2001 Notebook: Weak XIX
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7 May 2001
Bread and Butter Nudes Revisited
Three years ago, I came up with an idea for a series of photographs called Bread and Butter Nudes. The work was intended to be an atypical—for me, that is—commercial enterprise. As I predicted at the time, buttery bodies and phallic baguettes should walk off the shelves!

Of course, I never made those photographs for the usual reason, sloth. In fact, merely coming up with the title of the work may have constituted the completion of the work. (Conceptual art is a slippery, slippery slope indeed.)

And then there’s the commercial consideration: who needs money?

And finally, I haven’t met the right model for the project. That may be a corollary to sloth, since I have yet to ask any of my friends if she’d like to pose for some high-cholesterol nude photographs. It’s just one of those questions that rarely comes up in casual conversation.

I was reminded of my procrastination through the thoughtful intervention of Land o’ Lakes Butter, an agribusiness corporation that published a huge billboard advertisement near my laboratory showing an attractive young woman with dripping butter.

How considerate!

I shall use certainly use LoL butter when and if should I ever get around to making Bread and Butter Nudes.

8 May 2001
Yet Another Case Against Television
Thad maintains that watching television is a complete waste of time.

“When you’re doing nothing,” Thad theorized, “then at least you’re doing something.”

On one level, Thad’s argument is not unlike positing Adolph Hitler, Pol Pot, and Ronald Reagan weren’t very compassionate politicians. Still, I’m impressed. Anyone who can introduce the concept of “less than nothing” into a discussion of popular culture is steering the debate in the right direction.

9 May 2001
A Slow Death by Comfort
I tried listening to a radio interview with the actor Colin Firth, but the discussion wasn’t very interesting for me. The interviewer and the actor talked at length about a number of popular films I’ve never seen.

And then the actor delivered a brilliant non-sequitur when he said his father died “a slow death by comfort.”

What a line!

I love my radio!

10 May 2001
How to Use a View Camera
Jacques just made two big mistakes. First, he bought a view camera. (In 2001?!) And then he asked me how to use it.

Fortunately for Jacques and me, view cameras are easy to use. All I needed to do was repeat what my late mentor Wayne Brill told me soon after I bought my first view camera.

“What do I do now?” I asked.

He pointed out that this knob did this, and this knob did that, and that this moved this way, and that this moves that way, and so on.

“What do I do now?” I asked.

“Just move everything until things look right,” he explained. And that was that.

And that’s how to use a view camera.

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11 May 2001
Wiffle Ball Anomaly
It’s Friday in San Francisco, and that means it’s time for another wiffle ball game. In practice, that means breaking into (onto?) a San Francisco rooftop. (It’s usually not hard to break into/onto a rooftop, since there’s nothing there to steal.)

Our team was trailing behind the Red Herring Demons, an anomaly we attributed to our opponents’ connections with the underworld.

But then our left linebacker Erik shared, “my vision of the game, as dictated from above.”

It turns out that “voices” had told Erik to swing his mighty bat, “with all force, at the third opportunity, at, again, the third opportunity.”

And when Erik did just that, he hit a grand-slam home run that vanquished our evil foes.


It wasn’t until I’d concluded hours of celebratory libations that I developed my film from the game and discovered empirical evidence of alien spacecraft that was apparently controlling young Erik.

Wiffle ball is a great game, any way you slice it.

12 May 2001
Thanks for All the Fish
Douglas Noel Adams died of a heart attack yesterday while exercising at a gymnasium.

Age forty-nine. (For anyone reading this who may be, for whatever reason, under the age of forty-nine, forty-nine is too young to die. So there.)

Douglas Noel Adams seemed like an extraordinarily perceptive, smart, and creative hombre. Beats me why he’d waste any of his finite heartbeats in a gym. I guess the cautionary tale of Florence Griffith Joyner was one that he didn’t read.

So it goes.

13 May 2001
Sutter Street Fireworks
Julian asked me what I was doing. I thought it was fairly obvious that I was throwing wads of paper out of a fourth-story window in order to see if I could toss one through the sunroof of a car speeding up Sutter Street. Why else would anyone throw wads of paper out of a fourth-story window on Sutter street?

Julian again asked me what I as doing. If Julian couldn’t figure out the obvious nature of my mission, I wasn’t going to tell him.

“I fear the enemy may already have launched air-to-air missiles against our forces,” I lied. “I’m throwing out bits of paper in order to baffle our foes’ radar.”

Julian nodded, and that was that.

14 May 2001
The Actors’ Welcome Silence
Actors aren’t my friends, but that almost goes without saying. After all, when’s the last time an actor ever bought anyone a drink?

Well, it turns out that actors aren’t completely useless after all. I have proof.

Listen to an American radio station’s broadcast over the public airwaves, then listen to that same station’s Internet transmission. And then, as Ms. Elber was overly fond of advising, contrast and compare.

Both broadcasts feature equally spineless and predicable music, but there’s something missing from the Internet version: advertisements. And for that we can thank the actors.

Union actors negotiated new contracts that provide them with much higher payments—perhaps three hundred percent more—should their voiceovers appear on the Internet in addition to the normal radio broadcasts. That’s why broadcasters have all but banned radio advertisements from the Internet.

My hat’s off to actors for once, and perhaps forever.

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©2001 David Glenn Rinehart