- 9 July 2003
- No. 6,315 (cartoon)
- Youre silent.
Its not silence.
- 10 July 2003
- Shooting Babies
- I havent always been a chromophobe; when I was a teenager I spent thirteen months making color photographs for the Photo Corporation of America. I traveled to chain stores throughout Michigan photographing infants and small children.
I made thousands and thousands of exposures, but only created one good photograph. When a mother brought in her baby with yellow jaundice, I put the unfortunate thing on a golden rug and used a background depicting a dramatic, orange sunset. The jaundice photograph turned out to be the only good color photograph Ive ever made.
I made a lot of money shooting babies. I paid cash for a new Volkswagen and some Leicas and left Michigan behind.
- 11 July 2003
- Flamingo Dancers
- Pamela invited me to see a flamingo dance tonight, so I went. Im not interested in animal acts, but since the engagement involved a free dinner, how could I say no?
I said yes and, as a result, ended up at Café de la Paz.
The evening started with an interesting warmup act: a guitar player, a singer, and three painted ladies. I was impressed that the quintet featured both a singer and a guitar player; usually low-budget groups find someone who can do both. For financial and/or aesthetic reasons, the ensemble didnt include a drummer.
When the show started, I discovered that each of the performers was a percussionist. They all clapped in elaborate syncopation, clacked little, black, clanky things, whapped the guitar and chairs, and generally made all manner of raucous bang-banging.
The women sat clapping throughout most the performance, but every so often one of them of would stand, glower at the audience as if possessed by the devil herself, then launch into a strange dance that combined graceful arm movements with powerful, vicious foot-stomping.
You just know that she has to be screwing up her knees big time doing that, Larry whispered.
I had to leave before the performing flamingos; the warmup group provided enough entertainment for one evening.
- 12 July 2003
- Beethoven Can Be Boring
- I met a professional bassoon player in a saloon last night; she was sloppy drippy drunk.
Whats it like to be in a big orchestra? I asked. Whenever I think of symphony musicians, I cant help but think of Frank Zappas reference to you and your colleagues as mechanics.
Zappa didnt know much about real music, she replied. Theres a lot of stuff we know that the general public in general and pop singers like Frank in particular dont have a clue about.
I resisted the temptation to inquire why she referred to Zappa as a pop singer, and instead asked for example of her insider knowledge.
The bassoonist leaned over and asked a hypothetical question, You wanna know something?
Do tell, I replied.
A lot of great music is boring, she confided with whiskey breath.
I always suspected that might be the case, I admitted. Could you give me an example?
The third movement of Beethovens last symphony is tedious beyond words, she announced. Totally boring.
I wonder why Ive never met a happy bassonist.
- 13 July 2003
- A Dog Got Killed Once
- I was walking down Mission Street when I overheard a woman say, ... a dog got killed once ...
Im sure she didnt mean that the dog was killed more than once; only cats have nine lives. Still, I spent most of the afternoon thinking about a dog getting killed once.
- 14 July 2003
- The Five Enjoyable Sins
- Stewart showed me a list of the seven deadly sins, then asked which ones Id committed.
Any court in the universe would convict me of pride, gluttony, lust, greed, and sloth, I admitted. On the other hand, Ive almost never been angry or envious.
Why only five? Stewart asked. I never though of you as an underachiever when it came to anything unpleasant.
Exactly! I agreed. Thats why I only engage in the enjoyable sins. Anger and envy make one so miserable that they may as well be virtues.
- 15 July 2003
- Big Chunks of Joy and Love
- I walked into Joannas office today with a ridiculous smile on my face.
How are you? her secretary asked politely.
If I felt any better, I replied, Id probably spew up big chunks of joy and love all over the place.
I didnt need to know that, she replied curtly.
Im sorry, I replied, I guess you shouldnt ask questions you dont want answered.
- 16 July 2003
- Galileo, Father of the Cat Door
- Ruth told me that Galileo invented the cat door. I believed her. Later, however, I looked for a reference to Galileos invention on the Internet, but couldnt find a single reference to Galileo and the cat door.
Nevertheless, I believe Ruth was right. It only makes sense that Galileo concluded that the heavens didnt revolve around the earth after concluding that cats were the center of the universe.