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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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3 December 2010

gratuitous image

No. 9,424 (cartoon)

Fuck you.

Fuck you too.

I love our witty repartee!

4 December 2010

Was Jane Austen Edited?

I listen to a Philadelphia radio program several times a week. Each broadcast usually features two or three segments, so it’s no surprise that some of the listings aren’t that imaginative. Here’s a recent offering.

“Was Jane Austen edited? Does it matter?”

That’s really just a version of one of the great archetypal nihilistic queries.

“Does anything exist? Does anything matter?”

I didn’t listen to the story. Whether or not Jane Austen was edited certainly doesn’t matter. If it did, I’d ask her.

5 December 2010

Herbert’s Fired

Herbert’s brief romance with Wilma is over, and that’s that. She told him that she remains interested in friendship, not courtship. And that’s that, too.

Herbert seems to be taking the news rather well.

“It’s not the desired outcome, but she was very gracious,” he explained. “She told me she was having such good times making love that it took her quite a while to realize that she wasn’t really romantically attracted to me.”

That’s more information than I wanted to know, but I didn’t say so. If bragging makes Herbert feel better after getting fired, I’m not going to rain on his dark thought bubble.

6 December 2010

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The Mont-Blanc Explosion

The Mont-Blanc exploded ninety-three years ago today in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “Exploded” is quite an understatement; the violent blast was the largest accidental explosion ever caused by humans.

It’s a long story, but the French steamer ended up colliding with a Norwegian vessel, the SS Imo. Sparks ignited benzene and picric acid on the Mont-Blanc. That was most unfortunate; the ship was packed high explosives headed for Europe. The French crew abandoned ship and tried to warn of the imminent disaster; too bad they did so in French, a language apparently almost no one on shore understood.

The blast and its pressure waves and fires completely destroyed every building over two square kilometers, caused a tsunami in the harbor, sent pieces of the Mont-Blanc flying through the air for over five kilometers, and shot a fireball two kilometers into the sky.

“The sight was awful,” said Billy Wells, a survivor, “with people hanging out of windows dead. Some with their heads off, and some thrown onto the overhead telegraph wires ...”

Two thousand people died; another nine thousand were injured. The largest explosion of its kind, and now everyone’s forgotten about it. Because it happened in Canada. Of course.

7 December 2010

Because It Wasn’t There

Siddhartha Mukherjee wrote an interesting book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. I hope I never have any reason to read it.

My favorite thing about this unread volume is the author’s concise explanation about how it was conceived. “I wrote this book because it wasn’t there.”


8 December 2010

Audio Purge

For years, I’ve made digital copies of my friends’ music libraries. As a result of my petty thievery, I have over forty-one thousand songs in my computer.

Or, more accurately, I used to have that many tunes before I started on a massive purge. Slow thinker that I am, it took me many years to figure out that collecting music I loathe was even stupider than most of my more stupider ideas. I started eradicating tunes by the thousands.

Alex Chilton’s album Clichés was named accurately, so now it’s gone along with every other thing of his on my hard disk. The same for Donald Fagen’s stuff too, another overrated legend banished. I can’t remember what idiot sang about his roots with the rootless, but that was so bad that I pressed the delete button as soon as I heard that line.

Die Tödliche Doris? A gaggle of screaming Deutschen; gone. Great sounds, but learn some English, mein damen und herren. Eight From the Egg? Think salmonella. And no amount of wine can explain why I foolishly recorded so many saccharine Eric Claptrap albums.

On the other hand, I found some gems. Maboudana and Badolo amazed me, and The Flamenco A Go Go was inscrutably delightful.

I’ve learned my lesson, and from now on I shall collect music selectively, not mindlessly hoard it. I should have listened to Antoine de Saint Exupéry. “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

9 December 2010

Purring Until Death

I’m taking care of India, a geriatric cat on her ninth life. She’s feeble and wobbly; I fear she won’t be around a year from now. At the moment, though, India seems to be a content kitty; she never fails to purr vigorously when petted. She’s lost most of her vigor but not her ability to enjoy a sunny afternoon.

I hope I purr until I die.

10 December 2010

Happy Anthrax

Vivian sent me a Christmas card; Thia did too. Damn and double damn.

I wish they’d sent me anthrax instead. When someone mails me anthrax, they don’t expect me to reciprocate.


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©2010 David Glenn Rinehart

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