2009 Notebook: Weak XLI
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9 October 2009
No. 1,530 (cartoon)
Our love is rare.

It really is remarkable.

No, I mean it’s usually absent.

10 October 2009
Moderation, Australian Style
Things can go higgledy-piggledy when people drink a lot, as anyone who’s visited the former penal colony of Australia can attest. Apparently, things have become so corybantic there that the authorities have instituted alcohol rationing at the Bathurst 1000. Racing fans will now be limited to a daily allowance of just four liters of wine or one slab of beer.

Slab of beer?!

I’d never heard that unit of measurement before. After a bit of investigation, I discovered that a slab comprises twenty-four 375-milliliter cans of beer. In other words, motorsports aficionados will be limited to only one beer an hour. That’s insane; I wonder how many people will have to die from dehydration under the brutal Australian sun before bureaucrats rescind their ridiculous quota?

11 October 2009
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
I’ve never mentioned this before, but what little I know about the mechanics of the English language is perhaps attributable to my dear friend Brad’s passive tutelage. He’s proofed these notebook entries on occasion, and whatever semblance of proper English appears here and there is, in large part, attributable to his guidance.

As an expression of my appreciation, I sent Brad a copy of my book, Three Black Squares, Cartoons (sort of), with an inscription.

    For Brad,

    I couldn’t have done it without you.


Anyone familiar with the premise that no good deed goes unpunished can guess what happened next. Brad expressed his thanks for the gift, and said it was fine with him that I’d implicitly blamed all of the publication’s shortcomings in general—and page forty-seven in particular—on him with my “couldn’t have done it without you” remark.

I took his response in stride. Having known each other for a third of a century, there’s not much either of us can do to change our friendship for better or worse.

12 October 2009
Timeless Reorganization
Dr. Moody reports that her office is abuzz with rumors of an impending corporate reorganization. She’s used to such workplace turbulence with good reason; it’s been going on for millennia. Here’s how Gaius Petronius described the process over two-thousand years ago.

“We trained hard, but it seems that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.”

Human beings are nothing if not predictable.

13 October 2009
Single Double Entendre?
Rodney and Ruth are at it again; their long-distance courtship is not going well, not well at all.

“Ruth told me to stop sending her lascivious notes,” Rodney complained, “but there wasn’t a single double entendre in the last one.”

“Isn’t ‘single double entendre’ an oxymoron?” I asked.

My ploy to change the subject worked; Ruth’s name never came up during the rest of the conversation.

Rodney and Ruth will figure something out; people always do. It’s like Shakespeare said, “If love be the torment of doves, let the band play on.”

14 October 2009
Stewart’s Career Path
Stewart’s been working for the same corporation for almost thirty years. He started with an entry-level position as a peon, then moved up the corporate ladder to drone, then lackey, then on to minion. He called me this afternoon to announce that his overseers had finally promoted him to stooge.

“That puts me right on course to be a henchman before I retire,” he reported. “Henchmen get pretty good retirements.”

Poor Stewart. I was too polite to ask him why he thought if he’d enjoy life in retirement since he hasn’t taken much pleasure in it during the last half of a century.

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart