2008 Notebook: Weak VII
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12 February 2008
No. 8,149 (cartoon)
Are you suicidal?

No, I just feel that way.

13 February 2008
Dumb Camera Luck
Samantha sent me a one-sentence news clipping.

“Eight million Americans admit they send themselves Valentine’s Day gifts—they may feel lonely and unloved but at least they will get something nice.”

“Pathetic, no?” she asked.

“Pitiful, yes,” I agreed.

And then I remembered the new camera I recently ordered from a dealer in Washington. For reasons too tedious to recount, I had it shipped to Juanita’s studio; it’s supposed to arrive tomorrow. What if Juanita read the same article that Samantha cited? She’d probably think I was even more pathetic and pitiful, that’s what.

Before I had too much time to consider that possibility, Juanita called to tell me that my package had arrived a day early, before Valentine’s Day.


My dumb luck continues. That’s good; if it wasn’t for dumb luck, I’d have no luck at all.

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14 February 2008
Pillow Fight!
A thousand people—more or less—gathered for a pillow fight in downtown San Francisco tonight.

A thousand people. A thousand pillows. Fight! A zillion feathers furiously flying, and no one got hurt.

What a great formula, especially since it’s so simple. Pillows. Fight. Pillow fight!

15 February 2008
Antoine de Saint Exupéry opined, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

I agree, so I’ll stop writing now.

16 February 2008
The Three Meanings of Life Revisited
Karen and I were discussing this thing, that thing, and the other thing—not to mention five spices—when we turned our attention to the meaning of life.

I recalled that I’d written about the subject some time ago, so I asked my computer to show Karen my three meanings of life. When Karen saw the 16 February 1998 date of the notebook entry, she seemed incredulous.

“You mean you’ve known the meanings of life for exactly ten years?!” she asked.

Those were her words, but the implicit message was different. She seemed incredulous that I’d done so little with my purported knowledge.

17 February 2008
Paper Airplanes in Space
When hiking along a steep mountain cliff, I’ve often had the urge to hurl something off. I don’t throw rocks, since who knows what critter I might hit. For me, the most suitable object for being thrown off a bluff is a paper airplane. I’ve never done it, though, since I’ve never gone hiking or backpacking with a spare sheet of paper.

As is the case with most if not all of my thoughts, my paper airplane idea wasn’t original. Japanese engineers are planning on tossing paper airplanes from the International Space Station. It could work: University of Tokyo researchers flew paper airplanes at seven times the speed of sound in heat some fifteen degrees higher (Celsius) than the temperature at which paper combusts. Thus their origami contraptions may not technically be paper airplanes, but the concept is essentially the same.

High on a mountain, I’ve envisioned a paper airplane sailing for five minutes or longer before disappearing into the valley below. The Japanese scientists estimate it will take a number of months for the small planes to land after being tossed from the orbiting space station. The odds are astronomical, no pun intended, but perhaps I might see one of the Japanese planes fly overhead while hiking on Mount Rainier.

18 February 2008
Postmarital Semantics
Once upon a lovely time, I was legally married. But that was then and this is now, and now I’m not. Marisha, who’s very good with words—as well as quite a few other things—informs me that I am thus a wasband. And my former in-laws? They’re now out-laws.

I thanked Marisha for introducing me to those postmarital words, and thanked her by expanding her premarital vocabulary. When I was living with Leslie’s daughter without the benefit of legal matrimony, he cheerfully referrred to me as his sin-in-law. I always liked Leslie, even though he’s now an out-law.

19 February 2008
Coulrophobia Redux
English researchers at the University of Sheffield confirmed what many people already knew: coulrophobia—the fear of of clowns—is pervasive.

“We found that clowns are universally disliked by children,” reported Penny Curtis. “Some found them quite frightening.”

I applaud this research, it’s my favorite flavor of science: confirmation of virtually a priori knowledge.

A pox on clowns everywhere!

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart