2006 Notebook: Weak I
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1 January 2006
No. 3,126 (cartoon)
I give up; enough is enough.

Enough is never enough.

2 January 2006
More Meaningless Statistics
As of yesterday, I’ve now been concocting this daily notebook for over a decade. (Please note I used the word “notebook” and not “blog,” since latter word didn’t exist ten years ago. The contraction of “weblog” is a sloppy bit of slang that needn’t exist today, but that’s another tirade for another day.)

My computer tells me that, since I began, I’ve typed 2,577,977 characters. Two and a half million struck me as an improbably large number until I calculated that only required an average of less than a thousand daily tippety-taps on the keyboard. I only typed 450,319 words, though. If I’m going to reach a cumulative total of a million words in another decade, I shall have to use lots of allegorical, clarifying, comparative, corroborative, delineative, descriptive, diagrammatic, emblematic, exemplifying, explicatory, expository, figurative, graphic, iconographic, illuminative, illustrational, illustratory, imagistic, indicative, interpretive, metaphoric, and revealing words.

Or, in lay terms, padding.

Of course, many of my learned friends argue that precisely 3,653—or thereabouts—days of tedious notebook entries constitute little more than fluffed stuffing and stuffed fluff. And, when they do, I don’t disagree.

3 January 2006
Three-Legged Dogs and Dead Horses
The sight of a three-legged dog running through the park led Christine to wonder aloud why dogs seemed to do reasonably well with seventy-five percent of their limbs, but horses were useless if even one of their legs was maimed.

I suggested that dogs were so stupid that they may not have noticed that something was awry after losing a leg. Or, I reasoned, perhaps dogs really aren’t that stupid, and may have observed over the millennia that lame horses get killed.

Christine scowled at both arguments, but failed to provide any plausible alternative.

4 January 2006
I rarely get upset or angry, but today I am livid beyond crimson. The fiasco began when I asked how plans were going for my victory celebrations after I am elected the new king of England on Friday. I was informed my campaign manager in London (alright, Norwich) that he was “dreadfully sorry” but, “it seems that our intern failed to file the election papers on time.”

“Let me explain something,” I began, “the lot of you are sacked, effective 1 December. And as for last month’s payment that was temporarily delayed, you may now consider the delay permanent. Now bugger off.”

I should have known better than to hire nefarious Brits. I wager Chuck bribed them to sabotage my campaign for king of England, just as he bought off most of the English newspapers. (As an aside, that’s why the tabloids have almost stopped using equine terms to describe the mistress he married.)

And as if I didn’t have enough to do already, it now looks like I shall have to begin my campaign for king all over again.


5 January 2006
“In one sense, it’s senseless,” declared Molly.

“It is, however, sensible in another sense,” replied Polly.

“I sense you’re talking about a sixth sense,” suggested Molly.

“Sensational!” declared Polly.

I love listening to identical twins argue, especially since they never seem to be able to do so very well.

6 January 2006
Schadenfreude Made Me Do It
Melanie wrote to tell me I was “a pretentious idiot” for using the phrase “l’esprit de l’escalier.” She went on to ask me what it meant.

I may be an idiot, but I’m not a pretentious one. It’s just that there a few ideas that may be more succinctly said in a language other than English. In this case, “l’esprit de l’escalier” works much better than an awkward phrase such as, “thinking of the clever remark you should have made long after the opportunity to make it has passed,” i.e., when walking down the stairs after a party.

I sent Melanie a concise reply: “Schadenfreude made me do it.”

I bet Melanie won’t ask me what “schadenfreude” means, but I hope she does.

7 January 2006
Shifty Years Old
I loathe Edgar Degas, even though we never met. I hate him for something he said, something that’s annoyed me for decades. “Everyone has talent at twenty-five. The difficulty is to have it at fifty.”

A pox on Edgar Degas.

Today is my birthday. When asked how old I am, I answer truthfully, “I’m shifty years old.”

8 January 2006
A Fountain of Publicity
I read that a seventy-six year old French performance artist was arrested in Paris for whacking Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” with a hammer. The news report didn’t identify the unnamed artist, but noted that he’d also urinated in the same sculpture—a generic urinal—in 1993. What a shame to still be referred to as “anonymous” after two internationally-publicized publicity stunts.

The porcelain piece has been generating lots of press for the late Duchamp since he first exhibited it in 1917. Duchamp feigned indifference to fame, but cleverly ensured that the original piece would be remembered and regarded as art when he had Alfred Stieglitz photograph the original. That clever move generated sensitive photographic treatment. It also started ninety years of publicity, since Stieglitz was the owner of the seminal 291 Gallery.

The original “Fountain” was lost long ago; the nameless French performance artist vandalized a three a half million dollar reproduction, albeit one signed by Duchamp.

No word on the fate of the attacker. Given his age, I hope the gendarmes let him off with a reprimand. If “performance artist” is a euphemism for “mime,” then we’d probably all be better off if he spent the remainder of his years in prison.

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart