2008 Notebook: Weak II
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9 January 2008
No. 9,216 (cartoon)
You’re digging your own grave.

I can’t count on my friends to do anything for me.

10 January 2008
What’s in a Name?
I have a friend whose Farsi name means myth. After not having heard from her in months, I finally called her. I heard a recording saying that her telephone number didn’t exist. I looked for her Internet site; it wasn’t there. I was beginning to wonder if I’d imagined her; maybe she really was a myth?

And then, she called me this morning. She’d been thither and yon and back again; that’s all there was to it.

I suppose one shouldn’t read too much into a name. Myth is real, and Constance is anything but constant. On the other hand, David means beloved; that’s me!

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11 January 2008
Human Locomotion
It’s rare that I come across a powerful image, and much rarer still when that picture is made of words. I found such an image the other day, though, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

When the Egyptians built their railway network in the nineteenth century, construction crews dug up thousands upon thousands of mummies. The supply was so huge that engineers powered their locomotives by burning the mummified corpses.

12 January 2008
Decibels and Decimal Places
Melanie’s the bass player in one of my favorite bands, the Whacksmackers. She’s au fait with the sonic world, but hasn’t had much to do with the commercial “art” world. I, too, am not too familiar with the sophisticated montebanks who deal in visual art, but I could answer a query or two over lunch.

Melanie asked me a question that’s been going around for at least a century and a half, “Is photography art?”

“In the context of the commercial art word, photography is not art,” I declared.

“What’s the difference?” she asked.

“One or two decimal places,” I explained. “That’s why I’m an artist who uses a camera instead of a photographer.”

“Sort of like music, then?” Melanie replied. “That’s why the Whacksmackers always ratchet up our sound a few decibel places.”

We concluded our meal slightly enlightened.

13 January 2008
Another Texas Moron Story
A twenty-year old man from Burleson, Texas, had an automobile accident last week. Given that the mishap occurred in Texas, it was, of course, actually a truck accident.

The driver, who was drunk and speeding, made a mistake all of us make from time to time: he mistook a mailbox for a highway ramp, and a house for the open road.

Smash! Crash! Oops.

I can already anticipate some of my learned friends protesting that they haven’t had such a lapse of judgment since they were thirteen, and that only an idiot or an imbecile would make such a blunder. But they’d be wrong, ha ha ha! Moron, that’s who would make such an error.

Bryan Scott Moron, to use his full name. Maybe there is a link between names and behavior after all?

As for the technical notes, someone with an IQ of from zero (?!) to twenty-five is an idiot, an imbecile’s IQ ranges from twenty-six to fifty, and a moron has an IQ of between fifty-one and seventy. As for Moron’s IQ, I wonder if there’s a separate scale for Texans?

14 January 2008
How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read
I rarely get excited about a new book, but I’m making an exception for Pierre Bayard’s treatise, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.

I’ve never found it difficult to discuss works I haven’t read, since that includes almost everything ever published. Not only have I never read anything by Shakespeare, I don’t know the plot of a single play. I can, however, quote the bard, e.g., “Thinking makes it so.”

I can usually discuss contemporary work with convincing convincingness after reading a review or two and listening to an interview with the author. I never ask my friends if they’ve read the titles under discussion; that seems almost irrelevant these days.

Bayard, a professor at Paris University, doesn’t add much in the way of specific tips except to change the subject when cornered. For example, if asked to discuss Book X, opine that it reminds you of Book Y, and talk about that publication instead.

The author may have included more useful strategies in his most recent work, but, since I’ll never read it, I may never know.

15 January 2008
Rutherford’s Rejoinder
Once upon a time, Ernest Rutherford spotted a hard-working student in his laboratory late one night. When the famous physicist asked the lad how long he’d been toiling, the undergraduate proudly replied that he routinely worked from early in the morning until late at night.

Rutherford wasn’t impressed.

“So when do you think?” he asked.

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart