2009 Notebook: Weak X
gratuitous image
5 March 2009
No. 5,366 (cartoon)
What do you really believe?

I believe I’ll have a drink.

6 March 2009
Those Perfidious Pizza Poets!
Those perfidious poets are at it again!

I received an invitation to an evening presentation of “poetry and free pizza.” The combination hurt my confused brain: poetry bad, pizza good. Not always, of course, but my good poetry experiences are far more rare than my bad pizza experiences.

I was considering the pros and cons of the offer when I read the fine print: it cost five dollars to enter the venue providing the “free” pizza. If only those pesky poets were as creative with the language of their alleged work as they were when it comes to misleading marketing, the literary world would be a better place.

7 March 2009
Pure Solomon!
I read that a wise Canadian judge ruled that Vince Li won’t go to prison for beheading and eating a fellow bus passenger during a long journey on the Trans-Canada Highway. I don’t condone—let alone advocate—murder, so I have got some ’splaining to do.

The judge sagely noted that by stabbing, dismembering, and eating a fellow passenger, Li’s behavior was, “strongly suggestive of a mental disorder.” Pure Solomon, that was! But there’s more to the story than that.

I’ve been on cross-country bus rides that lasted for days, and I think there’s something mentally wrong with someone who doesn’t experience a modicum of insanity as a result. I also don’t endorse cannibalism, but the quality of food available within walking distance of a bus station is clearly another extenuating circumstance.

The judge committed Li to a mental institution; I hope they sent the poor guy in an ambulance and not a bus.

8 March 2009
Film Test
I’m not a film critic; I’m really not any flavor of critic at all. Tonight, though, I did invent a critical benchmark.

Duane invited me over for a delicious dinner, then insisted I watch one of his favorite films, Tripping with Trollops. I didn’t think I’d like it, and, unfortunately, I was right. As I watched the video, I kept thinking about the dirty dishes in the kitchen until I decided I’d rather wash them than watch another frame of Tripping with Trollops.

As I was cleaning up the plates and pans (and helping myself to a few more tortellinis), I realized I was enjoying that much more than the film. And that’s how I came up with my new criterion for judging a movie: it has to be more rewarding than washing dishes.

9 March 2009
Over a Billion Model Prostitutes Sold!
Once upon a time a long, long time ago, little girls played with dolls that looked like little girls. And once upon a time just half a century ago, Ruth Handler had the brilliant insight that little girls would like to play with models of grown women, and she found a prototype in Lilli, a German doll. Handler concocted and sold her version of the doll, and named her creation after her daughter, Barbie.

Barbie is fifty years old today; over a billion Barbie dolls have been manufactured since 1959. (That’s billion with a “b.”)

A story about a boring doll without an amusing ending would be pointless, so here it is. Lilli, Barbie’s de facto godmother, was modeled after a prostitute.

Shrewd hucksters encouraging a billion girls to aspire to emulate a prostitute explains a lot.

10 March 2009
Not My Favorite Behavior
Amanda dropped by for a visit, so I offered her a can of Rainier Ale.

“It’s not my not my favorite drink,” she said, “I’ll just have some water, please.”

“It’s not exactly my favorite drink either,” I replied, “but that’s because they’re all my favorites.”

“I don’t think you understand,” Amanda explained, “but ‘not my favorite’ is a polite way of saying that I think Rainier Ale tastes like rancid buffalo urine.”

Aha! I’m glad I am unencumbered by good manners; they seem to get in the way of clear communication.

11 March 2009
The Worst Video Game Ever
I do a number of things of which I’m not proud, such as playing video games. Sometimes they’re respectable games such as go or chess, other times they’re stupid or worse, such as bowling.

I got a ten-pin bowling game for my little pocket computer; it was free, and worth it. I didn’t think much about it until I played a game on the subway and scored a perfect game: twelve strikes in a row.

I was disappointed to have played a perfect game on maybe the tenth try. What’s left to hope for? Nevertheless, I played a few more games, and couldn’t even come up with a mediocre score.

I was thwarted by both ends of the spectrum; both perfection and incompetence are boring (in the negative sense).

12 March 2009
A Nice Chinese Story, Ruined
I’ve made disparaging remarks about life in China, everything from condom hair ties and dubious candy to shenanigans at the Olympics. Still, there’s a lot to be said for Chinese culture, especially when it comes to an appreciation of the medicinal qualities of food.

The Chongqing highway police have come up with an innovative and efficacious way to deal with sleepy drivers. Taking a cue from some motorists from Hunan, the authorities have been passing out chili peppers to drowsy drivers. (It’s unclear from the article I read whether the police were forcing people to eat the peppers, or just strongly encouraging them to do so, which, in China, may be the same thing.)

“When Chairman Mao Zedong got tired late at night while he was writing, he would take some peppers to keep his spirit up,” noted Yuan Qinglai, a Communist party secretary in the Chongqing highway police. (Qinglai didn’t add that Mao never brushed his teeth or washed his genitals.)

Dang, that was certainly churlish of me to repeat the Mao anecdotes. I was almost finished complimenting the Chinese on their innovative use of peppers, then I had to end on a parenthetical sophomoric note.

last weak  |  index  |  next weak

©2009 David Glenn Rinehart