2007 Notebook: Weak XXIV
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11 June 2007
No. 4,425 (cartoon)
Your love is like a sucking chest wound.

Good sucking or bad sucking?

12 June 2007
Rolls of Honour Revisited
I wonder if Suzanne Marie Butts is an artist? This is a serious question, with possible legal implications.

It seems Butts may be looking at spending three years in prison for stealing three rolls of toilet paper from a courthouse in Marshall County, Iowa. Nora, who told me about the story, suggested that Butts was plagiarizing my Rolls of Honour project.

“Entirely different,” I replied. “I don’t purloin toilet paper; I facilitate administration-free donations.”

“You really can justify any of your silly little scams, can’t you?” asked Nora.

“It’s one of my more useful little talents,” I admitted.

13 June 2007
Spermophiling Away Pure Knowledge
A spermophile is a North American ground squirrel, and vice-versa. Apparently, the word is Latin for “seed lover.” My discovery represents pure knowledge, in that it’s completely useless. Since I’m astonishingly lazy, I never use a three-syllable word when there’s a two-syllable word available.

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14 June 2007
How to Photograph a Hairball
“Tell me, David,” Iris requested, “what’s the secret of making a good hairball photograph?”

I’ve been passionate about photography for over a third of a century. During that time, I think I’ve received more questions about how to photograph a hairball than all the other technical queries combined. And so, I’ve decided to publish a brief tutorial, “How to Photograph a Hairball.”

The premise of photographing a hairball is the same approach familiar to every photojournalist: one-sixtieth at f5.6 and be there. When it comes to photographing hairballs, timing is everything. Even hairball experts find it difficult to differentiate between images of a day-old hairball and one plucked from Tutankhamen’s tomb.

Case Study, 14 June 2007

09:47: Heard Pito retching in the courtyard; grabbed Nikon with macro lens.

    Lesson: Time spent looking for batteries or the right lens can mean missing a decisive hairball moment.

09:48: Found fresh, steaming hairball underneath the table; could almost hear the sounds of reverse peristalsis.

    Lesson: Timing is everything.

09:49: Moved the table to provide direct sunlight, then made a series of bracketed exposures.

    Lesson: Lighting is everything, too.

In conclusion: one-sixtieth at f5.6 and be there.

15 June 2007
Jean Cocteau’s Amazing Day
It’s been almost six years since I cited Jean Cocteau’s brilliant comment, “Stupidity is always amazing, no matter how used to it you become.” I don’t like to repeat myself, but Cocteau’s quote is just too brilliant to cite sparingly. And so, I have declared 15 June to be Jean Cocteau’s Amazing Day.

I’ve chosen to honor an empty-headed heiress for this first annual citation.

“In the future, I plan on taking more of an active role in the decisions I make.”
—Paris Hilton


16 June 2007
On Fatherly Advice
Abram Bellow wasn’t happy that his son Saul wanted to be a writer. He said, “You write and then you erase. You call that a profession?!” Saul was strong enough to ignore his father’s excellent advice.

Fortunately, I never had to decide whether or not to follow my late father Glenn’s admonitions, since he never gave me any. Glenn told me the only advice his father Albert gave him was, “Don’t get anyone pregnant.”

Glenn ignored Albert’s good fatherly advice, and here I am!

17 June 2007
Argentina in Three Short Sentences
Catherine’s back from Argentina; she provided a succinct report on Argentinean culture. Good thing: nonstop partying. Bad thing: nonstop partying. Mountains of meat everywhere.

I appreciated Catherine’s pithy summary. I doubt I’ll ever see Argentina, so it’s nice to get a firm grasp of a foreign culture in three short sentences.

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©2007 David Glenn Rinehart