2006 Notebook: Weak XXXIX
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24 September 2006
No. 4,181 (cartoon)
I have a time machine.

Is it red?

It uses batteries.

25 September 2006
Black Bean Terrorism
The airline “security” charade continues. I’d be amused by the inanity if I could still travel with a flask of whisky. (Suddenly, it appears that my friends with their own jets aren’t that self-indulgent.)

At the airport this morning, the clue-free people inspecting my bag of electronics spotted a couple of yogurt containers, and informed me that I couldn’t bring them on my flight to San Francisco. They changed their minds when I pointed out that the plastic cups were full of black beans, not yogurt.


I’ve never known yogurt to cause any problems, but the combination of black beans and a spark in a jet ten kilometers above the earth could be disastrous. I probably shouldn’t even mention that; beans will likely be the next item banned from commercial flights.

26 September 2006
Canine Americans?
Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, suggested referring to miserable mongrels as “canine Americans” instead of dogs.

I mentioned this proposal to Alicia, who opined, “He’s one ignorant fucktard.” Alicia went on to provide a semantic argument for her harsh judgment.

“So what about French poodles, Russian hounds, and those damned little Chew-wah-wahs?” she demanded.

I agreed, and cited the comic Carlos Mencia. Mencia said he had trouble coming up with an inoffensive description for immigrants from south of the United [sic] States. Hispanic? No, a concoction of the Nixon administration. Chicano? Negatory, “I’m from El Salvador, and Chicano means Mexican.” Latino? Nein! “I don’t speak Latin; I speak Spanish!”

And so it was that Mencia concluded that the least-offensive slang for the demographic in question was, “beaner.”

And so it is that, even though “mongrels who defecate prolifically” is clearly preferable to, “canine Americans,” I suggest staying with the one-syllable name that’s worked well for centuries, “dog.”


27 September 2006
A Most Valuable Critique
I gladly accepted Helena’s invitation to lunch at her mother’s place today; there’s no better meal than a free lunch. Yummy nums, or so I thought.

It turns out that Helena’s mother Mabel had spent a bit of time looking at my Internet site, and had a tart critique she served with desert.

“You seem like a smart enough boy,” Mabel said after the conversation turned to art, “but you piss away your talents like they were pancakes at a goddamned Baptist picnic. It’s time for my nap, but I truly hope you finally do some honest work when you get home.”

And that’s more or less how the visit ended.

I thanked Mabel for her excellent advice, and soon left with Helena, who suggested, “looks like time to find a liquor store.”

We proceeded to waste a large volume of conceptual pancakes, so to speak.

Goddamned Baptists!

28 September 2006
Medicinal Beavers
I’m not a very good writer, so I rely on a thesaurus to augment my meager vocabulary as well as to make my plagiarism more difficult to spot. When I searched for synonyms for idiocy, my Oxford thesaurus gave this example of the word’s usage: “a seventeenth-century antidote to idiocy was to rub the forehead with beaver testicles.”


Were the testicles still attached to the beaver? If so, did the beaver resist or cooperate? Or, may Heaven fofend, was the poor beaver killed for his therapeutic genitalia?

With so little information and so many questions, I headed for the Internet, where I found a reference that was anything but enlightening.

    Jacques de Vitry (twelfth-thirteenth centuries) describes the beaver, which “bites off its own testicles with its teeth and throws them to the pursuing hunters” who make use of them for medicinal purposes.

How confusing. Given my medical ignorance and a dearth of beavers in San Francisco, I fear I shall suffer from idiocy for the foreseeable future.

29 September 2006
Sally’s Ownerous Situation
After Sally mailed me a long missive detailing her precarious finances, I sent her a brief note wishing her a quick escape from her ownerous situation. Sally replied that I’d misspelled, “onerous,” but I didn’t.

30 September 2006
Enjoying My Fellow Dunces
I quite enjoyed John Kennedy Toole’s novel, A Confederacy of Dunces. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s the first book I’ve read in years. (My computer was dead for a day, so I had time for lots of reading.) I do read dozens of short pieces almost every day, but they’re usually only a page or two long. I suppose my reading—and writing—practices are typical of my short attention span culture.

One just has to love anything done by a good writer who kills himself at thirty-one in 1969, no? I enjoyed Toole’s four-hundred pages of writing; that suggests I should read another book in its entirety. And I will, but probably not until my computer breaks again.

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart