2008 Notebook: Weak IV
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22 January 2008
No. 1,718 (cartoon)
My wounds speak for themselves.

They’re self-inflicted.

23 January 2008
Moving Pictures?!
I just obtained my first video camera. Moving pictures, imagine that!

I’ve always been skeptical of images that keep jumping from one to another, as were Auguste and Louis Lumiere. They’re the team that previewed their Cinématographe, the first movie projector, on 28 December, 1895. The Lumiere brothers—who made some 2,000 films—also thought of the medium as a passing fad. Auguste decided to go into medicine, and Louis returned to the established medium of still photography.

And so, I’m using the the Lumiere brothers as my model for my video foray. If my moving pictures prove aesthetically rewarding, that’s lovely. If not, there’s always drugs and Leicas!

24 January 2008
Life Imitating (Bad) Art
Buzz sent me a news article about life imitating bad art. It seems that a Canadian trapper, Ken Hildebrand, got pinned under his vehicle in a remote area of northern Canada. The trapper, who was also a paramedic, thought he might have to amputate one of his legs in order to survive. Of course, the cheap irony in the story is that his predicament was the same one suffered by the animals he trapped.

Unlike real life, where trapped animals really do need to chew off a leg to escape with their lives, Hildebrand was rescued and survived his ordeal. Still, the tale does sound like it was written by an unimaginative child.


A child would have had the protagonist decide to change his ways, and not to continue to torture animals with starvation, frostbite, or some other flavor of miserable death. At last report, Hildebrand—who may lose part of his leg after his experience—will resume trapping.

25 January 2008
Nine Fingers Bad
I am constantly amazed how the airline industry paper shufflers collude with government apparatchiks to find new ways of making air travel an increasingly unpleasant experience.

The most recent development is identifying travelers with a machine that scans their ten fingertips for positive identification. I have yet to consider the larger implications for the further erosion of personal privacy and other civil liberties. Instead, I’m selfishly thinking about how it will affect me personally.

I can’t be sure of this, but I suspect that the next time I show up at the airport with only nine fingers, I’m going to get some sort unwelcome addition to my government file. At best, it means more delays for interviews with clueless worker drones, or at worst I may not be able to return to Japan if I’m put on some sort of Yakuza suspect list.


26 January 2008
Annie’s Clever Resolve
Annie looked really wonderful when she came over to my studio today, and that’s what I told her. That’s a dangerous remark to make, since some people interpret that not as a compliment, but as a suggestion they didn’t look so good previously. Fortunately, Annie took my comment the right way.

“It’s all because of my new year’s resolutions,” Annie explained.

“Really?” I replied, “I thought no one kept new year’s resolutions.”

“Exactly,” Annie continued, “that’s why I resolved to eat more fatty foods, exercise less, and put on some weight.”

I hope I can remember that on new year’s eve.

27 January 2008
(Not) Bangkok
I thought I’d been in Bangkok a couple of times, but just found out that the real name of the Thai capital is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. And here’s the translation, which is so long that it deserves its own paragraph.

The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.

That’s what King Rama I named the city in 1782 when he founded it across the river Bangkok, or Village of Wild Plums. Why this news has yet to reach the west is anyone’s guess. Personally, I’m going to use the airport name, BKK, since at least everyone agrees on that.

28 January 2008
Neurological Meat Bouquets
Wanda and Joel decided to change the name of their musical ensemble from “Buckets o’ Brains,” to “Neurological Meat Bouquets.”

Although they didn’t solicit my opinion, I think they made a big musical mistake, one reflected in the new name of their band.

Buckets o’ Brains music sounded like just that: lots of neurons and adrenaline slopping around with unpredictable gusto. Neurological Meat Bouquets’ oeuvre is comprised of those tedious, conceptual “sound pieces” that are so rewarding in theory and so wearisome in aural practice.

I think the musical world needs more reckless epinephrine and less tinkling and diddling, so I shall return to my recording studio to add that very concern.

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29 January 2008
Eighty-Four Things About Twelve French Girls
“You have to take that out!”

That was Antonia’s reaction when she came to this line in my new piece: “happily childless, keeps her aborted foetus in a jar.”

It’s not that easy to offend anyone these days, so I was quite chuffed to irritate an intelligent person. European, even.

I originally titled the piece, Eighty-Four Things About Twelve French Women, but Stephan suggested I use Eighty-Four Things About Twelve French Girls instead in order to make it a bit more French, a tad more “ooh la la.”

That proved to be good advice. Andrew gave me a wonderful two-word review, “Wonderfully impolitic!”

With two criticisms from two respected friends, the year’s off to a great start!

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart