2002 Notebook: Weak XXXVIII
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18September 2002
No. 6,554 (cartoon)
I’m afraid that this may be the last chance.

Why do you keep repeating that?

19 September 2002
Let Jag
3:37 Woke up, can’t go back to sleep.

4:11 Still awake.

4:53 Still awake.

5:26 Got up, made coffee.

6:11 Can’t write.

6:49 Still can’t write.

7:41 Never could write.

8:00 Game over. Concede day to jet lag.

8:01 Command and conquer!

20 September 2002
Inflatable Beer
Edward tells me I simply must try inflatable beer, a popular new English concoction. I’m not so sure; real beer has served me very well for three decades.

After a rudimentary investigation, I discovered that inflatable beer is merely a mildly hallucinogenic gas of little interest.

21 September 2002
Not Enough Silence
When a famous artist dies, a horde of lawyers and accountants usually have a feeding frenzy off the remains. Such a congregation of parasites and vultures are usually referred to by a polite, antiseptic name such as “trust” or “estate.”

I’m glad that the commercial fat of my aesthetic carcass won’t provide so much as a snack for these mercenary vermin, for the greedy opportunists almost always insult the legacy they claim to preserve.

Take John Cage and Mike Batt, for example. John Cage was a wonderful artist. I declined his invitation to go morel hunting when I was in high school; that’s one of the few regrets I have from a wonderful life. I remembered Cage when I made 4’33” in the Life of a Camel Cigarette, an obvious reference to his piece comprised of two hundred and seventy-three seconds of silence, 4’33”.

Cage died a decade ago, but Mike Batt is still very much alive. Recently, Batt received a letter from Cage’s music publishers.

“They say they are claiming copyright on a piece of mine called One Minute’s Silence on the Planets’ [Batt’s ensemble] album,” Batt said, “which I credit Batt/Cage just for a laugh. But my silence is original silence, not a quotation from his silence.”

The people purporting to protect the composer’s legacy would have done better by employing one of Cage’s approaches: “I have nothing to say, I am saying it, and that is poetry.”

Batt, by virtue of being alive, has the last word. “Mine is a much better silent piece. I’m able to say in one minute what took Cage four minutes and thirty-three seconds.”

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22 September 2002
Welcome to Scotland!
After returning to Scotland, I suddenly remembered everything I enjoy about this country.
  1. Islay whisky.
  2. Scottish accents.
  3. The Dickensian smell of coal smoke on a dark grey afternoon.
  4. It’s not England.

This fine country merits a number of additional accolades; perhaps I’ll find them in a few dozen drams.

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23 September 2002
The Problem With Nudity
The problem with nudity is simply this: nudity leaves nothing to the imagination.

The Highland hills near Loch Cluanie reminded me of this unfortunate phenomenon. I hiked to the top of An Socach and had a clear, panoramic view of the surrounding hills. I could see everything except trees, for there were no trees. (Well, I may have seen one or two, but not many more.) As a result of the hills’ nudity, I knew I wouldn’t find any hidden lakes, intimate canyons, secluded streams, et cetera.

There’s nothing to imagine, not even the rutting deer I hear in the distance. I can see them on the barren hillside, a couple of kilometers away.

Nudity denies any possibility that what’s in front of our eyes may be exactly what we want to see. Nudity is hopeless.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart