2006 Notebook: Weak XLVI
gratuitous image
12 November 2006
No. 7,392 (cartoon)
I’ll see you in hell.

We’ll always be together.

13 November 2006
Monolaut? (Lots of Tittles About)
I just read that the dot over the letter “i” is called a tittle. I thought this was a nice little fact to know, until I later found out that there are lots of tittles about, including other typographic bits such as accents and vowel marks.

That seems just plain wrong. Since an umlaut comprises two dots—and only two dots—it seems like the “i” dot should have a name of its own.

Monolaut? Why not?

14 November 2006
Antonia and I were discussing the general mood of schadenfreude following last week’s elections. Since Antonia’s from the Lands of Nether, I asked her if there was a Dutch word like schadenfreude, that is, a word that requires several words to translate.

“Gezellig,” Antonia replied. “It means being cozy, having a warm fuzzy feeling, being together with people who you really like to be with, that sort of thing.”

It turned out that gezellig is one of those concepts better demonstrated than explained.

15 November 2006
Obama’s No Dope
Bill Clinton once famously prevaricated that he “didn’t inhale” when he smoked marijuana. It was one of his best pieces of fiction after (or perhaps before?), “I didn’t have sex with that woman.”

Barack Obama, a promising younger politician, is more honest about his recreational drug use.

“I inhaled,” Obama wrote, “that was the point.”

The public servant made no comment on whether or not he had sex with that woman. I thought Obama’s silence also demonstrated his statesmanship; after all, his personal affairs are no one else’s business.

16 November 2006
Selena’s Japanese Seduction Technique
Selena’s back from Japan with stories to tell, most of which involve seducing Japanese men.

“It’s easy,” she explained, “You just tell a cute guy, ‘You’re coming to bed with me,’ and he does. Their culture doesn’t allow them to say no.”

I suspect that story has more to do with Selena’s beauty than Japanese culture, but it really doesn’t matter. After all, I’ve never heard an apocryphal story I didn’t believe.

gratuitous image
17 November 2006
Doggy Heaven Pills
Stewart’s ancient dog Yeller was near death, so he did the humane thing and slipped a couple of Doggy Heaven pills into Yeller’s last supper. And that was that.

I asked about the euthanasia capsules, so Stewart showed me the bottle. I wasn’t surprised to see that they were manufactured in China (what isn’t?), but I was struck by the volume: a hundred pills! Who’d need to kill that many dogs?! But the the most curious thing about the packaging was the claim that the boluses were nontoxic.

“How can Doggy Death pills be nontoxic?” I asked. “And why did you buy such a huge bottle?”

“That’s the smallest bottle they make,” Stewart explained. “You have to appreciate that rabies kills thousands of people in China annually, since only two or three percent of the dogs there are vaccinated. The apparatchiks in Hunan province killed fifty-thousand dogs Newfoundland-style by clubbing them to death. As you might imagine, that generated some bad press.”

“Clubbing any species to death usually does,” I agreed. “But what about the nontoxic label?”

“Again, it’s a Chinese thing,” Stewart continued. “Restaurants buy dogs for a pittance, and who wants to eat a toxic meal?”

There’s a lot I don’t know about China. I’ve never been there, and may never go.

18 November 2006
Writers Own Everything
One of the problems in any creative pursuit is the nagging question any sensible person asks at least ten times a day: what have I done lately? (That’s why I started this notebook.)

I don’t follow popular culture very closely, so I haven’t heard anything about the actor and comedian Dan Ackroyd in years. But just the other day I read some advice he gave to some students at an elementary school in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    “The reason I’m here today, the reason I own a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the reason I have a big log cabin and I got cars and all kinds of stuff is because I’m a writer and writers own everything. So you learn how to write.”

What a hoser! I’m delighted that he’s funnier than ever.

19 November 2006
World Toilet Day 2006
Today is World Toilet Day. I wish I was in Bangkok, where the theme of this year’s World Toilet Forum and Exposition is, “Happy Toilet, Healthy Life.” I’m in San Francisco, though, so I instead read the transcriptions and synopses of the learned presentations.

My favorite story was, “Windsor, A House of Many Seats.” According to the précis, “The Queen [Elizabeth II] has to have a new toilet seat everywhere she visits. Each one is destroyed after use.” The British royal family’s bizarre behavior doesn’t really qualify as news, but the medical news in the report is remarkable.

It turns out that the queen and her descendants have a bizarre strain of highly-contagious genital warts that cover their buttocks. (As an aside, rumor has it that the queen had Princess Diana killed because she was about to reveal the ugly secret.) As a result, toilet seats touched by the royal derrières may never be used by commoners.

And who said the Windsors never considered the welfare of others? Happy World Toilet Day!

last weak  |  index  |  next weak

©2006 David Glenn Rinehart