2005 Notebook: Weak XXXIII
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13 August 2005
No. 1,601 (cartoon)
Did you miss me?

I never tried to hit you, so how could I miss you?

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14 August 2005
Punk Rock Saved Her Life
Since a steady diet of self-indulgence isn’t a balanced diet, I like to help friends out with their projects. And that’s one of the reasons I volunteer for Binky, a musical ensemble that comprises four lovely and talented women with whom it’s a pleasure to work. I’d like to think they keep me around because I make great photographs of them, which is easy to do in that they’re all objectively attractive. I suspect the real reason they like me, though, is that I move their heavy amplifiers and speakers to and from their performances.

Today I helped them with a rare afternoon outdoor show in the heart of San Francisco’s consumerism district. Surrounded by stores catering to affluenza sufferers with junk like twenty-thousand dollar watches and platinum trash cans, Binky put on a show for shoppers and tourists. (Someone somewhere may have erred, the Sunday afternoon concert series usually features milquetoast jazz bands.)

Their aural assault scared off half the audience before they blasted through their first song. Still, that left a couple hundred people for the rest of the performance. Halfway through the love song “I Want You (Under My Car),” a cheerful old woman leaned over and told me in a loud, raspy voice, “Punk rock saved my life.”

I couldn’t tell if the woman had lived through fifty years of drug and alcohol abuse or eighty less demanding years. In any case, it appeared that time had not been kind to her.

“Never hurts to have a booster shot!” I agreed before I returned to hiding behind my camera.

15 August 2005
On Passing Out
Buzz emailed me an excerpt from a magazine article that I gleefully read to Emily.

    Keith Richards, sixty-one, wears a tattered scarf around his head, and random charms—an eagle head, a cross, a Chinese coin—hanging from his matted quasi dreads. He says he has no idea what-all is in his hair: his kids and friends like to decorate him while he’s passed out.

“Looks like you and Keef have the same philosophy,” Emily said.

“What are you talking about?” I asked. “I haven’t passed out in at least a month, probably more like two or three.”

“No,” Emily continued, “I was thinking about your remark, that, since you’re only young once, you should make it last a good eight decades or so.”

“I don’t think I ever said that,” I replied.

“I’m not surprised you don’t remember,” Emily concluded, “It was the last thing you muttered before you passed out.”

That may or may not be true. What I can say with certainty, though, is that I have no objects of unknown provenance in my hair.

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16 August 2005
Every Pixel of the Sky Faked
Conrad caught me photographing the sky from the roof of the lab, then posed the obvious question.

“David,” Conrad began, “aren’t clouds a young person’s game?”

“I shouldn’t dignify that with a reply,” I replied, “but I’m working in another arena.”

“Conrad, have you ever seen a combination of a nascent fog bank as well as those puffy cirro-strato-whatever clouds?” I continued.

“Now that you mention it, I guess I haven’t,” Conrad said squinting into the late afternoon sky.

I went on to explain to Conrad that I would use the photographs as proof of my digital imaging prowess; I’d claim I created every pixel of the unlikely sky in my computer.

Conrad seemed suitably impressed, but that’s just because Conrad’s not really all that smart. Stupid tricks don’t impress intelligent people; that’s probably why I like them so much. (Stupid tricks, that is.)

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17 August 2005
Duct-taped Toothpaste
I just dropped in for a visit at Clint’s place; it’s the first time I’ve seen him since his uncle Joe-Bob, the trucking magnate, died and left Clint a few million dollars. I was delighted to accept his invitation to visit Clint’s new home in the country that he bought with the windfall.

“This place is great, Clint,” I said, “but there’s one thing I don’t get. Why is there duct tape on the toothpaste tube in the bathroom?”

“Charletta twisted the damn thing the wrong way when it was almost full and it cracked,” Clint explained. “And anyhow, for a poor boy from Kentucky, there’s just something not right about a room without duct tape.”

Unlike most of my friends with too much money, Clint seems not to have been adversely affected by his financial wealth.

18 August 2005
The Truth About Braniff
“Do you lie all the time, or just constantly?”

That’s how Edith Moruse of Castor Plains, Utah, started off her letter to me. She went on to say that I couldn’t have possibly flown on Braniff recently, since the airline went out of business in 1982.

It’s true that Edith Moruse can’t fly Braniff any more, but I can. Joey Braniff, the heir to the immense Braniff fortune, has a private jet customized for long-haul flights that he provides to artists. And here’s the best part: it’s free. That’s what I call a patron of the arts!

Joey likes artists, and artists like Joey. It’s simple, really.

Once or twice a year I get a note from a cracker who’s discovered the CAD model of Joey’s jet I have encrypted in my Internet site’s source code. For a more obvious example, every episode of South Park has a Braniff bumper (sponsorship acknowledgment) at the end of each gripping episode.

It’s like Joey told me while we were passing over the Tetons in a massive storm, “If you’re not flying high, you’re not really flying at all.”

19 August 2005
Diet Conundrum
I gladly accepted Molly’s invitation to dinner at her place. Molly’s a great cook, and a free dinner is, after all, a free dinner.

Of course, there’s really no such thing as a free dinner, and so it was that I ended up accompanying Molly for a couple of hours while she shopped for organic food. That was fine, but I became completely confused when Molly made a special trip to pick up a box of Hostess Twinkies for dessert.

“Molly,” I asked rhetorically, “do you know what the recipe is for the filling in those little chemical droppings? I do; it’s half white sugar and half lard.”

“It’s the old Twinkies debate,” Molly sighed, “Everything’s part of a holistic approach to diet; the Twinkies are the yang to the organic arugula’s yin.”

Food chemistry never makes sense to me. Why can’t people eat a simple, sensible, balanced meal like a burrito and a few pints of Rainier Ale and get on with life?

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart