2006 Notebook: Weak XLV
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5 November 2006
No. 5,491 (cartoon)
Things would be a lot simpler if I was dead.

For all of us.

6 November 2006
Some people get confused by the perpetual deluge of complex and conflicting scientific reports. Not me, though; that’s because I only read the news I want to hear. Coffee? Good and healthy. Fish? Healthy and good. Wine? That brings us to a recent edition of the august journal, Nature.

Everyone knows that—except for alcoholics—wine is good. Of course, alcoholics also think wine is good, but that discussion is beyond the scope of today’s erudition.

Anyway, turns out that a compound found in red wine called resveratrol helps mice, even really fat ones, live longer. In other words, had Elvis Presley washed down his killer cheeseburgers and pills with healthy lashings of cabernet, he might have outlived Iggy Pop.

I showed the report to Seymor, a guard here at the fort. Seymor’s one of those people who always manages to find a fly in even the slipperiest of ointments, and today was no exception.

“Says here you have to drink a hundred bottles a day for the resveratrol to be efficacious,” Seymor noted with a frown. “That means getting up too early and staying up really late. Even if I lived longer, what kind of life would that be if I didn’t get enough sleep?”

“You’re missing something, Seymor,” I replied, “and that something is scalability. A hundred bottles a day is only for the grotesquely obese. I ran some basic fat-to-alcohol numbers through my computer, and came up with a curve that suggests that, for average-sized guys like us, a couple of bottles a day should provide the desired effects.”

Seymor looked relieved as he poured each of us another tumbler of extraordinarily healthy red wine.

7 November 2006
Omaha Aquarium Kerfuffle
According to reports in The Omaha Beef and Corn Gazette, there’s been another kerfuffle at the Omaha Aquarium. It seems someone leaked a copy of a shipping invoice from a Japanese marine exporter showing that the aquarium was importing six killer whales. Animal activists demanded that the orcas, “the noble ambassadors from the deep,” be set free. Concerned Citizens for Wise Resource Use released a film clip of a pack of killers whales literally ripping an endangered blue whale to shreds, suggesting that a life sentence without the possibility of parole was just what these marine murderers deserved.

Both sides lobbed increasingly vitriolic press releases until Elmer Weltsar, the aquarium’s public relations flack, returned from an ill-timed holiday. It turns out that the incendiary document was translated by an idiot, and that the aquarium had actually purchased six sea cucumbers.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of the controversy. Some of the animal activists argued that the holothurians were sentient beings who shouldn’t be imprisoned. Predictably, the aquarium responded by distributing a video of thousands of sea cucumbers scavenging through the thick layer of waste on the ocean floor underneath a fish farm, “like so many maggots on a gelatinous corpse.”

I stopped reading accounts of the learned debates; it’s all sushi to me.

8 November 2006
The Problem Is Gravity
Rodney, an enthusiast of ambitious sporting endeavors, showed up at my door in a state of some anxiety and general perplexity.

“Look at this,” Rodney demanded waving some newspaper clippings, “these famous altitude guys are dying and no one knows why.”

I read that Brian Lee Schubert failed to open his parachute until he was eight meters from the ground. Also, Todd Skinner fell a hundred and fifty meters to his death whilst climbing in Yosemite.

“It’s obvious why they died,” I explained, “the problem is gravity.”

Rodney looked improbably relieved.

9 November 2006
Dead Chinese Brides
I just learned that the Chinese are even stranger than the Mormites when it comes to posthumous marriages. The Mormites change their church records in order to marry off dead relatives so that everyone in the extended family may enter heaven. For the Chinese, though, the transactions take place with meat, not ink. In Chenjiayuan, for example, female corpses command a high price, er, dowry. That’s because so many female foetuses were aborted that there are too few women for too many men in both life and death.

I suppose waiting until you’re dead to marry has something to be said for it, but I’m not sure what that something might be.

10 November 2006
The Wombat Joke
“What do you do with a wombat?” Ruth asked.

“I don’t want to hear your joke,” I responded.

“So what do you do with a wombat?” Ruth repeated.

I ignored her.

“Just say that you don’t know,” Ruth suggested.

I continued to ignore her.

“You play wom with it,” Ruth declared with a disturbing smile, then added, “like baseball or football.”

I continued to ignore her.

“That was a joke,” Ruth explained, “do you understand the reference to womball?”

“Not funny,” I replied.

“Exactly!” Ruth agreed, “My jokes are funny because they’re not funny.”

“No, your jokes are not funny because they’re not funny,” I concluded.

Ruth couldn’t argue with that, but did anyway.

11 November 2006
Kathy’s Birthday Party
Today’s Kathy’s birthday, so I threw a spectacular party for her. Too bad she was stuck in Tennessee and couldn’t join me. And so, I enjoyed another party for one.

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart