2005 Notebook: Weak XXIX
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17 July 2005
No. 6,760 (cartoon)
I’m my own worst enemy.

Not when I’m around.

18 July 2005
It’s Called Acting
Stewart told me that the late Mel Blanc, who provided Bugs Bunny’s inimitable voice for decades, was allergic to carrots. Stewart found that bit of news very interesting and ironic; I did not.

For example, my so-called friend Richard E. Grant doesn’t drink alcohol, yet he can play a very convincing drunk in front of the camera.

It’s called acting; what’s so strange about that?

19 July 2005
Sick Scouts
Everyone’s heard stories about perverted priests and boy scout leaders who take unspeakable advantage of children. Based on the statistics I’ve heard, such incidents are rather rare.

And so it was that I was shocked to learn that Bernie—the son of friend—was recently abused by a scout leader at summer camp. The scoutmaster—I’ll call him Mr. Zimmerman, since that’s his name—invited Bernie to the fire one night for “a boy scout burrito.” The sick old man then told Bernie to wrap a candy bar and marshmallows in a flour tortilla, then encase the concoction in foil and put in the fire. Bernie, who’s not quite old enough to know better, ate the so-called burrito in front of the perfidious “guardian.” I can’t imagine what depraved pleasure Mr. Zimmerman took in the degrading spectacle that possibly warped poor Bernie for life vis-à-vis burritos.

I was tempted to tell Bernie to report the incident to the appropriate authorities; I’m sure Bernie was neither the first nor the last juvenile to be subjected to such shameful abasement. On the other hand, I didn’t want to force Bernie to relive that horrific evening, or suffer the inevitable shame and embarrassment of eating “a boy scout burrito.” If not handled properly, the pain of such a scandal can haunt a person for life.

Rather than dwell on the unfortunate past, I instead told Bernie about the pleasures that awaited him when he had mature, healthy interactions with real burritos filed with rice and beans and avocados and salsa, not some horrific candy and marshmallow perversion of a burrito.

20 July 2005
To Flint and Back
One of my friends in Buffalo was skeptical of my theory that the way to appreciate one locale is to go to one that’s demonstrably less pleasant. And so it was that Dr. Uebbing and I drove some four hundred and fifty kilometers to visit my mother in Flint, Michigan.

Flint was exactly as I remembered it: wretchedly depressed, run down, decayed to the point of civic exhaustion, completely hopeless, and thoroughly miserable. And, as I noted before, all the things there I vaguely remembered have long since been destroyed and replaced with parking lots, mostly.

On a positive note, we had a delightful visit with my mother, and spent a couple days debating the difference—if any—between black raspberries and blackberries. We could, of course, have quickly answered the question after a bit of research, but chose not to. After all, entertainment in Flint is hard to come by.

We stopped at Angelo’s Coney Island No. 3 on the way out of town, a surreally ghastly greasy spoon diner that was indeed rich in grease. We didn’t need to eat until we arrived back in Buffalo, which, after a bit of time in Flint, felt like a prosperous and progressive cosmopolitan city.

The experiment indeed worked!

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21 July 2005
Dogmeat Alarm Clock
Matthew has a dogmeat alarm clock named Smelly Ben. Actually, “Smelly Ben” is my nickname for the miserable canine; I use it to distinguish the beast from Big Ben, a proper clock.

When the night sky shows the first hint of dawn, Smelly Ben the dogmeat alarm literally leaps into action, bumping into and scraping at every closed bedroom door. The unfortunate cur augments his wakeup routine by barking, moaning, whining, howling, and otherwise making an aural nuisance of himself. In fairness, I should also point out that he exhibits the same behavior when he’s excited, scared, bored, confused, or expressing his almost constant desire to urinate and defecate.

Personally, I prefer a feline alarm clock; it’s so much more pleasant to be dragged out of unconsciousness by finding a cat on my face or feeling a few claws planted firmly—and silently—in my abdomen. Still, as mongrels go, Smelly Ben’s not such a bad dogmeat alarm clock.

22 July 2005
The Con in Contemporary
I was walking in downtown Buffalo when I stopped in a gallery to see dozens of Josh Dorman’s paintings. I thought Dorman did very good work, but by opinion may have been favorably affected by the name of the venue: Hallwalls (Con) Temporary Arts Center.

What a great name for an exhibition space! Although it’s been decades since I thought of showing my work in a traditional setting, Hallwalls has a certain appeal to me, since I still think of myself as someone who’s put the “con” back into “conceptual art.”

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart