2004 Notebook: Weak XXV
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18 June 2004
No. 3,375 (cartoon)
That was very kind.

That was pure desperation.

19 June 2004
All Nippon Airways Flight 0008
Jet at the bottom of ocean. Decomposition, crew in motion.

20 June 2004
Widely Unknown
I was in a good-humored mood at Anastasia’s party, so when some woman asked me what I did, I didn’t reply “about what?” Instead, I just gave her my name and told her that I was an artist.

“I’m sorry,” she replied a bit nervously, “but I don’t believe I’m familiar with your work.”

“You wouldn’t be,” I responded, “I’m widely unknown.”

She seemed relieved as she walked away.

21 June 2004
Innovative New Con
When Deborah gave me her new business card, I noticed she’d added “Inc.” after her name. Since I don’t know much about business, I asked her why she decided to incorporate.

“I didn’t,” she replied, “look again.”

I did, and saw she’d printed “I.N.C.” instead of “Inc.” Deborah explained that the letters were an abbreviation of Innovative New Concepts. Although I didn’t think much of the name, I appreciated the way she cleverly misleads unobservant people like me.

22 June 2004
I went to Ryan’s opening tonight (excellent salmon and wine!), and ended up chatting with a painter who teaches at a local art school. Inevitably, she asked me about my academic background. I politely avoided referring to her “school” a diploma factory, and just said that I didn’t think art could be taught.

“Of course you can’t teach someone to be an artist,” she replied, “we don’t even try.”

“Then what’s the point?” I asked.

“We don’t educate,” she explained, “we credential.”

Tonight was the first time in my life I understood why art schools exist. I know this is an immature, juvenile attitude, but I’m proud to be uncredentialed.

23 June 2004
Mo’ Ron Memorials
This is the third week of Ronald Reagan’s death show with no end in sight. His Republican minders have been shipping his emaciated cadaver back and forth from sea to shining sea for his last tour. My embalmer friends assure me that, by now, his mangy corpse has to be a repulsive soup of decaying flesh, formaldehyde, and broken, brittle bones.

Meanwhile, the government keeps coming up with innovative new tributes. In honor of the moron who almost bankrupted the country, the U.S. government went another seventy-eight jazillion dollars in debt. And, in a nod to Reagan’s classification of ketchup as a vegetable, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ruled in favor of the Frozen Potato Products Institute and decreed that frozen batter-coated French fries are legally fresh vegetables.

I hope they stick that idiot in the ground soon before he inspires even more lunacy.

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24 June 2004
Drink and Create
I saw a large sign outside of the City Lights book store this afternoon advising, “Don’t drink and drive; drink and read.” I thought this was bad advice.

I wonder why Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the proprietor—who’s also a prolific writer and painter—didn’t suggest, “Drink and create.” That may or may or not be because people who are busy creating aren’t busy consuming.

25 June 2004
Blue Light Special
I’ve been to Japan, and so I know that their traffic lights are more or less like the ones I’ve seen in other western countries. Everyone in Japan recognizes the familiar three colors: red, yellow, and green. I mention this banal fact to explain what happened with Yoshio this afternoon.

I was driving with Yoshio, and we were stopped at a traffic light in Pacifica.

“It’s blue,” he said.

“What’s blue?” I asked.

“Go!” Yoshio exclaimed. “It’s blue!”

After I started driving again, I asked him what in the hell he was talking about. Yoshio went on to explain that, for reasons no one understands, Japanese people call the green light the blue light. I pressed him for an explanation, but he insisted—convincingly—that there was none.

Perfectly inscrutable!

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart