1999 Notebook: Interval IV

30 January 1999
The Reason for Hair
I got tired of having hair yesterday, so I cut it all off. (Mostly.) I forgot about it until the afternoon trip to the liquor store. The remaining short bristles bristled, which, I suppose, is why they're called bristles. I soon enjoyed the effect of the wind on my scalp; it felt like my head was covered with tiny antennae.

When I went out for a burrito at night, I was surprised at how cold it was, even though it wasn't that cold. After walking a few blocks, I figured out I was cold because my head had no insulation, not even a hat.

Hair is there for a reason.

31 January 1999
To Your Lovers
Everyone knows that Germans--and not a few Americans--say "gesundheit" after someone sneezes. If the stories I've heard are true, this practice started many centuries ago. Superstitious people believed that one lost total control over the body during a sneeze, and that the devil could take advantage of the split-second opportunity to enter. The post-sneeze "bless you" was supposed to drive out the devil.

Judging from my cursory knowledge of history, I don't think the gesundheit strategy worked very well.

And then there's France. The French say "a tes amours"--to your lovers--after a sneeze. C'est la vie.

1 February 1999
Save Our Souls (With Better Technology)
Morse Code is, as of today, history. The dash-dot shorthand was replaced by a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System that uses satellite and ground-based radio communications.

GMDSS is not a lovely acronym.

Morse code--used around the world for 160 years--was devised by Samuel Finley Breese Morse, a 49-year-old U.S. portrait painter. I wonder if any of his paintings lasted that long?


gratuitous image
2 February 1999
Sammy Rosen (snaportrait)
Sammy is a new friend of mine.

3 February 1999
Porn Art
I saw the book Porn Art at a book store. What a horrible title! The author should choose either art or porn, since the art people will avoid it because of the porn and vice-versa.

Or maybe not. The book next to Porn Art was Porn Art II. There’s a lot I don’t know about publishing, not to mention porn and art.

4 February 1999
Ignore the Environment
After dinner with a friend who still believes all that saving the planet stuff, I saw an unusual bumpersticker on the way back to the lab:

“ignore the environment ... it will go away”


5 February 1999
Buffalo, Beer, and Brains
I spend too much of my time inside jets and computers, so every so often I find it valuable to learn a lesson from nature. Today's lesson is provided--free even--by the bison.

A herd of buffalo never travels faster than its slowest member. Nevertheless, the slowest and weakest buffalo end up at the back of a moving herd; they're the ones that get picked off by predators. Of course, once the slowest members aren't around, the surviving bison can move more quickly. People Who Know These Things argue this is true bison behavior, but I haven't been able to verify this even after hours of studying the slothful buffalo in San Francisco.

Anyway, it's the same with beer and brain cells. Beer, wine, and especially Rainier Ale, kill brain cells by the gazillions. The alcohol only catches the slow cells, though, so the more you drink the faster you think!

Drink drank drunk think thank thunk!

6 February 1999
Expensive Art Shit
Piero Manzoni's little cans of shit aren't what they used to be. He canned his feces in 1961 in an edition of ninety thirty-gram tins. One of the pieces sold for $75,000 in 1993, but at the most recent auction his little can of shit sold for only $28,800.

Piero Manzoni's best idea was to can his excrement; his second best idea was dying.

7 February 1999
Iron Bearing Fruit
I like Sandra for a number of reasons, but her most notable trait is her indefatigable optimism. When I asked her what she was working on, she said, "nothing at the moment, but I have so many irons in the fire that one of them will surely bear fruit."

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©1999 David Glenn Rinehart