2009 Notebook: Weak I
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1 January 2009
No. 5,467 (cartoon)
Love is in the air.

I can smell it rotting.

2 January 2009
Beefy and Fishy Food Attractors
The Burger King Corporation is marketing “Flame,” a body spray that promises, “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” It must be a quality item; why else would it command a four-dollar price tag? Still, I have my doubts.

When I was in high school, I worked for a corporation not unlike Burger King. After a few hours cooking hamburgers in a greasy kitchen, my clothing and hair was permeated with the stench of charred animal fat. I don’t remember any girls mentioning my odor, at least not favorably.

Since then, I’m seen a number of guys with hamburger grease and drippings on their shirts and jackets. Invariably, they are alone. I doubt anyone except advertising copywriters will ever use “Flame” and “seduction” in the same sentence.

Personally, I like to apply a few dabs of tuna or anchovy oil to the cuffs of my pants. That’s never led to any romantic liaisons, and that’s fine: the fishy bouquet has been most efficacious in attracting cats of every stripe.

3 January 2009
Protospective Pish
Molly’s back from a month in New York with a great story about the alleged artist Emmett Haines Rutherford III. She told me about his protospective at the Contemporary Art Museum in New York.

I asked her the obvious question: what’s a protospective?

Molly explained that a protospective is the opposite of a retrospective. Contemporary Art Museum curators gave Rutherford his protospective, “in recognition of the artist’s monumental promise and potential for innovation, ingenuity, and and inventiveness.”

As for the show itself, the twenty-four-year old artist presented a few sketches, a number of framed letters to and from famous people, a very thin notebook, and two crude maquettes. Molly described the work as, “aspiring to mediocrity.”

Apparently, the catalyst for the protospective wasn’t the supposed talent of Emmett Haines Rutherford III, but the millions of dollars Emmett Haines Rutherford II contributed to the Contemporary Art Museum.

Even though the concept of a protospective is self-evidently imbecilic, the power of patronage almost guarantees the lamentable practice will flourish. While I’m prognosticating, I’ll also predict that no one who’s given a protospective will ever earn a retrospective. Cyril Connolly was right when he noted, “Whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising.”

4 January 2009
Totally Fecked
When Polly accused me of being feckless, I had a ready response.

“That’s not true,” I replied. “At the New Year’s Eve party, everyone agreed when Melanie said I was totally fecked.”

Polly couldn’t argue with that. Or, perhaps more accurately, she decided to change the subject.

5 January 2009
More Than Enough Cash
I’m housesitting; that involves making digital copies of my friends’ large music collection. I’m in the middle of copying over a dozen Johnny Cash albums for reasons I don’t fully understand.

I’ll probably never listen to most of them, just as I’ve probably never heard a third of the forty thousand songs in my computer. There’s a corollary: I have a thousand typefaces, but have used less than a dozen of them in the last decade.

I think this is yet another case where I’m blessed and cursed by technology. It’s nice that it only costs me a dollar to store a thousand songs or fonts, but that same economy encourages me to act like a digital pack rat.

That’s enough idle speculation for one afternoon; it’s time to return to cataloguing recordings I’ll never hear.

6 January 2009
Churchill’s Good Advice Ignored
Gareth told me that he and Penelope were getting along well since they started living together in October. He said that the only real problem they had was the traditional argument about keeping the toilet seat down, but that was in the past.

“How did you work things out?” I asked. “Did you take Winston Churchill’s good advice about sitting down?”

“Nah, I don’t like sitting on the toilet,” Gareth replied. “I just urinate in the sink and everyone’s happy.”

Love works in mysterious ways.

7 January 2009
Hiep Hiep Hoera!
Antonia sent me a brief birthday message today, “Hiep hiep hoera!” I guess that means, “hip hip hooray,” but the translation doesn’t matter. Everything sounds better in a foreign language.

8 January 2009
Very Well Misbehaved
I invited Lara to dinner, but she said she was going to parties on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

“I forgot I was talking to Ms. Popular,” I said.

“I can’t help it,” Lara replied, “Everyone wants me around because I’m very well misbehaved.”

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart