2008 Notebook: Weak XLVI
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12 November 2008
No. 6,828 (cartoon)
Have you reviled me all your life?

Not yet.

13 November 2008
Incidents and Disasters
I don’t know all that much about marriage. If I did, I suppose I’d be married. Still, I like Harold Nicolson’s advice, “The great secret of a successful marriage is to treat all disasters as incidents and none of the incidents as disasters.”

That may or may not be good marriage counsel, but that’s a good way to live. But, since that’s always been my practice, I would say that, wouldn’t I? And how else could I explain the suspicious lack of disasters in my imaginary résumé?

14 November 2008
Earth Without Art
Elias wrote, “What’s earth without art, eh?”

I thought it was yet another Canadian joke, but Elias was simply separating the word “earth” into “art” and “eh.”

Pretty stupid, eh?

15 November 2008
Nefarious Nikon Knobs
I’ve used Nikon cameras for decades, and I’ve never had any problems with them except for the time I fell off my bike coming back from the absinthe party and landed on the camera in my pocket.



And then there was today, when my Nikon lens refused to follow instructions. I told it to do this, do that, and do the other thing, but the insubordinate lens just set there like the inert lump of Japanese glass and metal it had become.

I’ll make a long and tedious story a short and tedious story; the lens was and is fine. I discovered that I’d accidentally flipped some arcane switch on my camera. My Nikon has about ninety-seven knobs, switches, buttons, and dials; I only use the shutter speed and aperture controls. I don’t know what any of the others do, except for the one that renders the lens useless.

I don’t miss using film, but I wish there was a digital camera with just two controls.


16 November 2008
No DC for Me
President-elect Obama’s hiring help, and he sure is persnickety. Here’s what he’s asking job applicants.

    ... please provide the names and details of any individuals [who] have the potential for embarrassment.

I’d have no problem with that part of the application; I’d simply submit a copy of my address book. And then there’s this.

    If you have ever sent an electronic communication [and/or] keep or have ever kept a diary that contains anything that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the president-elect if it were made public, please describe.

With over forty-seven hundred of these notebook entries, I’m sure there must be something to offend and/or embarrass everyone.

Given that my myriad shameless public embarrassments render me immune from blackmail, there may—in theory—be a place in the Obama administration for me. In practice, though, I will never, ever live in the District of Columbia. The rancid place was literally built in a swamp, and no change of administration will fix that.

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17 November 2008
Dead Art Rat, Not Dead Rat Art
Sophia and I were walking by the San Francisco Art Institute’s cafe when I spotted a dead rat.

“Is it art?” I wondered aloud.

“That’s not art,” Sophia replied without hesitation. “My cat could do better than that.”

As the rat learned too late, there’s a reason no one eats at the school’s cafe.

18 November 2008
Unintended Consequences
One of the great things about living in the United States is that no one is responsible for anything; every mistake is someone else’s fault. Things keep getting better; now there are no more mistakes. Instead, we have “unintended consequences.”

Got drunk and vomited at the party? Oops, unintended consequences. Caught cheating and punished? Dang, unintended consequences. Speeding and crashed the car? Still more unintended consequences. And so on.

I suppose there’s more to be said about this development, but, since I started writing this just before bedtime, I don’t have time to come up with any interesting perspectives. I suppose it’s an unintended consequence of trying to write with too little energy and not enough time.

19 November 2008
Like Britches on a Snake
Amelie wasn’t happy with her short stories, and asked me if I’d help her reformat them using a different layout and typeface.

“I suppose I could,” I replied, “but it would be like putting britches on a boa.”

Fortunately, Amelie thought I was making a juvenile reference to trouser snakes, so I didn’t have to tell her that her writing needed help that graphic designs and fonts couldn’t provide.

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart