Dog Daze, etc

Jul. 3 - In Monday's mail we received a glossy, four-panel brochure from the Frederiksberg Bureau of Wedding Interventions.

The brochure is also apparently our wedding license. One of its panels has a series of blanks into which someone with terrible penmanship has written our names, a date, and a time.

I was surprised to read that the DMB and I would be getting married on September 8, 2003, at 11:00 am in Frederiksberg Town Hall.

I was surprised because we're supposed to be getting married on August 9, preferably later in the day, and we had never asked anyone for permission to get married in Frederiksberg Town Hall.

I called the DMB in a panic and asked her what we had done to warrant this continuing abuse from the government.

"First of all," she began with her usual patience, "9/8 isn't September 8, you idiot. It's August 9."

"That's right," I said. "I forgot you still use the metric calendar."

Instead of defending her country's absurd attachment to that backward system of weights and measures, the DMB changed the subject deftly.

She said that at least we had approval to get married on the date we'd requested. That was the main thing. We could cancel the Town Hall ceremony once we'd arranged a ceremony of our own.

But since we're not getting married in a church, we have to be married by an elected official—a politician.

Which finally begins to explain why it's been so difficult to schedule our wedding...

Dog Daze

The Dog Days of summer begin today in the northern Hemisphere.


That was an inside joke for astronomers. The following is provided for the benefit of non-astronomers.

Sirius is the name of the brightest star in the night-time sky (the brightest star in the day-time sky is called "the sun"), and it's known as the dog star because it's located in the constellation Canis Major—or, in English, Major Dog. The hottest days of the year in the northern hemisphere happen to coincide with the period during which Sirius rises with our own sun, and primitive bastards therefore concluded that Sirius was contributing to the heat.

Like most primitive bastards, they were wrong, but like most modern bastards, we continue to cherish their timeless wisdom anyway. Plus, having "Dog Days" of summer is a great boon to advertising copywriters, whose creativity is surely the driving force behind western civilization.

Reader Mail

I got an interesting email yesterday, but it requires a little background. Some time ago, I received the following question from someone at Mac.com: "When I bend over everything goes dark. I was wondering whether it's because there's something wrong with me or that everything really is dark but you only see it properly when you bend over?"

I posted the following answer: "Don't worry. The darkness is is merely the result of either (a) excessive blood rushing to your head, (b) a small blood clot that will eventually cause a fatal aneurysm, or (c) a terminal brain tumor. None of these conditions will seriously affect me."

Yesterday's email, from a reader at Crestron.com, suggested that I had missed the point. "I was just reading your responses to various questions," he wrote. "One of them was from Mac.com and regarded a person bending over... and then it got dark. It occurs to me that your answer was very gender-specific. What if the querent was a large-breasted woman? Then the darkness could be caused a very soft and fleshy obstruction."

Indeed it could. As a longtime fan of large-breasted querents, bent over or otherwise, I ought to have deduced the answer myself.

However, in defense of my gender-specificity, I will observe that persons of either gender could have a head-rush, a blot clot, or a brain tumor, whereas there's not much likelihood that someone of a male-specific gender would have fleshy funsacks of a magnitude to obliterate his vision, unless he were so obese that bending over would require an exemption to the laws of physics.

So we'll call it a draw.

Healthy Living Notebook

On July 3, 1969, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones drowned in his own swimming pool. Although he was the first Rolling Stone to do so, Mr Jones is just one of millions of people to have drowned in their own swimming pools. As a public service I have therefore chosen to help American readers prepare for the long holiday weekend by reprinting this advice on how not to drown in one's pool.

1. Don't have a pool.

2. If you insist upon owning a pool, don't swim in it, walk by it, or nap in its vicinity.

3. Pools don't drown people: water does. A drained pool is a safe pool. In troubling times like these, it's also worth noting that empty pools may be put to good use as bunkers or bomb shelters.

4. Avoid the use of electronic equipment while swimming. Today's multi-tasking professionals may feel inclined to save time by checking their email or drafting a Powerpoint presentation while taking a few laps, but this can prove ruinous for one's telecommunications equipment and, in the case of desktop computers or mainframes, not much better for one's own health.

5. Wait at least 45 minutes before swimming after the ingestion of mind-altering substances.

6. Don't be a rock star. Scientific research has proven that rock stars are seven times more likely than the general population to drown in swimming pools, bathtubs, or their own vomit.

7. Do not attempt to convert the water in your pool to Jell-O. Jell-O is just as deadly as chlorinated water when ingested by the lungs, but far more likely to attract insects and vermin. It is one thing to drown in your own pool: it is quite another to drown in your own pool and then be devoured by maggots.

8. Avoid poisonous snakes.

Birthdays and Holidays

It's Emancipation Day in the Virgin Islands.

Today is the birthday of Tom Cruise (1962), Tom Stoppard (1937). Ken Russell (1927), and Franz Kafka (1883).

Happy Thursday!

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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