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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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2 July 2011

gratuitous image

No. 6,329 (cartoon)

You owe me an apology.

I’m sorry.

No, you’re pathetic.

3 July 2011

Liberty and Death

Philip A. Contos died a very American death whilst exercising his rights and enjoying his freedom. The New Yorker was protesting a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. He and over five hundred other riders were enjoying a helmet-free protest ride when it all went pear-shaped.

New York State Trooper Robert Jureller provided a succinct summary of the event. "He hit the brakes, lost control, was ejected and struck his head on the road. He suffered a skull fracture."

And died.

Contos expired enjoying his liberty, what a way to go! He’d probably still be alive had he obeyed what he believed was an unjust law, but what kind of life would it have been to live under the yoke of an oppressive government? He dramatically demonstrated that Patrick Henry’s argument, “Give me liberty or give me death,” wasn’t an either/or proposition.

Not only did Contos cross the great divide with his head held high until it hit the pavement, his dramatic demise should make him a formidable contender for the 2011 Darwin Awards.

4 July 2011

Gleanings in Conceptual Art Quarterly is Funct

Conrad and I got into a stupid argument—my favorite kind!—about an obscure periodical, Gleanings in Conceptual Art Quarterly. He maintained that the publication no longer exists, so I had no choice but to take an opposing view.

“They haven’t published an issue in years,” Conrad insisted. “It’s obviously defunct.”

“That just shows that you don’t know the first thing about conceptual art,” I replied. “It can exist without existing; the journal is clearly funct.”

“How am I supposed to reply to such rubbish?” he asked.

“You’re not,” I explained, “because I just won the argument. What shall we bicker about next?”

Conrad proposed a two-hour truce; I accepted. Drinking ensued.

5 July 2011

A Different Kind of Animal

There’s stupid, there’s really stupid, and then there’s cutesy stupid. Unfortunately, I discovered on today’s flight that Frontier Airlines falls into the latter category.

The company describes itself as, “a different animal,” and uses a number of mawkish cartoon characters to drive home their saccharine message. The tails of Frontier’s jets feature sappy images of Grizwald the Bear, Larry the Lynx, Jack the Rabbit, Flip the Dolphin, and a host of other cloying characters.

I can report that Frontier Airlines is, in fact, a different kind of airline. The airline I usually patronize offers free food, free checked luggage, free Internet access in its main terminals, et cetera. Frontier does not. Frontier Airlines is indeed a different kind of animal, the kind any right-thinking frontiersperson would skin and fry.

Finally, I shall conclude my observations on yet another mediocre airline on a positive note: my flight wasn’t too late, nor did it crash, not even once.

6 July 2011

Back in Flint

I’m back in Flint, Michigan, again. The place is like an incurable disease; it just keeps recurring. It’s not that simple, since there’s more to the crumbling city than is readily apparent. Anyone who stays here long enough to get beyond the surface decay will find the real decay underneath.

7 July 2011

An Historic Reënactment

I like very spicy food; I’ve never found anything that’s too hot to eat. It all started when my father took me to a diner in Flint when I was a boy. I had a bowl of chili, and decided to add some dried pepper flakes from the jar on the table. I didn’t know what they were, but they were free.

My father warned me not to add too much, which meant I had to add a lot. And then, to prove I hadn’t made an error, I had to eat the fiery paste. When we returned to the same greasy spoon a couple of weeks later, I repeated the performance to prove the first incident wasn’t a mistake. I’m fairly certain that was my first and last pretense of macho behavior.

Today, since there’s nothing else to do in Flint, I decided to do a historic reënactment of my first pepper experience. I went to Tom’s Coney Island, a restaurant that serves Flint-style Coney Islands. (They’re drier than the Detroit version.) I don’t know whether serving French fries with gravy is also an example of regional cuisine; I’m not a food critic.

I dumped half a jar of dried peppers into the small bowl of nondescript chili. The mash tasted just like it did when I was a kid; it reminded me of why I escaped from Flint as soon as I could.

8 July 2011

No New Pants

My parents did a great job raising me to be me to independent and self-sufficient. My mother now regrets this, since I need nothing tangible from her or anyone else. That doesn’t stop her from trying to buy me something I don’t want.

Today it was pants. My mother is a shrewd negotiator, and I found myself headed toward a department store dressing room with unwanted clothing. The situation called for desperate action.

I went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then went into action. “Mom! There’s no toilet paper in here” I yelled. “Can you get me some toilet paper? Can anyone please get me some toilet paper?”

My juvenile maneuver worked; we were in her car within minutes with no new pants.

“I’ve never been so embarrassed,” my mother seethed.

I replied by citing a litany of my more embarrassing incidents; I think she felt better after that.


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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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