2007 Notebook: Weak XVIII
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30 April 2007
No. 1,879 (cartoon)
I feel like I’ve always known you.

I’m bored too.

1 May 2007
Body Byproducts
Brian refers to children as, “body byproducts.” He does this to annoy his friends who are parents, but none of them object to his characterization. Brian’s exasperated by his failure to irritate them, which is precisely why they ignore his verbal provocations. I think the whole exercise is silly since it’s much easier to be nice, at least to one’s friends.

2 May 2007
John Edgar Hoover’s Death Recalled
Thirty-five years ago today, my high school physical education teacher walked into the locker room to make a solemn announcement.

“John Edgar Hoover died today,” he reported gravely.

Most of the lads were indifferent, but not me. I clapped. I cheered. I expressed unrestrained glee after hearing about the demise of a nasty, little dictator.

“That’s not a very Christian attitude,” my instructor chastised.

I just smirked a teenage smirk, since I knew that would bother him as much as his reactionary, moronic politics irritated me. Too bad I didn’t know then that Hoover was a cross-dresser; that would really have thrown a succulent glob of trichinosis on his moral bacon.

3 May 2007
A Shallow Paean
I listened to an interview with Linda Ronstadt, in which the popular singer expressed sadness that a nice, sweet woman like Janis Joplin felt pressured by business concerns and cultural expectations to spend her days, “being drunk, and kind of slobbering, or whatever it was that you were supposed to be doing.”

“I don’t drink, so it was kind of hard for me to get the right amount of slobber going,” Ronstadt continued, as if trying to explain why Joplin, who died before her twenty-eighth birthday, is generally more highly regarded.

Having said that, I must admit I like Ronstadt’s work. (But, since I’d like to housesit for her, I would say that, wouldn’t I?)

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4 May 2007
Pussy-Proof ’Puting
Fact numero uno: cats like warmth. Fact numero two-o: computers are usually warm. And thus, it’s entirely common to find a cat resting on a warm computer. One of the predictable consequences of this ’puter-puss interaction is that the kitty inadvertently (or perhaps advertently?) presses the computer’s keys.

To address this alleged problem, engineers at Bitboost Systems came up with a software package called PawSense. When the program detects cat-like typing, it turns off the computer. Or, at least that’s what was supposed to happen.

During my rigorous research, I discovered that Bitboost Systems seems to have gone out of business. Why this is I do not know, but I suspect that PawSense didn’t sell very well, if at all. I’d certainly never buy such a product. In the unlikely event that my fingers exhibited kitten-like creativity, I’d certainly want a record of what I came up with.

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5 May 2007
More Than I Can Be
I met Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler at a publishing event today; the two women create work under the partnership name, “Pod Post.” They share an almost fetishistic passion for mail art, but that’s not why they’re my new favorite artists.

They sold me a small, hand-embellished carrying case for only six dollars. The modest container came with an inspirational, silkscreened, promise: “Help you up to more than you can be.” I’ve always wanted to be more than I can be, and, thanks to the Pod Post artists, I shall be!

My Pod Post stationery and document storage case was the best six-dollar investment since I bought my last oversized burrrito.

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6 May 2007
Dead Zeppelin
The LZ 129 Hindenburg exploded and burned seventy years ago today, kaboom. Actually, it didn’t explode, it just burned, but that’s not much of a story, is it? The accident killed thirty-five or thirty-six people, depending on who’s talking. But everyone knows that.

What I didn’t know was that the dirigible’s fabric was coated with both iron oxide and aluminum-impregnated cellulose acetate butyrate. It turns out that was a bad idea. Addison Bain said so succinctly, “I guess the moral of the story is, don’t paint your airship with rocket fuel.”

What I knew, but forgot, was that the Hindenburg was a Nazi airship; I came across an old file photograph showing huge swastikas painted on the tail fins. Too bad about all the civilian deaths, but what’s not to like about the destruction of a Nazi aircraft?

And, of course, no mention of the airship would be complete without the almost obligatory bad joke. What’s the difference between Larry King and the Hindenburg? One’s a Nazi gas bag; the other’s a German dirigible.

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©2007 David Glenn Rinehart