Stare.
 
2002 Notebook: Weak XIX
 
   
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7 May 2002
No. 3419 (cartoon)
I can see nothing.

Perhaps that’s your desire.

8 May 2002
Lost Luggage Art
Christine told me about her amazing new art project, and I’m quite impressed. She’s getting thousands of pieces of unclaimed luggage from various airlines operating out of the San Francisco airport. She’s going to weld and glue all the bits of baggage together to form a couple of giant, twenty-five hundred kilogram spheres. Then Christine’s going to bury the giant luggage balls on either side of the south end of Runway Seventy-One.

Brilliant!

(As an aside, I can’t ignore the obvious phallic connotation—if not denotation—even though Christine insists no such consideration went into the piece.)

It turns out this is one of those exceedingly rare stories that just keeps getting better: Christine’s idea wasn’t Christine’s idea at all; I just dreamt she told me about her project. It’s mine!

I wonder how I’ll get the airlines to give me five thousand kilograms of lost luggage?

9 May 2002
Kissing and Biting
I delight in my freedom from nonsensical journalistic inhibitions, such as the fear of publishing anything that cannot be cited and ostensibly proven. As a result, I’m free to tell unattributed—and possibly apocryphal—tales such as this.

A few days ago, I heard some man promoting his book, Shootout: Surviving Fame and Misfortune. (A subsequent Internet search failed to find a single reference to such a volume, but I nevertheless believe that such a publication exists. Somewhere.)

Whatever.

Anyway, here’s the book’s essential idea: “You have to know what to kiss and what to bite.”

That’s at least half the information one needs to succeed in almost any endeavor.

10 May 2002
The Fall of the Underwear Inspector
According to recent news reports, inspecting teenage girls’ bras and knickers is a thankless task. That’s what Rita Wilson discovered when she was more or less hounded from her job at the high school in Rancho Bernardo, a San Diego suburb.

Although the school administraitor has been labeled a voyeur, a prude, a pervert, and worse, she maintains she inspected the students’ bras (or lack of same) and lifted the young women’s skirts because of a “safety issue.” The inept woman claimed that she was just trying to ensure that her charges were wearing “appropriate” underwear for their own protection.

Oops!

It turns out that teenagers these days purportedly engage in an activity colloquially known as “freak dancing.” As the thankless Ms. Wilson explained, “If they [the teenage students] were going to ‘freak,’ at least their bottoms were going to be covered. ‘Freak’ dancing is not a fun thing to watch all night. I’ve had employees who have been ‘freaked’ upon.”

Poor Ms. Wilson. Although I’ve never been “freaked upon,” even I know better than to lift teenage girls’ skirts without an invitation. After all, if that rude tactic didn’t work in the 1970s, why should it work now?

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11 May 2002
Deaf Dogs Can’t Hear
Rosie the dog is deaf, deaf as a deaf doorknob. The poor critter can’t hear a damn thing. Why it is that Al and Suzie installed a hearing cone on the poor dog’s neck, this I do not know.

12 May 2002
Rachel’s Predicament
Rachel called to complain about a recent notebook entry.

“I can’t believe you wrote such crap!” she said. “Our conversation wasn’t like that at all. Are you trying to get me fired or something?”

She continued in that vein for quite some time.

I tried to explain that I’m not a slave to reality, but I don’t think she heard me. I feel sorry for Rachel; it must be horrible to be trapped within the narrow confines of what passes for the real world.

13 May 2002
Let’s Make Love! Three Orgasms!!!
Since I’ll be heading to Japan in a few days, I asked Jen to teach me the three critical phrases. She did, and now I can say “Another drink, please,” “Where’s the toilet?,” and “I love you” in Japanese.

Hai!

After the brief lesson, she warned me to be very, very careful when using my modest vocabulary. She told me that when she was in Japan, she walked into a barber shop (her first mistake), sat down in the barber’s chair (her second mistake), and asked for a haircut (her third and fourth mistakes). It turns out that although she thought she asked for “a haircut,” she in fact requested “three orgasms” from the barber. The barber managed to keep a straight face, and asked her if she’d also like a shave.

A couple of months later, she discovered that she’d been continually mispronouncing a syllable in the Japanese equivalent of the parting, “See you later.” Instead, she’d been waving, smiling, and saying “Let’s make love.”

Those gaijin, so very inscrutable!

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14 May 2002
Ear Quadrants
I browsed through a book on photographic forgeries at the library. I failed to note the title of the book, perhaps because I don’t anticipate I’ll ever try to find it again. The book was fairly thick, but didn’t provide much new information. As an artist, I’m fairly au fait with fraud and fakery.

Although I didn’t find any new ways to bamboozle viewers with more photographic chicanery, I did discover a technique researchers use to identify fraudulent photographs: ears!

It turns out that each ear, like each snowflake or fingerprint, is unique. Experts analyze ear quadrants to spot impostors, such as those employed by heads of state. Even people who appear to look exactly alike have different ears.

Recently, Chinese historians have discovered that Chairman Mao always sent a double to sit through interminable Chinese opera performances. After examining all the photographic evidence, it seems that the son of the Shaoshan soil never attended the opera in his life!

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart