2008 Notebook: Weak XV
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10 April 2008
No. 1,782 (cartoon)
I’m at the end of my rope.

I always know where to find you.

11 April 2008
The Lights Ain’t Never Killed Nobody
Cheryl doesn’t walk very fast in the city; that’s because she dutifully stops every time she sees a red light. Conversely, I don’t stop walking except to avoid being hit by a speeding car, truck, or bus. My pedestrian practice is based on expert advice from Jackie “Moms” Mabley: “Damn the lights. Watch the cars. The lights ain’t never killed nobody.”

Cheryl and I debate the lights versus traffic question at every intersection. It’s an academic argument, since neither of us has ever been hit by a vehicle while walking.

I’m comfortable with our disagreement, since neither of us will win our debate until Cheryl is disfigured in an accident. I’m certain that it won’t happen to me; I watch the traffic, not the lights.

12 April 2008
Kingsley Amis Annoys Me
Kingsley Amis postulated, “If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.”

His observation really annoys me, since I didn’t think of it first.

13 April 2008
Feeling Digitally Old
Dr. McPartland held open a show-and-tell soirée at her studio, and invited a few artists in their twenties. I don’t know if they were representative of their generation, but they were decidedly retro. They worked with charcoal, old color transparencies, movie film, vinyl records, darkroom, woodshop, sheet music, and so on.

We enjoyed pleasant exchanges, but my exclusive use of digital media made me feel much older than my chronological age would suggest.

14 April 2008
Keeping Nazi Traditions Alive in San Francisco
San Francisco city officials spent three-quarters of a million dollars hosting the chaotic visit of the Olympic torch. The fiasco mainly involved keeping the torch hidden from thousands of protesters. Most pundits opined that the event was a success because almost no one managed to see the torch.

I thought the entire farce was a waste of money trying to preserve the tradition of the Olympic torch relay, especially considering the history of the practice. The Greeks never conducted the torch event, the tradition was established by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Still the mayor defended the lavishly expensive farce.

“We’re a big city and we’re going to have world-class events. We’re going to promote those events, we’re going to promote the vibrancy of the city, and that comes at a cost,” he explained.

I think the cost of keeping a Nazi tradition alive can’t be measured in dollars alone, but it’s a theoretical concern. I doubt the torch will return to San Francisco in my lifetime.

Good riddance.

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15 April 2008
Granite Watercolor, Granite Charcoal Sketch
After arriving in New York, I meandered down Broadway to familiarize myself with my new surroundings. That’s where I discovered two slabs of what appeared to be black granite, one with the caption of “Watercolor,” the other labeled, “Charcoal Sketch.” I didn’t read the explanation of how the black rectangles got their titles; perhaps the heavy pedestrian traffic wore away the images.

This is New York, so I can’t discount the possibility that I discovered a couple of pieces of minimalist conceptual art. Manhattan is viscous with failed minimalists and impotent conceptual artists.

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart