2002 Notebook: Weak XLIII
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15 October 2002
No. 6,366 (cartoon)
The black squares remind me of Mondrian or Reinhardt.

Repeat? Subtract?

Everyone has a formula.

23 October 2002
Hunting Humans
Someone’s shooting people in the United States. That’s not news; gun-loving Americans are always shooting each other. What’s news is that this killer is hunting people.

It must be strange to be hunted. Even though humans have been at the top of the food chain for a very long time, I suspect it wouldn’t be too hard to remember what it’s like to be prey.

As an omnivore, I don’t have a moral problem with hunting. I do, however, despise bad hunters. The idiots who are picking off people on the east coast of the United States are, without a doubt, very bad hunters. After all, the first rule of hunting is this: eat what you kill.

24 October 2002
Talent Attack!
Branford Marsalis has a brilliant description of tedious musical performances: talent attacks. Thanks to Marsalis, I now know what to call a display of technical virtuosity bereft of any soul or passion.

I’ve been subjected to uninspired talent attacks for years. And, although I’ve committed myriad sins under the pretext of art, at least I’ve never inflicted a talent attack on anyone.

I can’t; I’m unarmed.

Grady T. Turner could have been talking about me when he wrote, “[Homer] Simpson took note of the medium that pop culture reserves for the truly talentless: conceptual art.”

25 October 2002
We’ll Never Have That Recipe Again
I just read that Richard Harris died. I skimmed the obituary to see if I’d seen any of his performances. I hadn’t.

Harris claimed that he didn’t care about how he was remembered. “I’m not interested in reputation or immortality or things like that,” he said. “I genuinely don’t care.”

That’s good, because I’ll always remember Harris as the person who recorded one of the worst songs of the twentieth century, Jimmy Webb’s MacArthur Park. I can’t believe Harris could sing lines like “In love’s hot, fevered iron, like a striped pair of pants,” or “Someone left the cake out in the rain, I don’t think that I can take it, ’cause it took so long to bake it,” but he did. And who could forget his dramatic climax in a shrill falsetto? I can’t, but I wish I could.

According to his obituary, he was blackmailed into acting in the Harry Potter movie. His eleven-year old niece threatened to never speak to him again unless he took the part, and he caved. He must have been a nice guy.

26 October 2002
Bad Concepts and/or Bad Art?
When I ran into Larry at the party last night, he asked me what I’d been doing.

“Art, mostly,” I replied.

“What kind of art?” he inquired.

“Bad conceptual art,” I said.

“Bad concepts or bad art?” Larry asked.

What a brilliant and obvious question! I wonder why no one ever asked that before?

27 October 2002
Losing Quietly
San Francisco’s baseball team lost the “world” series tonight, and I’m glad. That’s because San Francisco’s sports aficionados are ugly winners.

Although I don’t believe San Francisco’s baseball team has ever won the North American championship, the San Francisco football team won several similar contests in the eighties. On those occasions, the team’s fans showed their appreciation by rioting.

Tonight, San Francisco baseball lovers are quietly mumbling in their beer, not smashing windows and making a nuisance of themselves. It’s a pleasant night in a city of gracious losers.

28 October 2002
More on the Third Meaning of Life
When I tell folks about the three meanings of life, some people have difficulty appreciating Kurt Vonnegut’s observation, “Listen: We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anyone tell you any different!”

I don’t know why Vonnegut’s wisdom isn’t obvious to everyone, but some people just work too hard and take themselves too seriously.

I was delighted to come across a remark by John Lennon I shall use to explain Vonnegut’s remark should the need arise. “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”

29 October 2002
No More Underwear from the Heart
Poor Tom Jones.

I just read that the aging crooner is complaining that the quality of his audiences has declined precipitously. (I suppose his audiences might say the same about him, but that’s just uninformed conjecture.)

Anyway, here’s the problem: clean underwear. Most people don’t have a problem with clean underwear, but then most people aren’t Tom Jones. It seems that in days of yore, young women would be so moved by Tom’s performances that they’d pull off their knickers and throw them at the stage.

Well, the women in Tom’s audiences aren’t that young any more, but they’re still throwing underwear at the performer. Now here’s the problem: the underwear is clean underwear, fresh from the laundry.

“The whole thing was authentic,” laments Tom, “but nowadays they bring along a plastic bag with their underwear in it. It has nothing to do with enthusiasm any more.”

I suppose the complete soullessness of clean underwear brings on a sense of emptiness for everyone at some time, but Tom seems atypically upset.

“I actually take it as an insult,” Tom admits. “I give it my all on stage because I want to fill the crowd with enthusiasm—but that which comes from the heart and not out of a plastic bag.”

Poor Tom Jones.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart