2007 Notebook: Weak XLVI
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12 November 2007
No. 1,013 (cartoon)
What should I do?

Shut up.

13 November 2007
My First Novel
When it comes to “artistic” or “literary” contests, I’ve always agreed with Bela Bartok, who observed, “Competitions are for horses, not artists.”

I try, with varying degrees of success and failure, not to be held hostage by my beliefs. And so, when the announcers on one of my favorite radio programs announced that they were organizing a novel-writing contest, I paid attention to the details.

The broadcasters said they were looking for novels less than thirteen words long, and that they would award no prizes. That’s when I decided to write my first novel; here it is.

    Once upon a time they lived happily ever after. Except, perhaps, her.

I plagiarized most of the novel, but wrote twenty-five percent of it all by myself.

14 November 2007
Mailer’s Mark of Mediocrity
Norman Mailer died a few days ago, and so I’ve been listening to a number of interviews with the late author. I liked Mailer’s observation, “The mark of mediocrity is to look for precedents.” I wonder whether Mailer knew that there were many prior examples of that remark? Oh well, too late to ask him now.

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15 November 2007
Paper Bag Council’s Seal of Approval
After I returned home today, I happened to look at the bottom of my grocery bag and noticed that it bore the Paper Bag Council’s Seal of Approval. The seal featured an image of a paper bag emblazoned with the words, “Strength, Durability, Capacity” along with a little bit of helpful advice: Lift With Both Handles.

Although it’s a handsome seal in a folk-art sort of way, I don’t put much stock in it. I’ve never had a problem with a paper bag, with or without the Paper Bag Council’s Seal of Approval.

16 November 2007
Crashing an Art Institute Party
Doctor Swing and I swung by the San Francisco Art Institute tonight to catch an artist’s lecture. The talk was horrific; the presenter droned on in obtuse academicese while rarely changing the boring image on the screen behind her.

“What now?” I asked Dr. Swing after we escaped to the courtyard.

“I read that there’s supposed to be a reception for some Diego Rivera film here that costs ninety dollars,” she replied. “Let’s crash it.”

We looked at the institution’s cafeteria, and this is what we saw: a huge bar of free drinks at the east end, an expansive smorgasbord at the west end, and no one screening people who walked through the door.

And so we walked into the party, and scarfed down a kilogram of seared yellowfin tuna and a bathtub full of really good wine before we stumbled out.

And that’s when we ran into a gaggle of San Francisco Art Institute students watching the festivities through the cafeteria’s windows.

“What are you doing out here?” I asked a couple of sullen students sucking on cigarettes, “there’s great free party in there; crash it.”

The kids looked at me blankly. Dang; they don’t make art school kids like they used to. Or maybe they do.

When Doctor Swing and I left, we saw signs everywhere announcing that the Diego Rivera had been canceled. I suppose we’ll never know whose party we crashed.

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17 November 2007
Damned Christmas Hillbillies!
Dang; a gaggle of hillbillies have set up an enclave near my home at the fort. And that’s fine; I wouldn’t live in San Francisco if I didn’t enjoy diversity.

The hillbillies have been good neighbors, for the most part. I’ve enjoyed their formidable moonshine (which compares favorably with Thai whisky), and their Saturday car wash parties are an inimitable spectacle of soap suds and fields of ample flesh. But today, the hillbillies went too far.

The hillbillies mounted a couple of illuminated reindeer on their roof, a visual abomination that I can’t ignore. And I have to give some credit to the hillbillies; they crafted their reindeer from over a hundred individual light bulbs. In other words, it would take me an hour to shoot our all the light bulbs with my rifle.

Dang hillbillies, I suppose I’ll just have to drink enough of their moonshine until the eyesore goes away. By March, maybe.

18 November 2007
Sheila’s Favorite Color
Sheila asked me what my favorite color was, so I told her.

“As a chromophobe, I like grey because it embraces all and no colors,” I explained.

“My favorite color is aqua,” Sheila replied.

“Why is that?” I asked.

Sheila fidgeted a bit—and maybe blushed—before she replied.

“I can't spell turquoise,” she admitted.

19 November 2007
No Lesbian Sex with Aliens in Singapore
Singapore enjoys fairly good press for a police state; I suppose that’s because it’s governed by a regime that’s more silly than brutal. Even the practice of caning—spanking prisoners’ bare derrieres with a rattan cane—sounds more kinky than cruel, although I’d probably change my mind if I were on the receiving end of such barbarity.

On further reflection, perhaps Singapore’s not kinky at all. Erstwhile censors there banned a video game because one scene hinted at a lesbian encounter between an earthling and a female from another planet. Thanks to this move by The Board of Film Censors, Singaporean lesbians will probably think less about romantic and/or sexual liaisons with women from outer space. And that’s too bad, I’m sure it would be in humanity’s best interests to welcome extraterrestrial visitors with a kiss instead of a cane.

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©2007 David Glenn Rinehart