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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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2 July 2010

gratuitous image

No. 5,251 (cartoon)

I have some regrets about our past.

You were nice to me on occasion.

That’s what I regret.

3 July 2010

The Walmart Diet

I enjoy a glass of wine or an icy can of Rainier Ale on occasion, and frequently more than one occasion. As a result, I’m not as slim and lithe as I was when I was a teenager. (Actually, I wasn’t lean then either, but that’s irrelevant at the moment.) In short, I could easily afford to lose two or three or perhaps more kilograms of excess weight with impunity. To my benefit, even.

Even so, I’ve never gone on a specific diet. Instead, I’ve tried to balance my beer and burrito intake with extended bicycle adventures. That seems to be working, mostly, the aforementioned kilos notwithstanding. I never worried about my weight before, and I’m certainly not going to in the future now that I’ve discovered the Walmart Diet.

Walmart megastores epitomize a host of environmental, social, economic, and even human rights abuses. I’ve only been in a Walmart enclave one or two times before. On today’s unfortunate visit, I saw something today that I’d never noticed before: Walmart customers.

For anyone who’s also had the misfortune of setting foot inside a Walmart outpost, that’s an astonishing statement, for Walmart’s clientele look like a porcine/human hybrid. Hard to miss, really. I wondered if I was seeing a new species bred by carnivorous aliens with a taste for very fatty meat. Most of the patrons looked like mammoth mounds of flesh covered in shabby clothes walking on relatively tiny legs poking out from underneath their massive, drooping torsos. I was amazed and appalled, in no particular order.

As I walked among the lumbering shoppers, I felt positively svelte and willowy. It’s an unpleasant experience I’m reticent to repeat, but I can report that the Walmart Diet is the only effortless regimen that works, if only for the length of the visit.

4 July 2010

Flint’s in a Class of Its Own

I’m visiting my mother and brother in Flint, Michigan, and whining about being in a third-world city to anyone who’ll answer the phone back in the nominally civilized world.

“There’s not even a recycling program here,” I complained to Enrico.

“Well then” he replied, “Flint’s not really in the third world, is it?”

He went on to explain that he’d been from the slums of Calcutta to African villages without electricity or running water, yet everyone there nevertheless managed to recycle almost everything.

Enrico’s observation made me feel even worse. Dang, I wonder what world I’m in? As I’ve always suspected and feared, Flint may be in a class of its own.

5 July 2010

Drinking Water Roulette

I’m in a quandary. I’m flying from Flint to Detroit to Los Angeles to San Francisco today. I’m allowed to carry empty water bottles through the “security” charades, which I may then fill with tap water from the Flint Airport, the Detroit Airport, or an airplane. I believe it’s unwise to drink water from lower Michigan, where decades of dumping toxic wastes have left a legacy of poisoned groundwater.

As for the provenance of water on the jet, who knows? What I do know is that the airplane waters tanks are rarely cleaned, and contain mold, algae, bacteria, and worse. Statistically speaking, I’d be better off drinking from a toilet cistern, but, of course, that would take me back to the Michigan groundwater I’d like to avoid.

What a predicament. I think I’ll survive on meager rations of canned juice and coffee, then rehydrate with Rainier Ale when I arrive in San Francisco.

6 July 2010

Peanuts are Dynamite!

On yesterday’s flights I ate four miniscule bags of peanuts, which, despite their small cumulative volume, nevertheless supplied thirty-six percent of my recommended daily allowance of fat.

But there’s more to the humble peanut than the obvious greasy goodness; peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite. Why the same bureaucracy that goes through such an elaborate yet unconvincing pretense of security screening then passes out bomb-making materials in the middle of a flight, this I do not know.

And I’m not going to know, either, because I’m not going to ask. The last thing I want to do is instigate a ban on peanuts. Eating salty, twisted strips of cardboard labeled “pretzels” would be even worse.

7 July 2010

Luke Jerram Scares Me, Sort Of

Luke Jerram scares me, sort of. He came up with a nice, simple piece that involves placing fifty pianos in public places throughout New York City and seeing what happens. I imagine the result will be one percent virtuoso performances, ninety-seven percent identical interpretations of Chopsticks, and three percent vandalism by stupid thugs prying off the keys in the hope that they’re made of ivory.

But that’s the beauty of Jerram’s work: chance. We’ll see what happens.

So far so good, but: what happens if one of Jerram’s plagiarists is malevolent instead of benign? What if some evil artists drops off piles of drums, timpani, cymbals, glockenspiels, cowbells, and worse at strategic locations designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain and suffering?

8 July 2010

Dogs Don’t Listen, Either

Abbie is complaining that her boyfriend doesn’t listen to her.

“It couldn’t be because you talk too much,” I suggested facetiously. (She’d enjoyed several drinks, and didn’t notice the jibe. Whew!)

“If it’s any consolation,” I continued, “your dog’s not listening to you either; he’s just waiting attentively for more food to fall out of your mouth.”

She briefly glanced at the taco stains on her jacket, then changed the subject.


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©2010 David Glenn Rinehart

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