2006 Notebook: Weak XLIX
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3 December 2006
No. 4,349 (cartoon)
You’re pathetic.

That’s what I want you to think.

4 December 2006
Lard Chimes
I’m staying at Karen’s place and taking care of her cats while she’s traveling. Karen has a lovely house, but it’s not perfect. Specifically, she has some annoying wind chimes that jingle-jangle-jingle while I’m trying to take my nap.

I solved the problem with a kilogram of cooking fat. After I coated each tube and bar with globs of lard, the chimes no longer chime. I’m sure there are some predicaments that can’t be remedied by gaffer tape and lard, but I can’t think of any at the moment.

5 December 2006
National Carcass Disposal Symposium
I just discovered that I’m missing the National Carcass Disposal Symposium. Since it’s too late to go to Maryland, I called Gomez to tell him that the conference was being held near his home.

“Good to hear from you,” Gomez said, “but I’m on my way to my cousin’s funeral and can’t talk now. Is there anything urgent?”

“Nothing that can’t wait,” I replied, “I’ll call back this weekend.”

And, when I do, I won’t mention the National Carcass Disposal Symposium.

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6 December 2006
Holy Flies of Jesus
I ran across a curious Internet site this afternoon, The Holy Flies of Jesus. Apparently, some Pakistani Christians maintain a colony of flies, “direct descendants of the ones that fed on our Lord.” If I understood the poorly-translated copy, the adherents believe their flies’ ancestors fed on the body of Jesus when he was sort of dead. Or something like that.

I don’t care, in that I don’t pay attention to theological arguments. One believes or one doesn’t, and this one doesn’t.

7 December 2006
Calculating Indian Condoms
I love stories about technology gone awry; here’s the latest one.

The well-meaning officials at the Indian Council of Medical Research commissioned the Indian Institute of Technology to come up with a scientific methodology to measure erect penises.

“We had devised an automated system in which an image of the penis would be taken and the computer would interpret different dimensions,” explained project head Kharagpur Sujoy Guha.

Sadly, the computer modeling proved to be impractical if not unworkable. As a result, a simple tape measure was used to compile the statistics used in The Study on Proper Length and Breadth Specification For Condoms Based On Anthropometric Measurement.

The report concluded that “normal” condoms are too large for most Indian men. That may or may not be why statisticians anticipate that India will surpass China as the world’s most populous country within fifteen years.

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8 December 2006
Zombies Terrorize Minneapolis!
I just came across a July story I missed. It seems the diligent police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, arrested seven “zombies” for “simulating weapons of mass destruction” at a party. The cops figured that wires poking out of the suspects’ backpacks were connected to bombs.

Jamie Lee Jones, Jessica Rae Baribeau, and their fellow zombies were jailed for two days before city attorneys and police and Minneapolis city attorneys released them because of a lack of evidence.

Now, the zombies are suing city officials. I hope they win, then go on to eat the brains of Minneapolis bureaucrats (although ’twould appear someone beat them to it).

9 December 2006
Killer Vodka
Nearly a thousand people in Russia’s Belgorod region have been poisoned—and dozens killed—by fake vodka. It turns out that the “vodka” was usually an industrial solvent that induced liver failure, with deicers, antirust solutions, and window-cleaning compounds also substituted for the Russian national drink.

What a tragedy. Although I’m no fan of totalitarian states, I fondly remember the good, cheap vodka I enjoyed visiting the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

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10 December 2006
Mexican Standoff
I love living in San Francisco, but the city is far from idyllic. One of the problems of this pleasant megalopolis is the plethora of citizens who tirelessly work to ensure nothing ever offends anyone.

The latest example of good intentions gone wrong is a small mural of a Hispanic man in the alcove of Taqueria Terriblo. Some people protested that the image of an hombre with a rifle and an oversized sombrero was an insulting stereotype, and demanded that the painting be replaced. Other equally well-intentioned denizens argued that the mural was protected by free speech, and thus sacrosanct.

Miguel Ortiz, the taqueria owner, deftly ended the endless arguments by putting up a steel gate in front of the painting. That placated the gun control lobby, since the gun-toting Mexican was now behind bars. The other offended parties couldn’t deface the image, and that satisfied the free speechers.

Sadly, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. Taqueria Terriblo’s burritos really are terrible.

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart