2005 Notebook: Weak XLV
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5 November 2005
No. 2,015 (cartoon)
What do you want from me?


6 November 2005
Figuratively Literally
Vernon reported that he laughed so hard at a recent episode of South Park that, “I literally laughed so hard I fell off the couch.”

“You literally fell off the couch because you were laughing so hard?” I said skeptically.

“I actually did, figuratively speaking,” Vernon replied.

“So what was it,” I asked, “did you literally figuratively fall off the couch laughing, or figuratively literally?”

“Shut up,” Vernon explained.

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7 November 2005
What Really Happened in 1878?
There is no Rainier Ale in New York. That may or may not be true, but I can’t find a single dose of my favorite sophisticated adult malt beverage here.

And so it is that I’ve taken to swilling Genesee Cream Ale. It’s “ale” in a green aluminum can, but it doesn’t enjoy the same viscosity or opacity as Rainier Ale. On the other hand, I really shouldn’t complain (even though I do) since a convenient, thirty-can box of Genesee Cream Ale only costs nine dollars.

The more I drink, the more I keep noticing the phrase, “Since 1878,” printed on every label. For some reason, the year 1878 resonates with me, even though I wasn’t alive then. That’s when I decided to ask my computer what happened in 1878. Although I shouldn’t reduce myself to foreshadowing, I will. This is where things get spooky, very spooky indeed.

My computer reports that the only thing it knows about the year 1878 comes from a Rainier Ale label: “Mountain Fresh Taste Since 1878.”


So what really happened in 1878? The telephone was only two years old then, so it’s most improbable that hopheads on opposite coasts were comparing notes. I suppose there’s the possibility of sharing brewing strategies via the new transcontinental railroad, but that seems doubtful at best.

I’ll probably never know why these two ales were born almost simultaneously. I can say that with some certainty, since I’m too lazy to investigate.

8 November 2005
Fun Terror
I’m flying back to San Francisco, and I’m exchanging scary stories with the architect sitting next to me.

Him: I remember the time when one of the engines caught on fire ...

Me: I remember the time when we lost altitude so suddenly that all the drinks and everything else that wasn’t secured smashed against the ceiling ...

Him: I remembered when we landed in Moscow and these crazy Russian cops came charging down the aisle screaming and waving their pistols ...

Me: I remember circling Seattle for hours to burn off fuel before we made an emergency landing ...

We went on exchanging tales for some time, until the architect neatly summed them up: terror is so much more fun when it’s over.

9 November 2005
Tempting Fate to Save an Hour
When I changed planes in Chicago yesterday, I was able to get on the noon flight to San Francisco instead of my scheduled flight, which left an hour later. I kept wondering if I was doing the right thing throughout the flight. On one hand, spending as little time as possible in airports is clearly a good idea. On the other hand, trying to save an hour would have proved false economy had my flight crashed.

Fortunately, both flights landed safely. I would have been so miffed if I heard the captain announce, “Er, folks, we’re gonna crash soon and you’re all going to die. We appreciate your business, thanks for flying with us today.”

10 November 2005
Mari’s Decorative Little Drunk
I asked Angela if she’d met Mari’s latest girlfriend.

“You mean the decorative little drunk?” Angela asked.

“I’ll assume that’s an affirmative,” I said.

11 November 2005
What kind of art do you make?

That’s the logical, predictable question everyone asks whenever I say I’m an artist, and I’ve never come up with a good answer. Almost no one gets the stupid joke when I say I’m a recovering photographer. Bad conceptual art is repetitiously redundant. And when I say I make worthless art to differentiate myself from the “artists” who make pornography, sell “art” by the truckload to hotel chains, et cetera, I always get a well-intentioned lecture that art isn’t worthless, it’s ennobling, a high calling, commendable, admiral, laudable, ad nauseam.

And that’s why I was delighted to learn a new word today that accurately describes the type of work I create, irritainment. That raises the question of whether I’m an artist or an irritainer, a question I’m not going to worry about today.

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart