2006 Notebook: Weak XXXIV
gratuitous image
20 August 2006
No. 2,596 (cartoon)
Why do you make me suffer?

I know how to please you.

21 August 2006
The Late Joe Rosenthal and His Famous Photograph
I just read that Joe Rosenthal died; he was the photographer who made the famous image of the Americans raising the flag on Iwo Jima during the second world war.

Or, more accurately, Rosenthal photographed the second raising of an American flag that day. The story I heard was that the second event was staged for the camera because one of the servicemen involved in the first instance was black. After reading today’s glowing obituaries, though, I believe Rosenthal’s claim that the photograph wasn’t a setup.

I’m probably looking at the past through rosé-tinted glasses (especially since my father fought—or, rather, cooked—in said war), but it seems like there were a lot more people with impeccable integrity back then. I just reread the previous sentence, and realized I’m wrong: people are people; they always have been and always will be peccable.

My father was certainly peccable; maybe Rosenthal was too? Perhaps, but this is not a question to address before the ink on Rosenthal’s Internet obituaries is dry.

David Winter, Dianne Ferchel at BetterBadNews
22 August 2006
Better Bad News
I visited the set of Better Bad News tonight, where pseudo-journalists and suspicious pundits offered up sound bites. Or, perhaps more accurately, unsound morsels. The team lived up to its bold claim to provide, “Unbalanced and Half-true News Opinion and Commentary.”

I found the experience quite refreshing. Having said that, I suppose honesty in broadcasting might become tedious if it became commonplace. There’s not much chance of that, so I shall sleep soundly tonight, just like every other night.

23 August 2006
US Sick-Air
Flying doesn’t agree with some people, such as those delicate souls who react to being on a jiggly jet by regurgitating. For that reason, most airlines provide passengers with small, impermeable bags in which to vomit at their leisure.

In this era of relentless marketing, some bureaucrat at US Airways noticed that the airsickness bags were shockingly devoid of printing. According to the account I read, she decided to take advantage of the blank canvases and cover them with advertising.

I wonder what kind of advertisements US Airways chose: did they select products that would encourage vomiting, such as scratch-and-sniff promotions for rat poison? Or perhaps they opted for some pharmaceutical product that turns human beings into numb, tranquil zombies?

Since I avoid that airline, and since never get airsick, I may never know.

24 August 2006
A Pair of Penises
“It is a problem of plenty.” That’s how the India Times described the medical condition of a twenty-four year old businessman from Uttar Pradesh, who asked doctors to amputate his penis. But just one of them.

It turns out that the young man, who wants to remain anonymous, suffers—if that’s the right word—from an extraordinarily rare case of diphallus. (If I know my Latin, which I certainly don’t, it seems like the correct word would be, “diphalli.” Or perhaps I’m thinking of a fiery vindaloo dish I enjoyed on The Rajdhani Express years ago?)

I decided to get some cultural perspective on the problem, so I asked Minnisha what she thought about the situation.

“I think two penises are two too many,” she replied after briefly considering the proposition.

Almost every story has a moral, and the lesson to be learned from this tale is this: never seek an objective opinion of penises from a lesbian.

25 August 2006
Sicilian [sic] Peasant [sic] Wine
Annalee showed up with a five-liter bottle of “Sicilian Peasant Wine” that she bought from one of those ginormous warehouse places that sells things in massive quantities. A box of wine, imagine that!

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Sicilian Peasant Wine,” she replied, “since when can’t you read?”

“I don’t think Sicilian peasants drink wine from boxes,” I explained.

“Don’t worry,” Annalee replied, “you’re not Sicilian at all, not quite a peasant, but you would drink shoe polish if it was eleven-percent alcohol.”

I couldn’t argue with her, and so, for once, I didn’t. I can report that Sicilian [sic] Peasant [sic] Wine goes well with pesto pasta. All’s well that ends, well, with such a merry feast.

26 August 2006
Pam’s Mellifluous Voice
I’ve known Pam for years, but tonight was the first time I’ve seen her perform. Wow, what a smooth, dulcet voice!

“You sounded fantastic!” I enthused when I met her backstage. “I don’t think you’d have any problem talking someone into killing themselves!”

Pam gave me a quizzical look, smiled weakly, then turned to talk with another admirers. Some people just don’t know how to accept a compliment.

27 August 2006
Straining His Stool
Kiliaen told me that the New York Times reported that Elvis Presley died, “straining his stool.” That sounds about right, given Presley’s insatiable appetite for bowel-clogging pharmaceuticals and fatty foods (about which more later). Still, I couldn’t find any reference to the Times obituary on the Internet.

Nevertheless, I believe the story is true; a British documentary made a similar reference to the bloated entertainer’s death. The broadcast investigated a death-row inmate in a Kentucky prison as well as his chosen method of execution. The convict requested that he be electrocuted on a custom-made toilet so that he could, “die just like Elvis.”

I don’t care what anyone else says about the Brits; when it comes to journalism they’re both more accurate and entertaining than their American counterparts. I’m certain that the British Broadcasting Corporation wouldn’t have allowed the reference to Presley’s gruesome demise if it wasn’t verifiably true.

Finally, here’s the recipe for the prisoner’s—and perhaps Presley’s—last meal, an Elvis favorite.

Ingredients: a large loaf of unsliced bread, half a kilo of bacon, a quarter kilo of butter, a large container of processed peanut butter, and a big jar of grape or redcurrant jam.

Coat the bread with butter, then put it in a hot oven for fifteen minutes. Slice the loaf down the middle, then fill with fried bacon, peanut butter and jam.

Serves one Elvis.

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart