2007 Notebook: Weak IV
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22 January 2007
No. 9,789 (cartoon)
I’ve lost my mind.

It doesn’t show.

23 January 2007
The Saddest Day of the Year
Yesterday was the saddest day of the year. I know this is true, thanks to Cliff Arnall’s research. The Cardiff University health psychologist concluded that seasonal gloom makes the Monday in the last full week in most stressful month of of the year a very grim day indeed.

Or maybe it’s not true; Arnall only studied the Brits. Personally, I enjoy the end of January; I won’t have to deal with weeks of alleged holidays for almost another year.

24 January 2007
Why There Are Still Monkeys
Although I am not learned in the ways of science, I was nevertheless intrigued by Ian McCulloch’s argument against Darwinism. His case against evolution might be summed up by his query, “Why are there still monkeys?”

I suppose that different species took different evolutionary courses: monkeys run around naked in the woods without worrying about work; humans live in dirty cities in order to commute to vapid cubicles and die from cancer and diseases related to obesity. But, since I am not learned in the ways of science, that’s only a guess.

25 January 2007
Ruthless Chinese Entrepreneurs
What is it about ghost brides? Saudi men are making ghost babies with ghost wives, and Chinese men are taking their passion for ghost wives to a morbid extreme.

Who could have possibly foreseen that decades of killing unwanted female babies in China would result in a dearth of eligible brides today? So much for central government planning. There’s even a shortage of ghost brides for dead bachelors, which has led some Chinese entrepreneurs to murder women as a business enterprise.

Yang Donghai, a farmer in Shaanxi province, bought a poor family’s daughter for twelve-thousand yuan. The woman thought she was getting into an arranged marriage, which I suppose she was. Yang killed the woman, then sold her corpse for sixteen-thousand yuan, or a five-hundred dollar profit. Later, he and a couple of partners murdered a prostitute and sold her body for eight-thousand yuan.

The police put an unrepentant Yang out of business.

“I did it for the money; it was a quick buck,” Yang explained. “If I hadn’t slipped up early, I planned to do a few more.”

Ruthless businesspeople always scare me, even if I’m an unsuitable bride, dead or alive.

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26 January 2007
Spilled It? Sign It
David’s here, and I suppose I could say that we had a lot of wine to drink. Actually, I can say that with certainty, since we did in fact have a lot of wine to drink.

In addition to the bottles of wine we poured down our gullets, David spilled some more on the manual for my synthesizer.

“What should I do?” David asked as he examined the small puddle.

“That’s a stupid question,” I replied. “Don’t you remember what we learned at Interlochen? If you make it, sign it.”

And so, I now have a smelly, wine-stained technical reference volume signed by a dear friend with poor judgment when it comes to pouring wine. (Well, that and a few other endeavors as well, but my lips are sealed while he’s out acquiring another case.)

27 January 2007
Meat Politics
I’m having dinner with Annie, Wanda and Joel at Quemando los dos Extremos. Wanda and Joel, both vegetarians, are criticizing Annie for ordering chicken tacos; Annie’s defending her selection. I’ve chosen to fill my mouth with large bites of a spicy, juicy burrito while they debate.

Wanda’s telling Annie her chicken was almost certainly raised in an inhumane factory farm, with four debeaked chicks stuffed inside a cage with less floor space than a sheet of paper.

“I know that,” Annie said nonchalantly as she took another bite of her taco.

“Then why do you support such an industry?” Joel asked.

“Eating chickens raised in meat factories is the humane thing to do,” Annie replied. “I’m sure this bird I’m digesting was glad that death ended its pathetic suffering. I’d hate to think of eating a chicken that was enjoying a good life in the barnyard until someone chopped off its head for my taco.”

“What do you think, David?” Wanda demanded.

“I think tacos are too small,” I answered. “The burritos are a much better value.”

28 January 2007
Matricide Prevention Strategies
As is usual for a Sunday, I called my mother today to discuss current events. I asked her if she’d heard the story about the South Dakota teenager who killed his mother with a sword.

“Of course, dear,” she replied. “Perhaps you can finally appreciate why I never let you have a sword when you were living at home.”

“I always wondered about that,” I said, even though I don’t recall ever coveting a sword. (It’s important to lie to one’s parents; keeps them alert and engaged.)

We went on to discuss chainsaws, and the incident with that nasty Mister Pirkle’s favorite rocking chair. I still delight in the smell of teak converted to sawdust.

29 January 2007
Cannot Be Gainsaid
I love double negatives. Or, perhaps more accurately, I cannot not love double negatives. And so it is that I quite liked Edgar Allan Poe’s line in his review of The Quacks of Helicon.

    Again, it cannot be gainsaid that the greater number of those who hold high places in our poetical literature are absolute nincompoops—fellows alike innocent of reason and of rhyme.

Poe was a very smart hombre; he knew he couldn’t go wrong denigrating poets.

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©2007 David Glenn Rinehart