2006 Notebook: Weak LII
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24 December 2006
No. 3,176 (cartoon)
I’m enjoying the holiday spirit.

Gin or vodka?

25 December 2006
James Brown’s Deathday
The hardest working man in show business stopped working today; James Brown died just after midnight.

Brown is hard to like because of his misogyny, but almost impossible not to admire because of his music. He’s one of the few musicians I know who do, er, did, their best work on stage rather than in a recording studio. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see him perform; even in his late sixties he had more pep in his step than I ever had.

I also appreciated his pragmatic approach to music. This afternoon, I listened to an interview where Brown was asked if the musicians in his band fought with him when he introduced unusual approaches to syncopation. I’m too lazy to find the transcript of his response, but it was something like this: “Hell no. I was paying them, and they did what I told them to do.”

That’s my kind of artist! Super bad!

From now on, I will be able to ignore Christmas, since I’ve renamed 25 December as James Brown’s Deathday.

26 December 2006
Gerald Ford’s Fine Obituary
Gerald Ford, the American milquetoast president, died today. Commentators had a hard time finding much to say, since Ford didn’t do much. Given recent presidential debacles, inactivity in the executive branch seems like a virtue.

My favorite eulogy came from an anonymous radio newsreader, who reported, “Gerald Ford will be remembered for who he was rather than what he accomplished.”

I can’t imagine a finer obituary.

27 December 2006
LAX Security
Having recently written about frozen and microwaved babies, I think it’s about time to address an oversight: irradiated babies. And that takes us to Los Angeles, where a traveler put her one-month old grandson through an airport x-ray machine a few days ago.

And what about the idiots operating the x-ray machine? That would be the TSA workers. Officially, the acronym TSA stands for Transportation Safety Agency, but anyone who’s been in an American airport recently knows that’s not right. Some of my learned friends believe TSA stands for Twits Standing Around, others argue persuasively that the acronym stands for Taking Scissors Away.

Perhaps said learned friends have been too harsh. After all, it’s been eight years since the last time a baby was irradiated at LAX.

28 December 2006
Simon Wiesenthal Is Not Mormon
Those wacky Mormons are at it again! The zany zealots who brought us fornication pants are trying to marry off Simon Wiesenthal. Two problems, though: the famed Nazi hunter is Jewish, and he’s dead.

Actually, that’s not a problem for the Mormons; they arrange marriages between cadavers so as to expand their numbers in heaven. And it’s not a problem that Wiesenthal is Jewish, either, since he’d be a Mormon after his curious marriage.

After Jewish organizations raised a major stink, the Mormons deleted Wiesenthal from their genealogy database. I bet the Mormon yentas will be back; they’re as tenacious as they are crazy.

29 December 2006
Don’t Emulate?
I’m helping Eric move to his new home, which is proving to be rather arduous in that Eric collects musical instruments. Very heavy musical instruments, at that.

As I was was hefting a large, boxed, amplifier down the stairs, I took a break and examined the text—a registered trademark—on the Fender amplifier cardboard box: Innovate ... Don’t Emulate.

I initially liked the trademarked phrase, but soon changed my mind. Anyone with a modicum of talent wouldn’t admonish anyone not to emulate. I am reminded of William Huff’s observation in Metamagical Themas.

    “Students came to know many of his [Louis Kahn, American architect, 1901-1974] ways, and some of the best could imitate him rather well (although not perfectly). But as Kahn himself developed, he constantly brought in new principles that brought new transformations to his work; and he even occasionally discarded an old rule. Consequently, he was always several steps ahead of his imitators who knew what he was but couldn’t imagine what he will be.”

Perhaps the Fender Corporation shouldn’t worry. Or, perhaps, it should.

30 December 2006
2006 Rolls of Honour
Earlier this year, I moved to my San Francisco fort. Unlike any other place I’ve lived in the last two decades, my new base required that I provide toilet paper for my studio.

I was shocked.

Life among the Philistines is hard enough, but the ignominy of actually having to buy toilet paper is completely absurd. And that’s why I came up with a new art work, Rolls of Honour. (I used the British spelling to make the idea seem slightly less stupid than it is.)

And so, these are the institutions, businesses, and organizations that have provided me with free toilet paper—albeit passively by virtue of leaving their janitorial supply rooms unlocked—this year. (Unless otherwise noted, all the businesses were based in San Francisco, California.)

Arts Explosion
Bodega Bistro
Clift Hotel
General Quarters
Hosteling International
Hyatt (San Jose)
La Calaca Loca (Oakland)
Last Gasp Comics
Litke Properties
Rainbow Grocery
San Francisco Art Institute
Westin St. Francis
Workspace Limited

31 December 2006
2006 (Yawn)
Well, here we are, er, here I am, at the end of another calendar year. I suppose I could make a number of clever—if not insightful—remarks about 2006, but ...

But, I woke up late, it’s time for the first of many new year’s eve parties, and I need a drink and a shower. And so, I will succinctly summarize my observations about 2006: it happened.

Having said that, I’ve off to celebrate—to excess, of course—an unremarkable year.

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart