2001 Notebook: Weak XLIII
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22 October 2001
Nude Bondage Airlines
I’ve had it; I’ve had it up to here. On recent flights, I’ve been subjected to “security measures” that are even more annoying than they are ineffectual. Or maybe the alleged precautions are more ineffectual than they are annoying; I’m still not quite sure.

In any case, I’ve had it; I’ve had it up to here. And what’s more, I’m going to do something about it.

I’m launching a new airline: Nude Bondage Airlines. What could possibly be safer?

At last, I’ve finally come with an idea that has wings, metaphorically and literally.

Fly the NBA way!

23 October 2001
Apocryphal Tales
I believe that all apocryphal tales and “urban myths” are all true, each and every one of them. I have proof.

Many years ago, Hubert told me a story about a flight aboard a Boeing 737 in South Africa. Hubert was flying on a domestic flight on a clear day when he saw something amazing. One of the two pilots was talking to passengers when the other half of the two-person cockpit crew came out to ask a question, or perhaps to deliver a message.

It’s not important to understand why the entire flight crew was outside the cockpit. For the purpose of the story, the only important thing to know is that no one was in the cockpit when the door separating the pilots from their plane’s controls slammed shut.


Hubert, who knows a thing or seventeen about jets, watched in amazement as the hapless pilots tried to pick dozens of locks to re‘nter the cockpit.

They failed. And that’s when one of the pilots grabbed a microphone to address the passengers.

“Er, folks, every so often we need to conduct certain safety exercises,” one of the airline drones drawled, “so there’s no need to be alarmed at what you’re about to see.”

And with that, the pilot used a fire axe to smash through the cockpit door. And that was that.

Many years later, I heard Hubert’s story repeated as an urban myth about a private jet flying over New Jersey. I laughed when I read the “apocryphal” tale; I knew it must have been based on Hubert’s experience. And that’s why I believe that all apocryphal tales and “urban myths” are all true, each and every one of them.

Earlier this year, I ran into Hubert’s partner Pam, and asked her to thank Hubert for providing empirical evidence to support my beliefs.

“Actually,” Pam replied, “Hubert wasn’t on that flight, but a friend of his saw the whole thing ...”

24 October 2001
Recreational Surgery
Pattie is the only surgeon I know.

Last night I had dinner with Pattie, then went back to her place to drink a lovely bottle of spiced Polish vodka.

Pattie asked me if I enjoyed recreational surgery, then she gave me a knowing wink.

I told her I’ve never been interested in recreational surgery, then gave her an unknowing wink.

Damn, those Poles really know how to twist a potato!

25 October 2001
A Wasted Wish?
I was riding around town with Sheila when she asked if I thought we should drop in on Darrin. And then, before I could say that I’d rather be in Detroit, Sheila wheeled into Darrin’s driveway.

I wished that Darrin would be away from home, and I got my wish.

Later, I had second doubts. Although I got my wish that Darrin wasn’t home, I wondered if I might have squandered a wish. Maybe I should have wished for world peace, half-price burritos, or for aliens to abduct Paul Anka.

I’ll guess I’ll never know.

26 October 2001
Safe Florida Drinking Water
In half a decade of keeping this silly notebook, I’ve only had one recurring problem. Every day, I must resist the temptation to repeat Jean Cocteau’s brilliant observation, “Stupidity is always amazing, no matter how used to it you become.”

Today, that phrase comes to mind when reading about an incompetent “investigative journalist” who decided to demonstrate the vulnerability of a local water supply in Florida to contamination with anthrax and/or smallpox and/or whatever.

WTVF reporter Rob Manning demonstrated how easily a person could crawl, unchallenged, under a fence near the city’s “water supply.” The would-be journalist scoffed at the ineptitude of public servants. “A security guard pulled up in his truck,” the erstwhile reporter announced breathlessly, “but didn’t question us.”

One of the government water facility employees wasn’t upset at Manning’s jibes. “After all,” he said, “if a terrorist tried to put something in our water supply, we’d rather he end up at the sewage plant.”

That’s right, the idiot journalist managed to demonstrate that he could introduce toxins into the local the sewage treatment plant.

Stupidity is always amazing, so amazingly amazing.

27 October 2001
Donation Suggestion Declined
The proprietors of Gallery 51CVT request that visitors make a “suggested donation” at the entrance. Normally, I suggest that the gallery make a donation to me, since I’m an artist and the world owes me a living. In this case, though, there wasn’t anyone there with whom to have a learned debate, so I just walked in.

And soon thereafter I walked out. Total meecrog!

Although I was glad that I hadn’t financially contributed to artistic mediocrity, my aesthetic snobbery was mitigated by aesthetic and financial doubt. I wondered what kind of world I would live in if only easily-accessible artworks were readily available?

I didn’t wonder very long. After all, I nominally live in such a mediocre world. That’s why I spend so little time there.

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28 October 2001
Katy’s Exceptional Opening
I was glad to accept Katy’s invitation to her Point Reyes Station opening this afternoon. Even though I wasn’t familiar with her work, I figured someone who was smart and charming would probably have something visually interesting to say.

I was right, as usual. A trip to Point Reyes is almost always a pleasant experience, and I liked Katy’s paintings, even though they were mostly retinal. I only found one trace of amateurism: the food and wine.

Most experienced artists know the formula for opening fare: cardboard crackers, cheese-like plastic food substances, and wine that’s only a few molecules away from vinegar. Since this was Katy’s first significant show, she made the understandable mistake of providing a delicious middle-eastern buffet and some really, really good wine.

Since Katy’s a smart artist, I’m sure she’ll have the confidence to serve inedible food and undrinkable wine at her next opening. And that’s just fine with me; I live on inedible food and delight in undrinkable wine.

Ah, the life of the artist: that’s the life for me!

29 October 2001
Urination Chamber Strategies
I just read that the images of flies silkscreened on Amsterdam toilets are, in fact, functional. It turns out that guys actually aim at the flies, and thus the flies serve as a visual aid for men with poor pointblank targeting skills. Although it sounds like a silly idea, scientists report, “tests show that the device [a picture is a device?!] increases accuracy and reduces messy spillage by as much as eighty percent.”

There are days when I think I might have enjoyed a career in science. Today is not such a day.

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©2001 David Glenn Rinehart