2005 Notebook: Weak VII
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12 February 2005
No. 6,573 (cartoon)
You have no idea.

That’s better than the wrong idea.

13 February 2005
Agnes Drimes’ Legacy
Agnes Drimes was, by most accounts, a visionary woman for her time. And now, she’s dead.

With the benefit of historical perspective, her surviving contemporaries have identified her lasting influence on contemporary culture. According to most recent articles by her peers, Drimes is now regarded as misguided, irrelevant, and annoyingly quaint.

There’s a moral to this story, of course, and the moral is this: never trust one’s peers.

14 February 2005
Another Artificial Hollowday
It’s Valentine’s day, one of those artificial “holidays” created by a consortium of corporations peddling greeting cards, sedatives, chocolate, razor blades, that sort of thing.

And speaking of unrealistic hope and misery, Violet confided that she’s attracted to Willem.

“Does he know?” I asked.

“He damn well should,” Violet replied.

“Why don’t you tell him?” I suggested. “Better yet, why not pounce on him?”

“I never saw no egg chase a sperm,” Violet sniffed dismissively.

Love is in the air, but it’s mostly artificial.

15 February 2005
False Drug Holiday
A friend from Angel Falls, Georgia, flew into town today on his private jet, then picked me up at my lab in a hired limousine. I thought it was a silly way to get around town, but he didn’t ask my opinion about transportation. Since I spend much of my time in San Francisco, he did, however, ask for directions.

“Where do we go to get drug stuff?” he asked.

“I hope you’re not feeling ill?” I replied.

“Nah,” he said. “I’m looking for a nice bong, and maybe a little hash pipe.”

“Um, aren’t you little old for that sort of thing?” I tactfully suggested. “I mean, did you lose the paraphernalia you had in high school?”

“I went to business school, not high school,” he said disdainfully.

I took him to a seedy shop on Market Street, where we had to walk through a throng of destitute, drugged, and drunk people in order to get into the store.

He ended up spending over a hundred dollars on silly, drug-related nonsense. And then we waded back through the the pitiful, lost people and hopped into the waiting limousine.

I said goodbye when we arrived at his hotel after I lied about a fictitious appointment.

I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t honest enough to tell him that drugs and money bore me.

16 February 2005
Interactive Urinals, Finally
Through a strange twist of circumstances, I’ve been eating lunch at a ridiculously expensive Chinese restaurant, courtesy of a dear and wealthy friend. For me, the highlight of this purportedly gastronomic foray is the toilet, notably the urinals. For reasons known only to the inscrutable proprietors, the urinals are filled with ice cubes. Soddenly, urination is fun and—dare I say it—interactive. I urinate, the ice melts, and that’s art!

I’m thinking of San Francisco’s Exploratorium, where I had a disappointing toilet experience. It seems very sad that a Chinese restaurant has more aesthetically pleasing urinals that a temple of high technology. On the other hand, I suppose that’s the beauty of San Francisco, where aesthetic innovations aren’t institutionalized.

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17 February 2005
Wayne’s Dubious Advice
Wayne Brill, my late photography teacher, gave me lots of advice on photography when I was a teenager.

“If you’re stuck,” he counseled, “buy a new lens. If you’re still stuck, get a new camera.”

I thought of Wayne as I was organizing and cleaning twenty-some cameras for sale. Wayne was a great man and a good teacher, but his advice on getting lots of hardware didn’t serve me well. (In fairness, I should point out that he gave me a perfect lesson on how to use a view camera.)

I’m looking forward to having just two cameras again. (The second one’s there in case the first one breaks.)

18 February 2005
Beasts, Breasts, and Barristers
Many years ago I worked with a nonprofit organization working on interspecies communication. I heard some incredible stories, none of which I’ll repeat. After the mayonnaise and cucumber incident, suffice it to say that I wasn’t surprised when I came across a bizarre story in the morning news.

    Two former employees of the Gorilla Foundation, home to Koko the “talking” ape, have filed a lawsuit contending that they were ordered to bond with the 33-year-old female simian by displaying their breasts.

Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller both gave the same reason that they were fired: “I refused to expose my breast to perform acts of bestiality with one of the gorillas.”

Thirty-some years behind bars can do strange things to a primate, so I’m reserving judgment until I hear Koko’s side of the story.

19 February 2005
Automated Mummification
A dominatrix friend of mine informs me that her customers will pay her five hundred dollars to tightly encase them in plastic film, then abuse them. (I’m not sure if “abuse” is the right word; I’m unfamiliar with masochism and sadism.) It looks like her job, like so many others, may be replaced to some degree by automation.

The Olympian—a Washington newspaper—reports that Judy Arnold, a local coroner, is buying a new machine. The device automatically wraps human bodies in plastic cocoons, allowing emergency workers to efficiently deal with a major disaster. Just the thing for an anthrax attack, I suppose.

My dominatrix friend isn’t worried about the competition, though. The masses will always choose soulless mass production, but there’s always a select audience that appreciates art and craft.

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart