2007 Notebook: Weak XLIII
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22 October 2007
No. 9,005 (cartoon)
Why are you so afraid of dying?

The stench.

23 October 2007
Whisky, Rum, and Vodka to the Rescue!
I just read a heartwarming story about how a three-day drinking binge saved a man’s life. Dang; that is truly inspirational!

It seems that a twenty-four year old Italian tourist visiting Australia drank a potentially lethal quantity of anti-freeze. I’m not sure why he did this. I do, however, have an educated guess. Having been to that desolate, remote continent, I know that many of the drinks I enjoyed there shared more than a few strands of their DNA with anti-freeze. After all, that’s what one would expect in a country that’s a cross between England and Texas.

In any case, the quick-thinking doctors at Mackay Base Hospital saved the man’s life, even after they ran out of the pharmaceutical-grade alcohol normally used to treat such poisoning. Instead, they gave the unfortunate visitor three shots of spirits—whisky, rum, and vodka—every hour for three days. The news report I read notes that the patient survived and is in good health.

“Fortunately for him he was in a medically induced coma for a good portion of that,” explained Dr. Todd Fraser.

Unfortunately, Dr. Todd Fraser didn’t elaborate on whether the liters of alcohol induced the coma or merely sustained it. That’s important information all of us could use.

24 October 2007
I’m Not Saying It
Lawrence Ferlinghetti came out with a new book; I spotted it at his City Lights book store. I opened it, and came across a line I quite liked.

    If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say it.

I don’t know much about Ferlinghetti, but I revere him for being so widely revered. Going on ninety, Ferlinghetti has evolved from a person into a San Francisco institution, an icon. Better than being dead like his contemporaries, I suppose.

It’s hard to believe Ferlinghetti was born before my late father was. I suppose that’s the difference between drinking like an artist and writer and drinking like a sailor.

25 October 2007
Phenylalanine Redux
Zow! I just discovered what phenylalanine is. I fear we’re talking rotting brains and worse.

It turns out that phenylalanine is some weird chemical that’s potentially lethal to a small segment of the population. It’s also found in a wide variety of alleged food products. And that explains the cryptic warning on the popsicles I photographed in July.

Here’s how it works. (Or doesn’t, depending on your perspective.) People with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria can’t metabolize phenylalanine. It turns out that phenylalanine, a neurotoxin, can kill the brain’s neurons. In lay terms, we’re talking about permanent brain damage, even death.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there’s not a molecule of phenylalanine in Rainier Ale, or in any of the tasty, cheap wines I enjoy. Why people would drink corporate goo laced with phenylalanine or feed it to their children, this I do not know.

26 October 2007
The Relativity of Bombs
Hoo boy, here we go again.

Russia’s military officials announced that they have created, “The Father of All Bombs,” presumably in response to the Americans’ claim that they have developed, “The Mother of All Bombs.” Classic Russian sexism, that.

Although these thermobaric bombs are horrifically destructive, at least they aren’t nuclear weapons. Still, I’m alarmed by the new arms race. I expect that The Father of All Bombs will be topped by The Homicidal Cousin of All Bombs, which in turn will be dwarfed by The Psychotic Uncle of All Bombs, and so on.

It’s not like the people of Iowa City want to force the people of Minsk into their fold or vice-versa; why all the new bombs? As usual, I suppose the truth will eventually emerge decades after I’m dead.

27 October 2007
No More Tasmanian Devils?
I read that Tasmanian Devils may be extinct in three decades. Since it’s entirely probable that I too will also be extinct in three decades, I’m not worried about the sad fate of the endearingly vicious marsupials.

I’m not at all suicidal, but I think it would be a great way to die if the last surviving Tasmanian Devil killed me while I was photographing him/her on 7 January, 2046.

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28 October 2007
Cherry Ames, Student Nurse and More
I wonder which came first, the fictional character Cherry Ames or the idea of purportedly innocent nurses as sex symbols? I’m too lazy to do any research, but I suppose it may be one of those chicken-and-egg/sturgeon-and-caviar questions.

Author Helen Wells begat Cherry Wells ago in a more innocent time over sixty years ago. Except, of course, it was not a more innocent time. I could repeat some of my late father’s stories of licentiousness and debauchery in the forties, but I won’t. I bet Wells and the Grosset & Dunlap illustrators knew exactly what they were doing when they cranked out dozens of books about a cute, young nurse in medical fetish attire.

Cherry Ames, Student Nurse
Cherry Ames, Senior Nurse
Cherry Ames, Army Nurse
Cherry Ames, Chief Nurse
Cherry Ames, Flight Nurse
Cherry Ames, Veterans’ Nurse
Cherry Ames, Private Duty Nurse
Cherry Ames, Visiting Nurse
Cherry Ames, Cruise Nurse
Cherry Ames, At Spencer
Cherry Ames, Night Supervisor
Cherry Ames, Mountaineer Nurse
Cherry Ames, Clinic Nurse
Cherry Ames, Dude Ranch Nurse
Cherry Ames, Rest Home Nurse
Cherry Ames, Country Doctor’s Nurse
Cherry Ames, Boarding School Nurse
Cherry Ames, Department Store Nurse
Cherry Ames, Camp Nurse
Cherry Ames, At Hilton Hospital
Cherry Ames, Island Nurse
Cherry Ames, Rural Nurse
Cherry Ames, Staff Nurse
Cherry Ames, Companion Nurse
Cherry Ames, Jungle Nurse
Cherry Ames, The Mystery in the Doctor’s Office
Cherry Ames, Ski Nurse Mystery

Department Store Nurse?!

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29 October 2007
Lunar Target
Earlier this year, I had a dream about an art project. And then I had another; I had an idea about an art project on the moon. In my dream, I was playing off Chinese bureaucrats against the Russians and the Indians. And then I woke up, and that was the end of my nightmare about combining art and business.

Still, I liked the piece I created in my sleep. It’s a simple idea; this is the definition of Lunar Target.

A circular plane of undetermined diameter. The area, a one-meter deep layer of perfectly smooth lunar dust, serves as a target for meteors and asteroids, with any impact clearly apparent.

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©2007 David Glenn Rinehart