2009 Notebook: Weak VI
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5 February 2009
No. 8,729 (cartoon)
Everything old is new.

Everything new is old.

Everything is always the same.

6 February 2009
Offending with Substance
Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.

That quote was attributed to Tony Brown, but which Tony Brown? I found lots of Tony Browns on the Internet, but no clue whether it was the footballer, the basketball player, the cricketer, the darts player, the journalist, the record producer, the rugby player, or maybe even the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man.

I use my middle name to avoid such confusion, since there are a dozen David Rineharts in California alone. When I offend people with substance, I want to let them know that David Glenn Rinehart is responsible, or perhaps more likely, irresponsible.

7 February 2009
Plenty of Beets Typo
When I arrived at Jerry’s studio for dinner, his daughter Megan greeted me and took me to the kitchen.

“I made us a nice beet salad,” she said, “and I also cooked us up a huge pot of beets.”

“I didn’t know you or Jerry were so fond of beets,” I said.

“Neither dad nor I are all that wild about them,” she replied, “we made them because you asked for them.”

I didn’t know what to say, but it didn’t matter; the puzzled look on my face said it all.

It turns out that when Jerry sent me a note asking what I wanted for dinner, I responded, “I’m up for anything as long as there are plenty of beers.” At least that’s what I meant to write, but apparently I typed “beets” instead of “beers.”

After I went to the store to get a case of beer, we enjoyed a great dinner.

8 February 2009
11,477,872 Trapped in Ohio
I read that a man died yesterday while trying to flee from Ohio; he fell off an ice floe into Lake Erie. The other 133 escapees on the melting sheet of ice were rescued.

A recent census estimates Ohio’s population at 11,478,006. Despite the heroic rescue efforts, that leaves some 11,477,872 poor souls still trapped in that sad state.

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9 February 2009
Ricin Beans
Suzette sent me a copy of the National Counterterrorism Center’s 2009 counterterrorism calendar, and I’m glad she did: the one hundred and sixty-four page calendar is a treasure trove of psychotic paranoia!

The document profiles the world’s most famous terrorists, useful information for anyone trekking through the Hindu Kush mountains along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Other pages display logos of noted “terrorist” organizations, with advice for police.

    Law enforcement officers should be on the watch for these emblems and/or named groups during traffic stops and other contacts. These emblems may be found on jewelry, documents, auto stickers, and other forms of advertisement.

If only someone had noticed that the September 11 hijackers were sporting Al-Qa’ida sweatshirts and baseball caps!

My favorite page details the differences between castor beans and pinto beans. They both work well in burritos, but you need castor beans to whip a batch of ricin, a deadly poison. I shall have to inspect the taquerias I patronize more carefully to ensure I don’t get the wrong kind of gas.

The National Counterterrorism Center editors also included a bit of political editorializing: “Myth: U.S. foreign policy is the primary cause of radicalization.” They refute that argument by claiming, “Radicalization frequently is driven by personal concerns at the local level ...”

Of course! Who could object to the United States invading and occupying other countries, and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in the process? After all, you can’t make an egg without breaking a few omelettes.

I’m a bit embarrassed by my strongest reaction to the agitprop: jealousy. The government spent a fortune on the glossy, insipid publication; I could probably live for a decade on the design budget. It would have been fun to produce the 2009 counterterrorism calendar; it’s even more absurd than anything I’ve done recently.

10 February 2009
Oranges and Cayenne
Juanita concocted a fabulous lunch treat today: orange slices covered in cayenne pepper. The dish may have been a variation on a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern salad; I forgot who invented it. That doesn’t matter; it tasted great.

It wasn’t until several hours later that I realized I’d had a recurring epiphany: hot peppers make anything and everything taste better. I discovered this in the last millennium, when Samantha added jalapeño peppers to the pasta and pesto. I later rediscovered the simple formula when Joey added some habañero peppers to the sauerkraut. And, of course, sushi without wasabi really isn’t sushi.

I need to stop relearning this lesson and start to apply it more regularly. Perhaps I’ll start by adding some chili peppers to tomorrow morning’s oatmeal.

Scorchio! Yummy!

11 February 2009
Anticipating 1234567890
I enjoy celebrating arbitrary dates, such as 3 August 2003, when I was both 1,500,000,000 seconds and 25,000,000 minutes old. I love big, round numbers (who doesn’t?), but I also appreciate sequences, especially an obvious one such as 1234567890.

And so, I’m looking forward to 23:31:30 Greenwich Mean Time in a couple days; that’s 1234567890 on the Unix clock, which began on 1 January, 1970. On Friday afternoon, I suppose I’ll have a drink or something.

I’m a bit worried about the Unix clock; why did the computer programmers who invented it only provide for ten numerals? What happens on 20 November, 2086, when the clock hits 9999999999? That’s one of those hypothetical problems that doesn’t concern me, since I’ll have been dead for decades by then.

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart