2008 Notebook: Weak XXXIX
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25 September 2008
No. 5,070 (cartoon)
How can I trust you?

You can believe anything I don’t say.

26 September 2008
Alcoholics Anonymous?
Everyone knows that Bill Wilson and Bob Smith founded Alcoholics Anonymous. So why is the organization called Alcoholics Anonymous?

27 September 2008
Infantile Entertainment
I read a story in a German magazine about the townspeople in Castrillo de Murcia who observe a curious ritual every spring. I didn’t pay close attention to the confusing details of the observance, which dates back to 1620. I just appreciated the most striking aspect: baby jumping.

The townspeople place all the newborn children on mattresses on the middle of the street, then men dressed as devils jump over them. I think it would be a lot more entertaining if the Spanish villagers used bicycles, but, of course, there weren’t any bicycles in 1620. Or 1720, for that matter. The Laufmaschine came along in 1820, but wasn’t suited for leaping a bed full of babies.

I don’t know why the demons jump over the infants; it doesn’t matter. Entertainment matters, and babies are great entertainment. Why else would people tolerate little human larvae?

I remember stopping play every weekday in mid-afternoon to come inside the house to watch the baby race when I was a child. It was a staple on an old television show, and simply featured three babies crawling along a short race course. Kind of like watching the slug races, only faster-paced.

Babies really are good entertainment value. Otherwise, they’re fairly useless.

28 September 2008
Relative Mothers
I was talking with Dr. Wiles when I mentioned that I’d recently visited my mother; he expressed surprise that she was so relatively young.

“That’s the way the math works when you give birth at nineteen,” I explained.

“My mother’s eighty-nine, and she’s been dead for four years.” Dr. Wiles replied.

29 September 2008
Better Never to Have Been
Henri suggested that I read David Benatar’s book, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence.

“Why would I do that?” I asked. “Seems like a priori knowledge to me.”

Henri went on to praise Benatar’s reasoning that being born always leads to harm, that it’s wrong to have children, and that the planet would be a better place if humans were extinct.

I told Henri that I found the author’s arguments unconvincing. After all, Benatar’s still doing damage by merely existing. If he was serious about wiping out humanity, he could start with himself. Or, if he was more ambitious, he could work for a tobacco company or one of those Chinese firms peddling toxic foodstuffs. Instead, he’s writing books no one but people like Henri will ever read.

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30 September 2008
I made another thirty-second film, Chargers. It features two Nikon batteries charging. It’s boring—of course—but I like the soundtrack I composed and recorded.

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart