2006 Notebook: Weak XLIII
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22 October 2006
No. 6,908 (cartoon)
Why are you acting like a sheep?

Why are you acting carnivorous?

23 October 2006
A Dubious Prophylaxis
Brad reports that he’s now been immunized against the flu after a visit to his local liquor store.

“Same here,” I reported. “I opted for an intensive regimen of bourbon shots, and I’ve never felt healthier. But I bet you went for the tequila shots, no?”

“I’m afraid not,” Brad replied. “My prophylaxis was provided by Health Shots, Incorporated of Broomfield, Colorado.”

“That’s near Boulder, isn’t it?” I asked. “Damn, you always told me you lived in a dodgy corner of the globe but I never really believed it was that bad. So you just walked into an alcohol dealer’s premises for an adult potation and someone jabs you with a needle and slaps you with an invoice?”

“Never underestimate the sway of an attractive nurse, my friend,” Brad counseled.

“Never have and never will,” I confirmed.

Of course, there are nurses, and there are drugs, and there’s not necessarily a correlation between them. I believe Brad made a mistake by getting inoculated. I think one should only use recreational drugs which are, by definition, optional.

24 October 2006
English in Japan
“I had a friend who taught English in Japan ...” I began.

“Well, I can tell you that he didn’t do a very good job,” Priscilla interrupted.


And that was that.

I didn’t mind her cutting me off; inscrutability can be tedious.

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25 October 2006
.999 ...
Well I’ll be, it turns out that .999 ...—a decimal point followed by an infinite number of nines—is equal to one. Mathematically-minded people have known this forever (although they still like to argue about it at length), but it’s news to me.

Here’s one way of looking at it: .333 ... and .666 ... equal .999 ..., and one third plus two thirds equal one.

Or, let’s say that if x equals .999 ..., then 10x equals 9.999 ...

Subtract x from 10x to get 9x equals nine, or x equals one.

I think that’s quite enough new mathematical knowledge for me this decade.

26 October 2006
No Future or Past
Clarissa’s a miserable alcoholic who, when depressed, likes to pull out a framed photograph of herself as a little girl, complete with a lock of hair under the glass.

“How did I go from her to me?” she asks rhetorically.

“An ocean of cheap vodka,” is the correct reply, but I’ll never give her an answer she already has.

After years of complaining, Clarissa had a snippet of the hair tested, and it turns out that the hair’s deoxyribonucleic acid proves it couldn’t have been hers.

I thought this news would have cheered her, but it only deepened her despair when she realized she now had no past as well as no future.

27 October 2006
Humbugging The People
I like quotations, especially the way they’re rewritten over the years until they’re very different from what the attributed source actually said.

Nice guys finish last? ’twould appear baseball manager Leo Durocher never said that. Learned scholars still debate whether he said, “Nice guys finish seventh,” or, “Nice guys finish eighth.”

I was reminded of the common phenomenon of evolving quotes when I read a review of the imaginatively-titled, The Yale Book of Quotations. It turns out that circus impresario P. T. Barnum confirmed that he never declared, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Instead, he observed, “The people like to be humbugged.”

The people certainly do like to be humbugged; just ask anyone who cites famous quotes.

28 October 2006
Preparing for Failure
Charlie told me that the California College of Arts offers a class in failure.

I don’t know what to make of that. I’ve already written, “I long ago concluded that the only way to succeed at art school is to drop out and be an artist instead of a student.” And thus, a course in failure as a prerequisite for getting a degree would appear to be repetitiously redundant.

But then, I find myself once again thinking of Charles Horton Cooley, the hombre that rightly concluded, “An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.”

I think an art school class on failure is a good idea, if only to remind the students why they’re still there.

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29 October 2006
Grateful Garcia’s Dead
Over lunch today, Jorge showed me a photograph of a billboard outside a failed record store. Someone had digitally altered the image by adding a tasteless, juvenile remark about the late Jerry Garcia.

“This looks like a nine-year old pushed those red pixels,” I said. “I’ve come to expect a higher-quality fakery in these pseudo-modern times.”

“That’s pretty funny coming from an allegedly-conceptual artist,” Jorge replied.

We agreed to argue about something even more stupid and trivial, but not until I pointed out that the cheeseburgers Jorge was eating were the same ones that killed Garcia. Jorge won the inane argument by pointing out that, since Garcia’s been dead for years, the cheeseburgers he was eating couldn’t have been complicit in the businessman’s timely demise.

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart