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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak X

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5 March 2011

gratuitous image

No. 7,849 (cartoon)

What more do you want from our relationship?

Our love leaves me with nothing to hope for.

6 March 2011

gratuitous image

Heart Attack Grill

I appreciate good propaganda, even if I don’t agree with the message. That’s why I like Jon Basso’s decision to hire Blair River as the spokesperson for his restaurant. River, who weighed two hundred and sixty kilograms, was a great representative of the corporate culture. (Note the use of the past tense, which will become relevant in one hundred and forty-four words.)

River was a shill for The Heart Attack Grill.

Basso accurately described the fare as, “nutritional pornography,” cuisine that’s, “so bad for you it’s shocking.” The Tempe, Arizona establishment is renowned for the Quadruple Bypass Burger, featuring a kilogram of cow, plus lots of clots of bacon and cheese. At eight thousand calories, that’s enough to live on for four days. (Or, enough to die on, as the product’s name suggests.)

The Heart Attack Grill is also something of a philanthropic diner; anyone who weighs over one hundred and sixty kilograms gorges for free. The other notable facet of the restaurant’s marketing schtick is this: all the waitresses are dressed in fetishistic nurse uniforms, as if ready to address some coronary event.

In the end, neither attractive young women in fetish outfits or bona fide medical professionals could save Blair River; the morbidly obese Heart Attack Grill flack died before his thirtieth birthday.

Heart Attack Grill: truth in advertising.

7 March 2011

Not Dreaming Pragmatically

Last night, I dreamt that I was at the Edinburgh Castle. I announced that I don’t dream in color, even though I was looking at a patch of blue. Even when I made that statement, I knew that I was asleep.

I have no idea what Aldous Huxley meant when he advised, “Dream in a pragmatic way.”

Obviously.

8 March 2011

Kill Phollins

The former musician Phil Collins sent out a press release announcing that he’s “calling it a day” and has stopped making music. Surely there must be some mistake?! Depending on who you ask, he hasn’t made music in many years if not decades.

I suppose it’s one of those weird technological glitches. Perhaps a facsimile transmission sent in 1979 got stuck in the network for thirty-two years? I suppose it doesn’t matter since we’ve finally heard the last of Kill Phollins.

9 March 2011

The Right Nautical Tools

I was reminded of how difficult living on a boat can be when I visited Samantha on her houseboat.

“You see that sailboat over there?” she asked.

She went on to say that she loved watching the handsome owner practice his violin on deck, except that he played excruciatingly poorly.

I solved her problem by suggesting that she simply wear headphones and replace his audio track with hers. My straightforward solution worked.

Living on a boat can be challenging, but it’s easier with the right nautical tools.

10 March 2011

No Bad Weather

Joey called to cancel getting together today because of “bad weather.” I told him that he was mistaking wearing the wrong clothes for bad weather. He reluctantly agreed to keep our appointment.

He arrived this afternoon wearing a florescent green poncho, bright red rain pants, yellow boots, and a checkered sombrero wrapped in plastic. There’s no such thing as bad weather, but bad clothing choices are certainly real.

11 March 2011

Tsunami Alert

My phone started ringing well before dawn today. I ignored the first and second calls, but gave up trying to go back to sleep when the phone rang for a third time.

“There’s a tsunami headed for San Francisco,” Katia reported from New York.

“What time is it now?” I replied.

Katia ignored my question, and went on to tell me that a colossal earthquake in Japan sent a tidal wave headed toward my boat. She warned me that the tsunami would hit San Francisco in a few hours, around eight.

“Thanks for the alert,” I responded. “I’ll set my alarm for seven-thirty.”

“You’re not taking this seriously, are you?” she asked. “Just promise me that you’ll evacuate to higher ground before it hits.”

“I promise,” I said. Without coffee, I wasn’t sure whether or not I meant it. (Somnambulistic pledges don’t count.)

Well-meaning friends kept calling. I tried to explain the fluid dynamics of the threat: after the wave made it through the relatively narrow aperture of the Golden Gate, it would spread out and dissipate harmlessly. That led to some inane arguments, especially since I didn’t really know what I was talking about.

I finally gave up. I grabbed my coffee and computer, abandoned ship, and headed to shore. I drank coffee, wrote the above paragraphs, and occasionally glanced up at a perfectly tranquil bay.

Finally, at eight twenty-seven, I spotted a ripple. I still don’t know—and never will—if it was the last remnant of the tidal wave or the wake of a duck.

12 March 2011

Not as Bad as Many People Think

I’m usually numb to reports of massive tragedies; I hear of them daily. When I learned about the massive south Asia tsunami a few years ago, though, I remembered all the lovely people I’d met in Thailand. I spent many anxious hours trying to find if a friend who works in the area was affected. (She was fine.)

Similarly, I look at surreally horrific photos from Japan and overlay them with my fond memories from a few weeks ago. I see photos of train carriages scattered about, and think of a wonderful ride from Kii-Katsuura to Osaka; the train hugged the coast for a couple hundred kilometers. At last report, four entire trains are missing. It’s hard to imagine them at the bottom of the ocean floor, swept out to sea. But where else could they be?

Meantime, nuclear power plants—plural—appear to be heading toward meltdowns. No one knows what happened, let alone what’s happening. In lieu of firm data, a reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation had to improvise. He did not do well.

“Nuclear explosions are not as bad as many people think,” he opined.

I’m afraid we’ll know soon.

Stare.

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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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