2009 Notebook: Weak XXX
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23 July 2009
No. 2,646 (cartoon)
You never say, “I love you.”

Love’s easier done than said.

24 July 2009
The Information Age
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the virtual absence of journalists. For some reason, I was surprised by the obvious corollary: the virtual absence of photojournalists.

Today, the San Francisco newspaper published an article on contemporary Hawaii, featuring faded, mediocre photographs provided—for free, of course—by the Hawaii Tourism Authority as well as the Big Island Visitors Bureau. The formerly adequate periodical may or may not have paid a pittance for a few trite images from Shutterstock, a cheap photo library.

As Harry Shearer wisely observed, “Nobody knows anything; it’s the information age.”

25 July 2009
Again, Only Slower
Evelyn’s back from a traumatic and final visit with her grandmother.

Evelyn was by her grandmother’s side when she died a few months before her hundredth birthday. The death wasn’t untimely or upsetting, but her last words were.

“I’d kill ’em all again,” her grandmother said on her deathbed.

“Kill ’em all again?!” Evelyn asked.

“Kill ’em all again, only slower.”

Those were the last words she ever said, but Evelyn wishes they weren’t.

Kill ’em all again?!

26 July 2009
Really, Really Cheap
Hubert’s one of the few people I’ve met who disagreed with my description of myself as cheap.

“You’re just a shrewd shopper,” Hubert explained, “but my parents are cheap, really cheap.”

I took the bait.

“How cheap?” I asked.

“When my parents go on holiday,” he explained, “they turn off their telephone answering machine to save electricity.”

Wow; what an inspiration!

27 July 2009
Bad Dog!
Toni has a bad dog; she told me so herself. Today, for example, she caught her mutt eating used tampons. It’s not the first time her mongrel’s done this, and it probably won’t be the last time, either.

“They’ll be coming out one end or the other tomorrow,” she predicted resignedly.

I tried to cheer her up by telling her about Fifi, who’s in the running for the title of Bad Dog of the Year. Here’s why.

A while back, an anonymous friend called to report, “Fifi ate my mother.”

“Fifi what?!” I asked.

It seems that Fifi managed to break the urn containing my friend’s mother’s cremated remains, and was cheerfully eating them when she was caught. Now that’s a bad dog!

Despite my uplifting tale, Toni’s still upset with her tampon-chomping dog. I don’t blame her; I can’t understand why anyone would voluntarily choose to live with a canine.

28 July 2009
Outlawing Centaurs and Mermaids
July’s been a great month for stupidity, thanks in no small part to Sam Brownback, an American senator from the primitive state of Kansas. Brownback is the author of the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009.

“Creating human-animal hybrids, which permanently alter the genetic makeup of an organism, will challenge the very definition of what it means to be human and is a violation of human dignity and a grave injustice,” the reactionary politician explained.

Brownback’s proposed legislation is bad news for centaur lovers. I know several women who love men and horses equally; who is anyone else to say that conceiving a centaur is wrong?

And let us not forget mermaids. I’ve spent lonely days at sea, and know that manatees—or sea cows—are entirely unsatisfactory sirens. No, when it comes to mermaids, only the real thing will do. (Kansas is a thousand miles from the ocean, so I guess Brownback’s ignoring the maritime demographic.)

I wonder if Brownback’s trying to stem the alarming trend of deëvolution? Having been to Kansas, I fear it’s too late.

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29 July 2009
Sixteen Popcorn Kernels, Popped
I’ve always enjoyed popcorn as a buttery, salty, greasy treat, but have avoided it in recent decades for exactly those artery-clogging reasons. But things changed when I met Hilary, who shared her secret recipe for preparing healthy—and quite tasty!—popcorn. (I’d repeat her secret formula, except that would render it an unsecret recipe.)

When, after years of anticipation, I finally got around to photographing Sixteen Popcorn Kernels, Popped, I was surprised by the results. I was expecting puffy, cottony images, but ended up with something completely different. That failure of visual predictability makes the project an aesthetic success, at least for me.

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart