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3 December 1997
The Biggest Truck in the World
The biggest truck in the world will travel around the equator on special elevated tracks. If the truck traveled fast enough, the rotation of the earth could be increased to provide one thousand 8.766 hour days per year. The mass of the truck would counteract the Earth's gravity, making it economical to transport goods and wastes beyond the atmosphere and into space. The truck is large enough to accommodate billions of people, making global transportation both inexpensive and safe.

The Biggest Truck in the World is available in the PDF format.

4 December 1997
1995 Was Not a Very Good Year
In the course of preparing a list of recent work, I was surprised that I only completed a very few pieces in 1995. I don't remember much about the year; it was one of those plateaus in life where nothing began or concluded. Since I don't have much to show for 1995, I suppose I'll remember 1995 as being not very good, even though I really can't remember much at all.

This has to be one of my more ridiculous ideas, but I suppose I think I am what I create.

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5 December 1997
The Fingerprints of Lard
Peter is an urban fast food anthropologist with a penchant for fish and chips. He claims he can identify each of the town's fifty-one chip shops by the discarded wrappings, and I believe him.

We were walking down Waterford Street this morning when he pointed out the discarded remains of someone's midnight snack.

"Do you see those thin white lines around the edge of the carton?" he asked.

I admitted I didn't. It takes a discerning eye to distinguish between congealed grease and styrofoam, and I couldn't do it. All my years of photography left me blind.

"Those hard white lines, my friend, are the fingerprints of lard. And there are only thirteen places here that still boil in lard. That narrows it down."

"Now, observe the uneven cut of the chips. Those chips were cut by hand, and ten of the lard-based shops use machine-cut potatoes."

"So how can you tell which of the three other shops made this batch?" I asked.

"You'll note the wrapping paper. Yeager's uses real newspaper, and the other ones use the sterile blank newsprint. This one's been wrapped in a half-sheet so it must be from Robinson's; McKay's doesn't cut corners and uses the full sheet."

"Brilliant!" I applauded.

I felt like I was playing Dr. Watson to his Sherlock, but I didn't mind. Sherlock was under all the pressure, but Watson got to enjoy all the adventures as well as get paid well for writing about them.

6 December 1997
Mammoth Standing Wave
In the Southern Pacific Ocean (approximately 50° South, 110° West) military reconnaissance satellites detected a unexplainable mountain of water during the night of 8 April earlier this year. No one's supposed to know about this, but a friend who has a friend in the U.S. navy told me what happened.

From what I've heard, the standing wave materialized during a winter storm. I suppose wave isn't the right word; it never moved. The water structure was over a kilometer tall, a half kilometer wide, and nearly seventeen kilometers long. Although some of the leaked stories contradict each other, apparently the water mountain had very steep sides; impossibly steep sides. It stood for over three hours, then vanished.

And that's all anyone knows. Or, more accurately, that's all anyone's revealing.

What a great story! Who says satellites aren't good for anything?

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7 December 1997
Mauschwitz
The Walt Disney Company wants to hire a "Compliance Co-ordinator." Since the Disney corporate ethos appears to be one of prudish totalitarian fascism, even the thought of a Disney Compliance Co-ordinator makes me quite uncomfortable. My animator friends refer to the DisneyCorp as "Mauschwitz," and that's not just an homage to Art Spiegelman.

The "Compliance Co-ordinator" ad concludes with "Part of the Magic of the Walt Disney Company." I'm sure that's true.

8 December 1997
The Nine Types of Dead Artists
While I was wasting time today I visited an Internet site that purported to be "the online virtual museum for deceased artists" and was dedicated to "rememebering [sic] the dreams and effort of those who were inspired."

Like almost every other site, this was not well crafted, but at least the perpetrators had the courtesy to warn me that there was "no substantial art displayed yet." I ultimately found the site quite rewarding, for in ridiculous purple type on a black (what else?) background I found the directory to the empty mausoleum: cliché city!

    "Famous Artists"- acclaimed, exhibited in museum and/or commercial galleries - Sunset Exhibit Hall

    "Undiscovered Artists"- never received recognition that the work deserved -Twilight Exhibit Hall

    "Successful Artists"- fully or partially supported by one's art - Rainbow Exhibit Hall

    "Frustrated Artists"- inadequate means of support by one's art; becoming "famous" was important to the individual; hurt by rejections from juried art shows, sometimes may have had bouts of depression or self doubt - Misty Exhitbit [sic] Hall

    "Starving Artists"- driven by the passion of creating one's art; income from art was secondary; strong conviction about the value of one's talent and work - Winter Exhibit Hall

    "Professional Artists"- may or may not have college degree in art; earned a living through one's artwork; may have taught art; may have done successful commercial design production besides fine arts works - Harvest Moon Exhibit Hall

    "Amateur Artists"- considered oneself an artist but did not think of selling works as the main objective for creating the art; may have belonged to art clubs; no strong attempt to make a living off one's artwork - Spring Exhibit Hall

    "Hobbyists"- created for the sheer enjoyment of expressioning [sic] one's self and visions; did not necessarily consider oneself an artiste per se - Summer Exhibit Hall

    "Closet Artists"- cared less of ever showing publicly one's work but did it for themselves or some other unknown obscure reasons; art may have literally been discovered in the closet, among the other private possessions after the death of the individual - Autumn Exhibit Hall

Since I am a famous undiscovered successful frustrated starving professional amateur hobbyist closet artist, when I die I suppose you'll be able to visit my work in the Sunset Twilight Rainbow Misty Winter Harvest Moon Spring Summer Autumn Exhibit Hall.

See you there.

9 December 1997
Nocturnal Reunions
I had a dream about Paul and Michael last night. They hadn't really died years ago while skiing in a Sierra blizzard; that was just a ruse to give them some privacy to die from AIDS in anonymity and dignity. It was wonderful to see them again; it was depressing to wake up and realize they really were gone from what passes for the real world.

I wonder if I'll be visited by more and more ghosts as I grow older until I'm one myself. I hope not. I hope so.

10 December 1997
Amazing Bubblegum Raisins
Oliver blows large bubblegum bubbles while watches the television; they're so large they almost obscure his vision. He then seals the bubble with his mouth then punctures it on a large sheet of waxed paper. He pours raisins onto the bubblegum film, then individually wraps each raisin in a thin coat of gum.

It's an elaborate time-consuming project, but, as Oliver points out, "Watching the television is already a waste of time, so the gum and raisins work really doesn't waste any more. And you'd be amazed at how gum-covered raisins can really stretch a box of breakfast cereal."

He's right: I'm amazed.

11 December 1997
Worm Buildings
I was stuck in an old Victorian theatre, so I decided to make the most of my stuckness by plugging my computer into an electrical outlet. I noticed someone had ripped some plumbing out of the wall; the resulting cavity revealed the strange texture of the building material. It looked like some sort of cement-cardboard hybrid, but it was not.

A technician told me the building was made of earthworms. The worms, which were full of soil, were dumped into molds. They soon died, and their decomposing bodies made an adhesive slime that bonded with the soil. As a result, the walls were strong, relatively light, and of course cheap.

I wonder why no one makes buildings from worms any more.

12 December 1997
The Faceless Deep
I had a few drinks tonight with Roger, a diver who specializes in recovering bodies. (I was tempted to write "dead bodies," but that would be repetitiously redundant.) Roger was happy, perhaps even eager, to tell me the tricks of his trade.

"I always hold a body by the ankle when I pull it up. The ankle is one of the strongest joints in the body; it's about the last thing to decompose. I've never had an ankle go on me, ever."

"Also, the ankle grip means I never have to look the person in the face, or what's left of it. The fish and scavengers usually eat the eyes, lips and nose cartilage first, so there's never much of a face left, even in Alaska."

Roger explain that he works in Alaska because the pay is better and because "you get a better kind of body there. You couldn't pay me enough to do my job in the Caribbean."

I asked Roger if he'd ever seen a corpse in "cement overshoes," but he hadn't. He said that most murderers aren't that patient and prefer to use chains or bricks.

Roger said he'd only been in danger once.

"When I was starting out, I had to bring up the body of a suicide. She was a young woman who jumped off the ferry wearing her wedding dress. When I found her body I saw an eel coming out of the hole in her face where her nose used to be. I almost threw up, which can be fatal for a diver."

I marvel at what people will do for money.

13 December 1997
Relatively Ridiculous
I'm at a horrible horrible terrible terrible party. There's a man in an overstuffed bloated parka dancing to horrific disco music. He's now been joined by another man in another huge parka. They look ridiculous, as I suppose I do writing about them on my electronic gizmo.

Being ridiculous is all a matter of perspective.

14 December 1997
Giddy-up Ludwig!
I was listening to Beethoven's seventh symphony while I was washing dishes. I got shivers up my spine when it came to some of the molto ballsissimo horn parts; I could still remember what it was like to play in an orchestra. Playing Beethoven symphonies have been the only times I felt like I was riding a mammoth at full gallop.

15 December 1997
One Lucky Bastard
An employment agency advertised that "laborers were needed." For some reason the advertisement surprised me. Although intellectually I knew there must be laborers in Western society, for some reason I felt that there were hardly any laborers any more, just workers.

I'm glad I'm neither a laborer or a worker. It's like Tom Stoppard said:

"What is an artist? For every thousand people there's nine hundred doing the work, ninety doing well, nine doing good, and one lucky bastard who's the artist."

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16 December 1997
The Other Side of the World
I wondered where I'd be if I started digging a hole and didn't stop until I got to the other side of the planet, so I asked my computer to draw me a picture. It looks like I'd be somewhere south of New Zealand, one of the few places that's colder and wetter than it is here. I won't be digging any deep holes anytime soon.

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©1997 David Glenn Rinehart