2007 Notebook: Weak II
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9 January 2007
No. 4,363 (cartoon)
I’m considering suicide.

Life isn’t for everyone.

10 January 2007
Momofuku Ando
Just as Minerva sprung, fully formed, from Jupiter’s brain, I always thought that dried ramen noodles emerged from the bowels of a Japanese chemical research laboratory. As is so often the case, I was wrong. Like Minerva, it turns out that instant ramen noodles had one parent, Momofuku Ando.

The Japanese—like almost every other nationality and culture on the planet—love ramen, or gakusei ryori (student cuisine). A few years ago a poll in Japan concluded that ramen was considered the greatest Japanese invention of the twentieth century.

Or perhaps not.

Ando was born in Taiwan, so he may or may not be Chinese. Ramen, however, is certainly Chinese; the word comes from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters lo mein, or boiled noodles. But enough about provenance and nationalism.

I wouldn’t have known any of this had not Ando died last Friday; he was ninety-six. Ando’s memory lives on in the metabolisms of the earth’s less affluent as well as in the Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka. I hope to go there one day, although I hear it’s crowded; it understandably attracts more visitors than Japan’s national art museum.

11 January 2007
The Getting to Know You Killer
I was relieved to read in this morning’s news that police have arrested Lara Inglart, the woman who’s been commonly referred to here in San Francisco as the “Getting to Know You Killer.” (Oops, I should have used the word “allegedly” somewhere in the preceding sentence; as always, I’m glad I’m an artist and not a journalist.)

Since August, the Getting to Know You Killer has murdered seventeen people she found interesting in order to read about them in the obituaries. She always follows the same pattern: she uses her sniper rifle to put a .50 caliber bullet through the brain of someone she finds curious. A few days later, after “getting to know” the person she murdered from news reports, she sends her condolences to the police to pass along to the victim’s survivors. Although the contents of these notes have never been published, leaked reports suggest the killer always expresses admiration for her victims, along with regrets for her crime.

Of course, I can’t condone any murder, but I nevertheless have to admit to benefitting from the Getting to Know You Killer. For months, virtually everyone in San Francisco has adopted my disregard for appearance. Everyone on the street looks like they haven’t changed their clothes in a decade. Their hair isn’t coifed, and no one’s shaving. In other words, most people have adopted my (lack of) style.

Now that Inglart’s behind bars, I imagine people will revert to their dandyish attire. Not me, though; I shall continue to let sloth and frugality determine my appearance.

12 January 2007
Totally Doolally!
Penelope told me the Flemish Council of Language Authorities recently passed a series of decrees, “Flemish 2007: Challenge and Response.” For Penelope and other Flanders natives, the FCLA dictates what they can and cannot properly say.

And that’s why I’m glad that English is a sloppy, anarchistic language. As is Hinglish.

Hinglish is a delightful amalgam of Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and English. I’m not familiar with the all the nuances, but my favorite new word is “doolally,” or crazy. (The word comes from Deolali, a town near Mumbai that’s home to a sanatorium.) And then there’s “filmi” (melodramatic) and “glassy” (ready for a drink). Hinglish also has completely useless words, such as “prepone,” the opposite of postpone.

Like, doolally daddio!

13 January 2007
Whipped into Shape in Novosibirsk
Those poor Siberians! First, there’s the dearth of affordable vodka. And even worse, there’s an ostensible alternative.

Russian scientists in Novosibirsk have presented a controversial report, “Methods of Painful Impact to Treat Addictive Behavior.” Here’s the précis: whipping works, since beatings increase one’s endorphins, which diminish suicidal desires, psychosomatic problems, and so on. It turns out that thirty sessions of sixty lashes on the derriere purportedly does the trick.

“The whipping therapy becomes much more efficient when a patients receives the punishment from a person of the opposite sex,” noted Sergei Speransky, adding, “it will take a certain time for the buttocks to heal, of course.”

Personally, I’ll stick with vodka, which is still readily available here in San Francisco.

14 January 2007
The Ram What Am
I like charlatans and frauds, if only because they comprise the majority of the art world’s denizens (including, of course, myself). Anyone can work diligently and tirelessly to achieve a modicum of success, but we mountebanks rely on innovation and creativity rather than mundane toil.

I can’t think of a more classic example of such creative approaches than the snake oil peddled to address the age-old problem of male insecurity in general and erectile dysfunction in particular. After a look at the plethora of email advertisements for various herbal and chemical concoctions for penile enlargement, it would be easy to conclude that such fraudulent remedies are a recent development.

Wrong wrong, and wrong wrong again.

As always, things used to be better in the past. I’m thinking of Dr. John R. Brinkley, who was run out of the United States because of his unashamed quackery. He didn’t run far; he didn’t have to. He merely crossed the border into Mexico, then proceeded to blast his advertisements for “the goat gland proposition” across the states from high-powered Mexican radio transmitters.

Brinkley had a simple proposition: since goats enjoy lots of sex(?), men could only benefit from the implantation of bits of goat genitalia. Now, here’s the best part, Brinkley’s advertising slogan claimed his goat genitalia would make, “any man the ram what am with every lamb.”

I am in awe of such brilliant hyperbolism.

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©2007 David Glenn Rinehart