2009 Notebook: Weak XXXI
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30 July 2009
No. 4,206 (cartoon)
You look terrified.

I’m really not.

You should be.

31 July 2009
There’s Something About Texas
There’s something about Texas, and it’s not something good.

In Fort Worth a couple of days ago, thirty-four office workers ended up in the hospital after inhaling noxious fumes. Over a hundred other people were treated by medical emergency personnel at the scene of the poisoning.

Here’s what caused the borderline asphyxiation: perfume.

This sounds improbable, but then the entire state of Texas is entirely improbable bordering on the impossible. For example, many Texan woman sport truly big hair, bouffants that defy common sense, gravity, and good taste. Hoo boy!

It follows that women with big hair would use big perfume. I’ve been to Texas, and have seen five-liter jugs of perfume sold for under ten dollars, so I’m familiar with the toxic threat that felled the unfortunate office workers.

I don’t like to repeat stories with morals, but this one is obvious. Texas is toxic; avoid it like the stinky plague it is.

1 August 2009
Eat Your Enemy
As Napoleon Bonapatre observed, “An army travels on its stomach.” (He wasn’t the first to say that, if he said it at all, but that’s neither here nor there.)

And so, how do robot armies travel? The people who manufacture the mechanical warriors claim they’ll run on, “biomass.” And what’s the most abundant source of biomass on a battlefield? That’s right; dead soldiers are fresh meat, er, biomass.

“We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population,” explained Harry Schoell of Cyclone Power Technologies, “but that is not our mission.”

Of course eating dead soldiers isn’t Schoell’s robot warriors’ raison d’être; they exist to kill and destroy. But when the battle’s over, and it’s time for a meal, and there are all those bodies rotting in the sun, where’s a hungry biomechanical fighter going to go for a little victory snack?

Soldiers have always been fresh meat, and always will be.

2 August 2009
Recycling Pays, Sort Of
The other day, I took bags of cans, paper, cardboard, and lots of wine bottles out of my studio to be recycled. I knew it was a pointless exercise. In these grim economic times, lots of material sent to recycling centers ends up in the same landfills and dumps as my other waste. I don’t worry about such ethical concerns; it’s the same number of footsteps to the trash bin as it is to the recycling containers.

On the way back to my studio, I noticed something unusual in the grass: American currency. Specifically, I found a fifty-dollar note.

This welcome discovery led me to conclude that recycling is not its own reward; finding fifty dollars is its own fifty-dollar reward. I spent my small windfall on a couple of cases of wine, resulting in twenty-four more glass bottles to be recycled.

Easy come, easy go, easy come again!

3 August 2009
Underdoses Are Preventable
Anastasia and I went to the liquor store to get something to drink with dinner. I didn’t argue when she insisted on buying three magnums of champagne.

“Looks like we won’t have to be concerned about being thirsty tonight,” I said.

“Underdoses are preventable,” Anastasia replied with a smile. “No worries, mate!”

I love Australians; who doesn’t?

4 August 2009
One Hand Swimming
Every other day or so I drain a dozen liters of dirty water and fishy detritus out of my aquarium. And when my hand is submerged in the warm, tropical water, it feels like it’s swimming in the ocean again.

The ocean a few kilometers away from me is too cold for a sensible, nude person to enter, so until someone sends me to Hawaii or Thailand again, I shall have to make do with immersing my hand in my aquarium.

5 August 2009
Women, Naturally
Gabriel told me the story about how he came to the realization that he is heterosexual, and the story is this.

When he was on the verge of puberty, he pulled the nasty prank of hiding bits of rotting fish in all four tubas in the school bandroom. As a result, the band director, Wally Karboski, banished him from the music program. On his report card, Karboski wrote, “Gabriel has demonstrated that he is unfit company for man or beast.”

“I read what the old man wrote, thought about it, and figured out that if I shouldn’t be with men or beasts, that left women,” Gabriel explained. “So I went for women, naturally.”

“Naturally,” I agreed.

6 August 2009
Convert an Atheist!
Here’s the setup: an atheist, an imam, a monk, a rabbi, and a priest walk into a television station in Instanbul ...

That sounds like the beginning of a joke, and it may be. It’s also the premise for a Turkish television program. The producers are inviting “certified” atheists to appear on a television program where representatives of various faiths will attempt to convert an unbeliever to become a Catholic, a Jew, a Muslim, or a Buddhist. The “winner” will receive a free trip to the Vatican, Jerusalem, Mecca, or Tibet.

Television is the embodiment of stupidity, but I must admit I’m intrigued by the oxymoron of a Buddhist evangelist. I wish the producers good luck; their program could be just the thing to introduce some much-needed religious discord to that part of the world.

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart