2009 Notebook: Weak XLVI
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12 November 2009
No. 4,454 (cartoon)
Don’t you think about anything except vengeance?

Yes, but I fight it.

13 November 2009
Robert William Cameron
I read today that Bob Cameron died at the age of ninety-eight. In a way, that’s too bad: he’s one of those rare humans who could have actually enjoyed a few more productive decades.

Bob was famous for his books of aerial photographs of cities, Over San Francisco, Over Here, Over There, and so on. When I visited him a few years ago, he said he was planning a new book.

“Aren’t you running out of cities?” I asked.

“No, damn it,” he replied without a trace of humor, “I’m running out of time.”

And now, after fifteen cities and over three million books, he has run out of time and/or vice-versa.

He warned me that retirement was a death sentence. I believed him then, and I certainly believe him now. A few months ago, he was photographing from a helicopter over San Francisco, even though he was blind in one eye and could barely see out of the other. Just as he predicted, he died soon after complete blindness forced him into involuntary retirement.

Lights out, lights out.

14 November 2009
Gomez the Valentine’s Day Baby
When Gomez told me that today is his fortieth birthday, I told him he was the first Valentine’s baby I met.

“What do you mean by that?” he asked.

“Valentine’s Day was exactly nine months ago,” I explained, “so you do the math.”

Gomez’s expression turned to a combination of revulsion and revulsion as he thought of his parents copulating. I’ve never understood why people have that reaction. Almost all of us are alive because at least one of our parents had sex, sometimes with each other.

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15 November 2009
Incongruent Buzzcocks
I was stumbling around the Internet looking for a recording by one of my favorite musical ensembles, the Buzzcocks, when I spotted an interesting image. It featured a photograph of a spaceship in orbit and the words, “Buzzcocks - Sound of a gun.” I especially liked the addition four stylized graphics of stars in space where the real stars should have been; nice touch!

I was appalled by the crude typography and capitalization, but it really didn’t matter. Combining incongruent words and imagery is one of the oldest tricks in the book, perhaps because it’s such a dependable contrivance. I should spend more time on proven machinations instead of unoriginal originality.

16 November 2009
Unfamiliar with the Bard
I asked Carlos, an accomplished actor, why he’d never performed in a Shakespeare play.

“They talk funny,” he explained.

I agreed; that’s the reason I’m almost entirely unfamiliar with the bard’s work except for the one-liners. That’s fine with me; to swine own self be true!

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17 November 2009
The David Rinehart House
Herbert sent me a photograph, “The David Rinehart House in Eutaw, Alabama.” The image was credited to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, although I’m not sure whether “credit” is the right word. The place looked like a dump, the kind of slum typically associated with the derelict city of Flint, Michigan. I wasn’t surprised. In my ignorance, I think of Alabama as Flint writ large.

I was quite not surprised to discover that Herbert wasn’t telling the entire truth. The full name of the grandiose Alabama tenement, built in 1860, is The David Rinehart Anthony House. Curiously, the excrescence really is on the National Register of Historic Places, “due to its architectural significance.”

Well, I’ll be. I guess it really is that significantly ugly. And named after me, more or less. It’s even worse than the David Rinehart Memorial Trophy.


18 November 2009
Real Russian Cuisine
The world is becoming increasingly homogenous, so I’m always pleased to hear reports of people maintaining their regional identity. The latest account of preserving territorial integrity comes from Perm, a small city approximately a thousand kilometers east of Moscow.

Three homeless men decided to dine on some authentic Russian food by eating an authentic Russian. In a fine example of not letting any part of the prey go to waste, the men tried selling their—their quarry’s, that is—extra meat to a local kebab and pie shop. That was their big mistake.

Commercial trade in wildlife is usually illegal, and it certainly is in Perm. I read that local police arrested the cannibals, but that’s all the story said.

Did the anthropophagi manage to sell any of their game? Did the kebob shop serve any? Is it still possible to buy genuine Russian cuisine, or is it a delicacy like koala that’s only available to hunters?

All this speculation is making me hungry.

19 November 2009
Drunk After Two Drinks
Wilma told me she got really, really drunk at Vivian’s party the other night.

“That doesn’t sound like you,” I said. “I’ve seen you drink a lot, but I’ve never seen you really drunk, let alone really, really drunk.”

“I know,” Wilma replied, “and the weird thing is that I got drunk from just a couple of drinks.”

“Were you drinking pints of pure alcohol?” I asked.

“No, I got blitzed from only a couple of regular cocktails,” she explained. “I think they were the thirteenth and fourteenth ones.”

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart