2000 Notebook: Transition XXIV
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15 July 2000
Monarch of the Glen and Skunk (Kentucky/Tennessee)
Each and every single pub in Scotland has a painting, drawing, or some other illustration of a damn huge deer. This work of art always has the same title: Monarch of the Glen.

So there.

Having said this, I’m not sure whether or not that’s true. First, I have yet to visit every single pub in Scotland. Second, I remember very little of my visits to dozens of Scottish pubs, which is an implicit tribute to the efficacy of these public houses. (In fact I only distinctly remember visiting one Scottish pub, and that’s only because I made a lovely piece there, Twenty Deodorizing Mints Scattered in Five Seemingly Random Gangs of Four in the Urinal of the Edinburgh Pub “The Cumberland” on St. Patrick’s Day 1998.)

Such pleasant memories—or lack thereof—inspired me to make Monarch of the Glen and Skunk (Kentucky/Tennessee). Thanks for introducing me to your friends, lovely Ellie!

As is the case with such pieces, Monarch of the Glen and Skunk (Kentucky/Tennessee) is available in the PDF format.

16 July 2000
Jeff Koons is a Moron
Jerome opined, apropos of nothing, “Jeff Koons is a moron.”

“Are you saying that because he’s a crap artist?” I inquired.

“No, everyone knows that,” Jerome explained. “My problem with him is that he’s been pretentious for so long that he’s now actually postentious.”

Poor Jeff Koons! Unrepentant commodity traders never get any respect.

17 July 2000
Burrito Calm
Joey and I were dismayed to discover Pancho Villa Taqueria jammed full of people when we arrived there for lunch. The queue of customers waiting for food was so long that some people were actually standing outside. If Pancho Villa Taqueria was a very large fish, it would have been packed to the gills.

“Did some publication just give this place a good review or something?” I asked Joey. “I wonder why it’s so crowded in here?”

“I’d say it’s crowded in here because it’s packed with customers; there are more people than chairs,” Joey said. “If there were more chairs than people, then I think it would be much less crowded.”

“Were you joking, or was that a serious comment?” I asked.

“Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t,” Joey replied. “And maybe now you know how annoying you are when you do that.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I lied, which in turn annoyed Joey.

Our mutual aggravation didn’t last. After all, it’s difficult to be anything other than elated while devouring a burrito.

18 July 2000
God’s Waiting Room
I asked Andrew if he enjoyed his trip to Florida. That turned out to be a big mistake.

“Fucking Florida!” he replied. “It’s a fucking swamp! It’s God’s god-damned fucking waiting room!” (Andrew likes to swear, in spite of the limited choice of English cuss words at his disposal.)

“I have to agree,” I replied. “My father spent his last decade there.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, David,” said Andrew. “I didn’t know.”

“No offense taken,” I responded. “Florida is, in fact, a mosquito-infested swamp. Before my father died, he told me he was ready to leave this life any time. If he lived, say, on Gobbler’s Knob, his exit would not have been so relatively easy to accept.”

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19 July 2000
Smells Like Pan Am
One of the myriad benefits of my pseudo-nomadic life is that I don’t accumulate all the chachkas and doodads that eventually clog even the largest house. There’s a notable exception to my minimalism, though, and it’s a ridiculous one.

For some reason, I can’t resist keeping anything I collect on jets. I have enough toothbrushes, packets of salt and pepper, moist “towelettes,” packets of tissues, razors, individually-wrapped toothpicks, et cetera, to last a lifetime, maybe two. I realized the depth of my stupidity when I came across a foil-wrapped packet of Revillon “Double Mixte Eau de Toilette” with a Pan Am logo on it.

Although it seems improbable, I can still smell the cheap French scent through the foil, even after many years. (I think Pan Am went out of business almost a decade ago.)

I still clearly remember the odiferous Pan Am odor. Over the years, I’ve occasionally met someone who reeks of “Double Mixte Eau de 747.” The association is so strong that I’ve been tempted to remark, “You smell like Pan Am.” For some reason, that’s one of the few stupidities I’ve successfully avoided.

20 July 2000
Art Is
I collect quotes; I have over 1,600 filed away in a database. Most of them are directly related to art, although some of them—like Dean Martin’s observation, “You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on,”—are perhaps only tangentially relevant.

My collection has a predictable weak spot. Almost all of my quotes containing the six-character string, “art is,” are silly, if not worse than useless. (Perhaps the most notable exception is Armistead Maupin’s observation, “Art is the work you should be doing while you’re out busy trying to define it.”)

And so it was that I was pleasantly surprised to discover an unfamiliar quote by Mark Twain, née Samuel Langhorne Clemens, that came as close to describing art as anything I’ve ever heard.

    “What is there that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man’s breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea, to discover a great thought—an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plough had gone over before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find a way to make the lightnings carry your messages. To be the first—that is the idea.”

I’m not sure whether or not that’s the idea, but it’s a fine quote.

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21 July 2000
San Francisco Tiki Lamp
I noticed the faint image of tiki lamp in a snapshot I made at a party a week ago. What’s a stinky, oily, tiki lamp doing on the balcony of a San Francisco building? If I once knew the answer to that question, I don’t remember it now.

I find a lot of things in my photographs that I don’t remember. That’s really about the only thing that makes them the least bit interesting.

22 July 2000
I make most of my discoveries inadvertently. For example, I accidentally stumbled across the word eudemonism, or eudaemonism: “A system of ethics that evaluates actions in terms of their capacity to produce happiness.”

What a great word! After my discovery, I decided that I was certainly a eudaemonist. And then I reconsidered after recalling an observation by William James: “If merely ‘feeling good’ could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.”

There’s certainly more to life than eudaemonism. But until I find what that is, I’m a eudaemonist!

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©2000 David Glenn Rinehart