2000 Notebook: Transition VIII
1 March 2000
There's Nothing Like a Vicious Review
Although I'm usually a fairly nice person, I do have a wicked streak that takes perverse pleasure in a vicious verbal attack. Jonathon Jones provides the most recent example: "There's nothing like a great photographer, and Lord Snowdon is nothing like a great photographer."


In fact, that's the nastiest thing I've heard since my late friend Paul Raedeke critiqued his neighbor's wretched paintings: "I hope he's doing it for therapy."

2 March 2000
The Last Refuge of the Gorillas
I was more than usually skeptical when some of my do-gooder friends told me they're setting up a new mountain gorilla refuge in Rwanda.

"I don't know much about mountain gorillas," I opined, "but aren't they more or less done for in their natural habitat?"

"Exactly," said Ron, "and that's the beauty of our refuge: it won't need any gorillas."

The do-gooders' refuge will feature people dressed up in gorilla suits. Initially, the part of the gorillas will be played by some of the best out-of-work thespians Los Angeles has to offer. They'll then train local villagers to replace them, providing income for the people who share the jungle with the endangered apes.

The scheme gets better. Phase three calls for corporate sponsorship, possibly including air-conditioned suits.

My do-gooder friends are even crazier than I am, but I suppose it goes with the territory.

gratuitous image
3 March 2000
360 Degrees (In Progress)
In 1994, I made a piece titled 360 Degrees. (It's available online in the Pretty Damn Fine format; refer to the technical bits if necessary.)

I did a lot of boring conceptual pieces back then. And, as it turns out, I'm still doing them. I thought I'd rid myself of the conceptual virus, but apparently I have not. I started working with the 360 degrees again, and I don't know where it's leading. This may be a series of prints, or I may be done. Since this is ostensibly an artist's notebook, I thought I'd include some art for a change.

4 March 2000
The Dark Side of the Sun
My young nephew Keir asked me to help him with his homework assignment on lunar eclipses.

"It's simple," I said. "Do you know what causes a solar eclipse?"

"When the moon goes between the earth and the sun?" Keir answered hesitantly.

"Exactly," I replied. "Well, a lunar eclipse is just like a solar eclipse, except that it's the other way around. You see, the sun casts a shadow when it passes between the earth and the moon."

"But the sun is bright, isn't it?" asked Keir.

He looked thoroughly befuddled, but I was patient.

"You're half right," I explained. "The thing to remember is that the sun has a dark side, just like the moon. The dark side is toward us when the sun passes between us and the moon; that's why lunar eclipses only happen at night."

Keir's a smart child, but I'm not sure if he understood the complex scientific principles involved in my deceptively simple explanation.

5 March 2000
Norwegian Bedding Instructions
Arne recently returned from the small village of Å at the southern tip of Norway's lovely Lofoten Islands. (I've been there myself, and that really is its name, just "Å.")

Like any good traveler, Arne brought back a souvenir. In this case, the holiday trophy was a sign from a small Norwegian hotel.

    Welcome to Norway

    In Norway, we sleep different than the rest of the world. Please read these simple directions for maximum enjoyment.

    In your room, you will discover upon your bed:

  • a sheet
  • a pillow
  • a pillowcase
  • a duvet
  • a duvet cover
  • Put the sheet on the bed. Put the pillow in the pillowcase. Put the duvet inside the duvet cover, then put it on the bed. Please sleep on the sheet under the duvet, the Norwegian way.

"Sleep the Norwegian way!" roared Arne. "Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?"

"I certainly have, but that's beside the point," I replied. "I'm afraid there are a number of foreign visitors who are unfamiliar with any sleeping arrangement that doesn't involve being sandwiched between two sheets."

Arne looked crestfallen, but he cheered considerably when I congratulated him on his excellent curatorial taste in tacky souvenirs. Far be it from be to devalue anyone's obtanium.

6 March 2000
Titivating My Vocabulary
Glenda didn't like the look of one of my recent projects, and told me so. She said it needed "titivation."

I told her that wasn't my style. I went on to say that I disliked using slang to refer to body parts in general and breasts in particular. I added that "tits" is one of the words I most dislike.

The more I argued, the more Glenda laughed. That happens a lot.

"Look, you ninny, titivation has nothing to do with 'tits,' " she laughed. "Titivation means adding some ornamentation, tarting things up, bells and whistles. You know."

Obviously, I did not.

7 March 2000
Into the Vomitusphere
One of the many things I'd like to do before I die would be to go into orbit. I was reminded of this by a magazine article describing the problems of medicine in space. According to the author, all but three of the 279 men and women who left earth on American ships from to 1988 and 1995 developed an illness. (The author then went on to use a word I'd never heard, "vomitus." I guess that's the noun that comes from the verb, "vomit," so to speak.)

Going into space has to be ridiculously expensive. About the only way I'll be able to afford it is if supply-and-demand works in my favor. After all, it can't be all that desirable to be on a flight where ninety-nine percent of the people succumb to reverse peristalsis. I wonder if seeing the earth, moon, and stars would be enchanting if flight attendants with damp sponges were scurrying around trying to trap smelly little globules of airline food that missed the emesis bag on their way back out of the digestive tract? Oh well, at least there probably wouldn't be any bawling babies.

I doubt I'd be all that bothered by being surrounded by sick people. I've done it many times before, both figuratively and literally, like the times I was on a Greenpeace ship in a force eleven gale. There were twenty-six people on board: twenty-two were green in their bunks with buckets nearby; three were on the bridge driving the boat.

And I was in the galley washing dishes, drinking cheap red wine and listening to loud music.

Anchors aweigh!

8 March 2000
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(Sometimes nothing works better than nothing.)

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©2000 David Glenn Rinehart