Stare.
 
2002 Notebook: Weak LII
 
   
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24 December 2002
No. 2,652 (cartoon)
Everything seems much more clear now.

Is that because you’re really quite drunk?

That hadn’t occurred to me.

25 December 2002
Twenty-One Good American Christmases
I’ve always thought of the Puritans as religious fascists, but it turns out those dour zealots had one redeeming quality. The Puritans loathed Christmas as much as I do, albeit for different reasons. The fanatics outlawed Christmas in 1659, and fined anyone who celebrated the event.

The British forced the repeal of the law in 1681. I’m sure that was the beginning of the end for the Brits’ imperialist conquest of the Americas.

Feh!

26 December 2002
Why Stare?
It just occurred to me that I never mentioned in any of my previous two thousand, five hundred and fifty-one notebook entries why I chose the name “stare” for my Internet domain name. The name comes Walker Evans’ best advice.

“Stare. It is the only way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”

27 December 2002
The Future Is Lazy
Hoo boy, I just saw the lab’s fourth quarter numbers, and they’re grim, grim, grim.

Income: 73
Expenses: 288,505
Profit (Loss): (288,432)

(As an aside, the seventy-three euros came from an out-of-court settlement over the severe intestinal distress caused by a tainted taco from Tino’s Timorese Tacos. From now on I’m sticking to burritos from the Americas.)

Fortunately, the lab’s investors have nerves of titanium as well as very deep pockets. They share my conviction that some day we’ll capitalize on the pent-up demand for time-wasting devices and services.

The future is lazy.

28 December 2002
Berserk Questions
On the Morning Edition radio program, Scott Simon discussed various controversies regarding the Berserker warriors of yore. Were they Norse and/or Scandinavian and/or Celtic? Did they really prepare themselves for battle by working themselves into a frenzy with mead, mushrooms, and hyperventilation? And perhaps most importantly, did they fight in bare skin or bear skin?

Simon addressed the last question by making a brilliant editorial decision. “Given the choice on this show between nude and not nude,” he said, “we always err on the side of the nude.”

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29 December 2002
Disinformation Awareness Office
When I was a boy, I wanted to be a mad scientist when I grew up. And although I never grew up, I am a mad scientist, but that’s not the point I want to make.

Empirical evidence suggests that lots of people want to be mad scientists, and I’m not the only one who’s succeeded. I’m thinking about the the U.S. government’s Information Awareness Office. The dubious enterprise, an ambitious plan to spy on everyone all the time, seems like George Orwell’s 1984 on steroids. With methamphetamine, for good measure.

My favorite part about their sinister endeavor is the logo, which looks like something on the cover of a pulp science fiction book designed by teenagers to look, like, totally cool, man. Totally.

The hodgepodge logo features all sorts of nonsense. First, the image itself appears to be floating in space, thanks to the totally cool drop shadow, the signature of every mediocre computer graphic designer. Then we have the acronym DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to remind weaklings that the whole fiasco involves the U.S. military. And just to show a little class, there’s the Latin phrase, “Scienta est potentia,” or, “Knowledge is power.” So there.

The centerpiece of the logo is, of course, the centerpiece. In practice, this means a misshapen planet Earth dominated by an even larger brick pyramid floating in space. A numb Masonic eye floats atop the pyramid, bathing helpless earthlings in its all-seeing, all-encompassing death ray.

Billions of dollars, a juvenile logo, and a totalitarian mission: be very afraid.

30 December 2002
My Own Kind of Year
Lary at Lary’s Liquors admonished me, “Have a happy new year!”

“Look,” I replied, “I don’t tell you how to run your business, so don’t tell me what kind of year to have.”

“OK,” he replied. “Then I’ll tell you I just decided to raise the price of Rainier Ale retroactive to this morning. Give me three more dollars.”

I guess I was right; 2003 doesn’t look too promising.

31 December 2002
Forty-Six Cartoons, Numbered at Random
One of my most rewarding accomplishments of the year was making boring cartoons. I used my new medium for forty-six notebook entries in lieu of modestly more interesting observations. I think the cartoons’ titles, a series of random numbers, were my favorite part of the whole waste of time.

3,535
4,611
3,162
6,366
9,205
2,508
6,193
190
7,417
6,838
5,964
8,264
3,419
95
6,070
6,543
2,996
7,978
3,660
1,491
3,181
3,584
2,884
6,331
5,502
5,011
3,985
4,354
99
1,905
9,462
6,554
5,986
4,047
9,380
8,137
6,366
8,571
9,530
4,581
3,280
178
6,690
2,717
4,150
2,652

All these improbable numbers are a welcome distraction from tomorrow’ s very predictable number, 2003.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart