2005 Notebook: Weak XLIII
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22 October 2005
No. 463 (cartoon)
I will never speak with you again.


I am dead.

23 October 2005
Another Dubious Musical Achievement
I have a new audio program for composing and recording music on my computer. The documentation boasts of, “much higher timing resolution than previous versions. In fact, the internal timing resolution is about two trillion PPQ [parts per quarter note].”

I’m unconvinced that the ability to divide an eighth note into a trillion units represents a musical advance. May Ray had the right idea when he observed, “There is no progress in art, any more than there is in making love.”

24 October 2005
Security Devices and Walking Rice
I enjoyed a pleasant stroll in Olmsted Park in Buffalo this sunny afternoon. From time to time during the long walk, I spotted a small chocolate truffle or a maraschino cherry, or, more rarely, an accumulation of rice. That’s not particularly unusual in a public park, I suppose. After prolonged observation, I noticed that these inanimate objects would move occasionally, even though it was a windless day.

Most curious.

I finally ran into a groundskeeper, and asked her about the strange foodstuffs.

“They’re security devices,” she explained.

“What kind of security devices?” I asked.

“All I know,” she replied, “is that the red ones belong to the feds and the brown ones come from the state government.”

“So the white ones are from the local government?” I suggested.

“There aren’t any white ones,” the groundskeeper declared.

“Look over here,” I requested, and pointed at a rotting puppy covered in what appeared to be walking rice.

“Those aren’t security devices,” the groundskeeper laughed as she picked up the pool of puppy with her shovel, “those are maggots!”

I don’t feel particularly secure.

25 October 2005
Melissa wrote to thank me for introducing her to the tiny Oakland city monument, and asked if I’d heard of Paul St. George.

“Thank you and no,” I replied, “Who’s Paul St. George?”

“He’s an artist who does teeny-tiny reproductions of well-known art works and calls them minumentals,” Melissa explained, “and he really annoys pompous curators who think he’s not being reverent enough.”

“What’s not to like?” I asked rhetorically.

If there’s anything better than a curator in a blathering dither, it’s a curator in a rabid froth. And if St. George can send them there, then good for him.

26 October 2005
The Reba and Lori Schappell Show
I really must rethink my aversion to country music, since it has so much to offer. If only it wasn’t such a blatant oxymoron.

I just learned about Reba Schappell, a country music singer who never goes anywhere without her sister Lori. Reba and Lori are literally inseparable, which is a classic definition of conjoined, née Siamese, twins. Even better, the remarkable twins both live up to the self-effacing, blue collar stereotype. Boy howdy!

“I do not ask for anything from Reba,” Lori declared. “I don’t get into her concerts free just because she’s a conjoined twin. I have to pay, just like every other fan that comes to the concert.”

Unlike other fans, though, Lori can’t watch Reba perform. That’s because Reba covers Lori with a blanket while she sings. What a show! Whatever Reba lacks in musical talent certainly must be more than compensated for by her inimitable approach to theatre!

27 October 2005
A Once in a Lifetime Halloween Prank
It’s Halloween season again, with the requisite “scary” decorations. Among the tedious jack-o’-lanterns, unconvincing faux spider webs, and ludicrous inflatable witches and vampires, one may still find a truly macabre presentation.

My favorite story this year comes from Frederica, Delaware, where a forty-two year old woman hung what appeared to be a corpse from a tree beside a busy road. Police were easily able to discover who hung the dead body, since it was a simple case of suicide by hanging. The woman’s limp cadaver hung, slowly twisting from the rope around her neck, for hours until some astute observer concluded she wasn’t a Halloween decoration.

Of well, at least no one mistook her for a piñata.

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28 October 2005
Cap’n Crunch Reappears
I had an unwelcome surprise at breakfast this morning when I was reunited with a grim specter from my youth, Cap’n Crunch. Everyone knows his story, even though no one agrees on all the details.

In 1965, Crunch was sailing his yacht off Sumatra when he was attacked by Indonesian pirates. Was Crunch working for the American Central Intelligence Agency? Were the pirates Communist insurgents about to launch their failed coup attempt? No one knows except Crunch, and he refuses to talk about the gruesome incident.

Everyone agrees that Crunch was brutally tortured. The pirates failed to extract any valuable information. They did, however, use pliers to extract all of his teeth, fingernails, and toenails. The horrific ordeal left Crunch broken, bitter, and vengeful.

According to confidants, Crunch decided to share his misery by selling unhealthy, eponymously-named cereal, roughly half sugar with a dose of artery-clogging hydrogenated oil thrown in for good measure. Perhaps by design, the little cereal pieces are about the same size as the children’s teeth they rot.

As in real life, the caricature of Cap’n Crunch on the box has no fingernails and two porcelain dentures where his teeth used to be. Crunch, bitter over his barbaric abuse, insisted that the dentures not imitate real teeth. Crunch’s few associates claim that he relishes his deformities and exults in his repulsive appearance. And that’s why Cap’n Crunch is always depicted as smiling, showing off his gruesome dentures: he know he’s sharing his misery, one box of cereal at a time.

29 October 2005
Daily Savings Time
Tomorrow marks the end of daylight savings time here in most of North America. In practice that means the hour that was stolen from me on 3 April will finally be returned, albeit without interest. I never fully appreciated how literally anachronistic this practice was until I heard the Magliozzi brothers propose a clearly superior alternative: daily savings time.

Under daily savings time, each day the clock would be set ahead from 15:00 to 16:00. This would improve employee morale without any decrease in workplace efficiency, for, as any worker drone will confirm, very little gets accomplished after 15:00.

To replace the lost hour, clocks would be set back from 3:00 to 2:00 every morning. Sleepers would get an extra hour of rest, and, in locales where bars close at 2:00, drinkers would get an addition hour of imbibing.

I was enthusiastically describing the promise of more sleep and less work to Christine, who was immediately critical of my reasoning.

“One immediate problem with your convoluted scenario,” she began, “How could you do any less work?”

Dang! I shall have to revisit the proposition and see if I can come up with a better alternative.

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart