2004 Notebook: Weak VIII
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20 February 2004
No. 6,131 (cartoon)
Will you ever forgive me?

Will you ever change?

21 February 2004
Going Downhill Fast
I just got in from my favorite Edinburgh pub, where I enjoyed quite a bit of ale during a long and heated debate about how to park a car on a hill. I argued that a car should be parked in reverse if it’s pointed downhill and in first gear at other times; some rowdy Scots disagreed. We carried on for many pints.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have put up with such silliness, but the Scottish accents—one of the four good things about the country—made the debacle worthwhile.

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22 February 2004
Looking a Gift Scotch in the Mouth
I presented Callum with a liter of cheap Scotch when I arrived as a guest at his Edinburgh compound. Being nicely brought up, I always show up with a gift. And, being selfish, I usually show up with something potable.

“Why in the world would you bring a bottle of Scotch whisky back to Scotland from San Francisco?” Callum asked ungraciously.

“I figured I’d be thirsty after traveling eight thousand kilometers,” I replied, “and anyway, thanks to your stupid tax laws, it’s cheaper to buy Scotch in California than it is in Scotland.”

“Aye,” Callum nodded, “but you’re missing something important. The whisky we export is the shite that’s not fit to drink.”

My gift certainly didn’t represent the distiller’s finest hour, but we did manage to empty much of the bottle with a minimum of hesitation.

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23 February 2004
Twin Brick Buildings
I was walking along the North Sea near Dunbar when I spotted the John Muir toilets.

“That’s amazing!” I exclaimed to Angus, “The brick outhouse looks just like the San Francisco Museum of Modern [sic] Art.”

“I bet there’s a lot more shite in your museum than in our wee brick toilet,” Angus replied.

How could I disagree?

24 February 2004
Canned Urination
I’m on the second leg of a circuitous flight from Edinburgh to San Francisco, and a glance at my altimeter tells me it’s time for beer. (As any pilot or astronaut will confirm, it’s time for a beer whenever terra firma is over ten kilometers away.)

“Beer, bitte.” I called out to a passing flight attendant. I always pretend to be German when asking for beer; I’ve found that usually stops people from offering me crap American beer-flavored water.

“I’m sorry,” replied the man pushing the drinks card, “but I only have Budweiser.”

“Not half as sorry as I am,” I said. “In that case, please give me three.”

I poured the anemic fizz into my glass; it looked not unlike the urine of someone who’s been consuming lots of liquids on a transatlantic flight. (That would be me.)

25 February 2004
Overrated Drugs
Some of my artist friends believe drugs and alcohol are catalysts for creative endeavors; some of my other artist friends believe drugs and alcohol are inhibit the creative process. I agree with all my learned friends.

I just found an interesting quote from Stanley Kubrick that provided an interesting perspective on the debate.

    I believe that drugs are basically of more use to the audience than to the artist. I think that the illusion of oneness with the universe, and absorption with the significance of every object in your environment, and the pervasive aura of peace and contentment is not the ideal state for an artist. It tranquilizes the creative personality, which thrives on conflict and on the clash and ferment of ideas. The artist’s transcendence must be within his own work; he should not impose any artificial barriers between himself and the mainspring of his subconscious. One of the things that’s turned me against LSD is that all the people I know who use it have a peculiar inability to distinguish between things that are really interesting and stimulating and things that appear to be so in the state of universal bliss that the drug induces on a “good” trip. They seem to completely lose their critical faculties and disengage themselves from some of the most stimulating areas of life. Perhaps when everything is beautiful, nothing is beautiful.

I think most gallery owners would agree with Kubrick’s premise, “drugs are basically of more use to the audience than to the artist.” Why else would they serve cheap wine at openings?

26 February 2004
Tasting Cheap Wine
I decided to have a little wine tasting party tonight, so I drank a bottle of Charles Shaw Merlot and a bottle of Charles Shaw Shiraz. I thought both of the cheap wines tasted positively yummy.

I can only describe this evening’s wine tasting as an unqualified success, and, at only two dollars a bottle, quite a bargain as well.

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart