2007 Notebook: Weak XXX
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23 July 2007
No. 5,930 (cartoon)
Have you ever wanted to kill someone?

Not until I met you.

24 July 2007
George Bernard Shaw’s Chinese Plagiarism
Over the years, my learned friends have, from time to time, been tempted to skirmish with ne’er-do-wells. Sometimes the stakes justify getting into a stinky fray, but, more often than not, it’s a waste of time and energy.

When it comes to such bickering, I pass along the wisdom from an old Chinese proverb. “Never wrestle with a pig; you get dirty and the pig enjoys it.” My friends, without exception, appreciate the insights I’ve gleaned from studying Asian philosophies.

And so it was I was surprised to learn that George Bernard Shaw said, “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” I wonder how much of his work he plagiarized from the Chinese?

25 July 2007
Tired From Many Biting
Leora introduced me to Parasite Pals tonight. They appear to be Japanese, perhaps created by the same nuclear disaster that gave us Godzilla. That’s my guess; here’s the official story.

    One day Holly was a lonely girl with not the friend.

    But she notice a feeling of itching on the head so she must attent doctor.
    The doctor tells of the infection of many parasites.

    He give the pills for removal of parasites, but Holly is sad. Why to kill the parasites?

    So she gave them each a name and she became happy.

    The Parasite Pals give some irritation but much fun and love is to be shared.

That’s lovely! That more or less describes the relationship I have with most of my dear friends, “give some irritation but much fun and love is to be shared.”

As for the Holly’s four pals, I’m not initially fond of Dig Dig Head Louse, Tickles Tapeworm, or Blinky Eyelash Mite. Zzeezz Bed Bug is a different story; here’s his two-sentence biography.

    Zzeezz is happy for to be living inside the bed. He is always tired from many biting.

Always tired from many biting, that’s amore redux!

26 July 2007
Judging a Book by Its Cover
I discovered Steve Ettlinger’s book this morning, Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats.

I didn’t open the book; I didn’t have to: the punch line—Yes, Mined—is on the cover.

This evening, I had second thoughts about judging a book I’d never read, so I searched on the Internet for an opposing argument. That’s where I discovered a ten-page paper by Colin Symes in the Journal of Aesthetic Education, “You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover: The Aesthetics of Titles and Other Epitextual Devices.”

I didn’t read that either, since I would have needed to pay fourteen dollars to do so. That’s almost a dollar and a half a page! I’m sure I can get more enlightenment out of three burritos; that’s where my fourteen dollars is going.

27 July 2007
He Just Smells Like He’s Dead
Years ago, a tenant in Karen’s apartment building died from a heroin overdose. All her neighbors knew about the death from the pervasive stench. The residents of a block of flats in Kaiserslautern, Germany, suffered similar olfactory distress earlier this month, and called the authorities to retrieve the cadaver.

The police were almost overwhelmed by a nauseating odor when they entered the apartment. There, they found a pile of reeking laundry, as well as the fetor’s main source: the feet of the renter who slept through the raid.

“He wasn’t dead,” reported police spokesperson Dieter Kerber, “he just smelled like it.”

28 July 2007
Spying Squirrels
Animal warfare is getting out of hand in the Middle East. Last week I learned about the man-eating badgers in Basra, and now I’ve received reports about spying squirrels in Iran.

“In recent weeks, intelligence operatives have arrested fourteen squirrels within Iran’s borders,” reported the government news agency IRNA. “The squirrels were carrying spy gear of foreign agencies, and were stopped before they could act, thanks to the alertness of our intelligence services.”

“I heard of this but I have no specific knowledge on the subject,” confirmed Iranian police commander Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqadam.

What a story! I’ve failed to find any additional information or photos; I assume all the governments involved are conducting a massive coverup. My hunch is that the squirrels were doing reconnaissance for the man-eating badgers. If they really were squirrels. Didn’t I read somewhere about teams of voles operating from inside a mechanical squirrel?

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29 July 2007
Eleven Popsicle Remnants
I made a dozen photographs of melted popsicles, then deleted one to convey an illusion of selection. I was, as usual, pleasantly surprised by the photographs, Eleven Popsicle Remnants. The popsicles themselves were another story.

The popsicles comprise, “Glycerin, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium, Ascorbic Acid, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1.” That, and a wooden stick.

And then there was the cryptic addition after the list of ingredients: Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine. I wonder why the manufacturers noted one more ingredient after listing the others?

The packaging boasted, “... you can feel good about keeping Sugar Free Popsicle bars in your freezer.” I suppose that’s true, but no one should feel good about ingesting those execrable toxicants.

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©2007 David Glenn Rinehart