studying a blob of coagulated tar in a funnel since 1927. It yields one drop every nine years or so.

That’s one of the most beautiful sights I can imagine!

It’s no wonder the researchers won the Ig Nobel prize for physicists. The tar was my favorite award, better even than the study of the velocity at which penguins expel excrement, or the award for “Neuticles,” prosthetic testicles for neutered dogs.

7 October 2005
Bologna Burritos
Rudy’s back from Wisconsin with tales to tell.

“Guess what I found in Whitefish Bay!” Rudy demanded.

“Where’s that?” I inquired.

“On Lake Michigan in Door County outside of Green Bay,” Rudy explained.

“I give up,” I replied. “What did you find?”

“Wally’s Burrito Shack!” Rudy announced triumphantly. “That’s where I had a bologna burrito!”

Rudy went on to describe a rubbery tortilla filled with shredded bologna, iceberg lettuce, and artificial mayonnaise. The concoction is served cold, so that fishers can toss the ersatz burritos in their coolers beside the beer and worms.

“Why would you eat a bologna burrito?” I asked.

“The burrito with deep-fried walleye looked way too greasy,” Rudy said with a grimace.

I suspect Rudy did enjoy a deep-fried walleye burrito, but was too embarrassed to admit it.

8 October 2005
Cheap Wine Power
Thanks to a glut of good grapes, wine is cheaper than bottled water in France. For example, the wholesale price for a decent bottle of Côtes-du-Rhône is down to seventy cents. And that’s why French wineries are converting oceans of excess wine into ethanol. By the end of the year, some one hundred and thirty million bottles of wine will have been converted to a gasoline additive, with the remains recycled as fertilizer and food coloring.

In a way, this sad development isn’t news. A few years ago, ten million liters of Beaujolais ended up as vinegar. Of course, one could argue that vin de pays has the same DNA as vinegar. And that’s what’s so appalling about this recent development: the vintners are dumping their appellation controlée inventory.

Rather than see good wine powering automobiles, I’d rather see it powering bicycles. Specifically, I can imagine pedaling from vineyard to vineyard, buying enough inexpensive wine to power me to the next one. It seemed like a viable plan until I factored in the cost of traveling to Saint Émilion.

As it turns out, wine’s about as cheap and generally better here in California, so I’ll continue to support my regional vineyards, just as they’ve supported me. Symbiosis is a beautiful thing.

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart