2006 Notebook: Weak XXVIII
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9 July 2006
No. 3,618 (cartoon)
What are the odds of seeing you again?

Less than negative zero.

10 July 2006
Communist Alert!
During the cold war, U.S. demagogues warned that Soviet communists were bent on destroying the American way of life. I’m sure Soviet apparatchiks were spouting variations on the same bile on the other side of the iron curtain. When the war was over, both the United States and the Soviet Union ended up losing to an ad hoc alliance of multinational corporations that still manage global life these days.

Well, ’twould appear the American cold warriors may have been right after all. That’s my fear after reading this headline in the Moscow News.

    Russian Scientists Claim to Invent Drug-Free Cannabis, Suggest it to Replace Wild Cannabis Worldwide

According to the article, Sergei Grigoryev of the Russian Plant Institute announced that he and his perfidious coconspirators have concocted a new, drug-free variant of cannabis that could, with the right husbandry (is there such a thing?!) achieve a Darwinian triumph over the marijuana that’s made the United States the country it is today.

Inhale deeply and think about it. Where would the music business be without tetrahydrocannabinol? Surely the donut industry would collapse with out the patronage of customers without chemically-stimulated appetites. And so on and so on.

Communist alert!

But, perhaps too late, I fear. Communists have come and gone, but evil scientists live on forever.

11 July 2006
Skillful at Stuffing Peppers
“It had to wear off eventually,” Rob concluded.

That was Rob’s reaction to the news of Pink Floyd cofounder Syd Barrett’s recent death. Rob was of course referring to the truckloads of recreational drugs Barrett gulped, snorted, and inhaled in his younger days, before his brain imploded.

It’s an ill death that blows no good, or something like that. In any case, I was delighted to read the last paragraph of the obituary Adam Bernstein wrote for The Washington Post.

    After brief hospitalization, Mr. Barrett was cared for by his mother, and he rarely left home. After his mother died in 1991, his health worsened, and his eyesight began to fail. He enjoyed gardening, however, and was said to be skillful at stuffing peppers.

What brilliant last words! “Said to be skillful at stuffing peppers” has to be a clever euphemism for something, but I have no idea what it might be.

12 July 2006
Twisted Knickers
From time to time, police deviate from their normal duties to act like groovy, hep cats. Like, crazy, daddio!

The trouble is, the police cannot—by definition—be far-out trendsetters. The Suffolk, England constables have provided the latest example of a failed attempt to gain street cred, or credibility.

The cops published a “free magazine” targeted at young women featuring this dubious advice.

    “For those of you intent on getting ratted [drunk] this weekend, think. If you fall over or pass out, remember your skirt or dress may ride up. You could show off more than you intended—for all our sakes, please make sure you’re wearing nice pants [underwear].”

Why oh why oh why did the Suffolk cops spend taxpayers’ money to encourage young women to show their exposed, drunken derrieres in the best possible light? Only the coppers know, and they’re not talking.

13 July 2006
Why My Phone Won’t Ring
Evelyn called today to ask for “a man’s perspective” on her crazy boyfriend. Specifically, she asked me to translate his phrase, “I’m not in a place where I can make a commitment to you,” from malese to femalese.

“That’s a tough one,” I admitted. “It could mean he’s not ready to make a commitment to anyone, or he could be using weasel words to avoid saying he doesn’t want to make a commitment to you.”

“That’s not a nice thing to say,” Evelyn replied. “I expected you to be more supportive.”

“Well, you did ask for my opinion,” I protested uselessly.

“Frankly, I expected you to be more positive,” Evelyn said. “I see no point in talking with you if you can’t be more encouraging.”

“Well, then I encourage you to find a boyfriend who’s not a jerk,” I suggested.

That proved to be the wrong response.

“I’m wasting my time with you,” Evelyn concluded. “From now on, when your phone doesn’t ring, that will be me not calling.”

She hung up before I could give my spoiled friend an insincere apology.

14 July 2006
An Auspicious French Day
Two hundred and seventeen years ago today, a mob of some twenty-thousand Parisians stormed the Bastille prison, killed all the guards, and freed all seven prisoners: four forgers, a murder accomplice, an incestuous nobleman, and an insane Irishman. The revolutionaries decapitated the warden then paraded his head on a stick.

And thus began the French revolution, a bloodbath that murdered most of the intelligent French people. Subsequent wars killed most of the remainder of the intelligentsia and/or ambitious French citizens. And that more or less explains the pathetic state of the French nation state.

I know that’s a grossly unfair and immature caricature of the state of the French state, but I don’t care. The French government killed a fellow photographer when its agents sunk the Greenpeace boat on which I used to sail. And for that, I shall carry a grudge—between large glasses of Saint Émilion—for the rest of my days.

15 July 2006
A Questionable Bulgarian Lesbian
Michael and I were working on a project at his house when he introduced me to his housekeeper, Snejana. Later, he told me that Snejana claimed to be the only lesbian in Bulgaria.

“How can that be?” I asked, “she’s not in Bulgaria.”

“Good point,” Michael agreed. “Come to think of it, she’s not a lesbian either.”

16 July 2006
I Am Not a Bad Writer
From time to time, one or more of my learned friends have opined that I am a bad writer. I may be a mediocre writer, but I simply don’t have what it takes to be a truly bad writer. As I’ve remarked before, it’s like Richard Le Gallienne said, “You can’t fake it. Bad writing is a gift.”

I was unpleasantly reminded of my deficiency when I read Jim Guigli’s award-winning entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

    Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you’ve had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.

I can’t imagine imaging going without a burrito for any length of time, and it’s that absence of imagination, that lack of being gifted, that will forever condemn me to plumb no depths further than pedestrian mediocrity.

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart