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 Forty-One Lines, Twenty of Them Drawn By Hand

W E E K  E I G H T E E N

30 April 1997
Forty-One Lines, Twenty of Them Drawn By Hand
Another week, another boring conceptual piece that looks better on paper after being printed from the PDF version. Given the technical considerations, this is too complicated to work on the Internet. But I did it anyway.

1 May 1997
Can't Wash, Won't Wash?
Today the voters of Great [sic] Britain elected a new government. In a British Broadcasting Corporation program, the writer Ferenz Krauler said "What you have here is new lederhosen over the same dirty knickers; it won't wash." (His mixed metaphor sounded even better with a Tyrolean accent.)

Can't wash, won't wash?

2 May 1997
A Baby for the Oven
Vincent told me he had to do an autopsy on a baby yesterday. He said the baby's puffy shiny white flesh initially reminded him of a loaf of dough that was ready for the oven. (He added that this seemed quite rational in that the body would be cremated following the exam.) He explained that once that idea lodged in his mind, the rest of the autopsy was easy.

"It was like handling on a loaf of bread."

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3 May 1997
Empty Heritage
An empty bottle of heritage, discarded. I tried to resist photographing such an obvious cliché, but couldn't.

4 May 1997
The Future's Good
I was at a rehearsal when I noticed that one of the trumpet players looked familiar; I realized I'd gone to high school with him. That wasn't too unusual; many of my classmates have become professional musicians. What was strange was to realize that I had gone back in time: I was as old as I am now, but all my friends in the orchestra were still teenagers.

I saw Wayne Brill, one of my art teachers, and confided to him that I'd come back in time. He was of course skeptical, but he couldn't deny I looked older than I could possibly be in 1974. He asked about the future, and I didn't know what to say: I knew he would die from a heart attack in less than two decades.

I told him the future would be very good for him ... what else could I say? It was an uncomfortable situation; I can't understand why anyone would want to go back to another point in their life.

5 May 1997
Knowing One's Place
The American tourist in front of me on the train is holding an electronic device in one hand and a pen in the other. He is using his global satellite positioning device to determine exactly where he is. It's impressive; I can see our position change regularly; right now it's at 55°39.73 North 1°52.46 West.

Or maybe it's not that impressive: according to his altimeter readout we're 227 feet above sea level, even though I can see we're only a few meters above the North Sea. He's making regular notes, and the whole exercise seems rather silly. I can't be too critical, though, since I'm holding an electronic device in one hand and a pen in the other to write this.

6 May 1997
An Embarrassing Favorite
When I'm asked what artist gave me the best advice, I answer simply "Harlan." I say this not because I'm name dropping, or even because that's how I always addressed him (he hated to be called Colonel), but because I can never remember if he spelled his last name "Saunders" or "Sanders." Many years ago, he cautioned me:

    "Working with spices and herbs is fine, but once you start working with dead animals you'll always be known as a dead animal artist. I'll go to my grave known as a dead animal artist. I know it's tempting for a young artist to seek the easy praise of necrophiles, but take the hard road. I should have stayed with herbs and spices."

He was right, and I've done well by taking his advice. (For the record, I should also admit that I successfully ignored it for a few months when I was artist in residence at Survival Research Laboratories.)

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©1997 David Glenn Rinehart