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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XL

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1 October 2013

gratuitous image

No. 983 (cartoon)

I’ll never forget my father’s last words.

What did he say?

I’ll never repeat them.

2 October 2013

Happy or Not?

I had a disturbing conversation with Dr. Atwell this morning. We talked over the phone because he lives on the other side of the world in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

I told him that, for the first time in my life, I didn’t have a single concern or problem and that I’ve never been happier.

“So no concerns or problems is the definition of happiness?” he asked.

I couldn’t answer that question, and that’s a problem. And since I now have a problem, that may or may not mean that I’m not happy.

Feh.

3 October 2013

Lisa Louise Bufano

I met Lisa seven years or so ago when she moved to San Francisco. I’d heard about her remarkable story long before we met: when she was twenty-one, she went into the hospital for a routine procedure and came out without any fingers or legs below the knee. Staph.

Most people, including myself, would have been devastated. Lisa must have been too, but she never publicly acknowledged it. Instead, she took advantage of her situation and used prosthetic legs in brilliant dance performances. She also worked in other media including stop-motion animation, painting, and sculpture.

Lisa and Klara came over to my studio a few weeks ago for dinner. Lisa complained about the difficulty of finding affordable housing in San Francisco; everyone here does except me. We enjoyed a pleasant evening.

Klara just called, then told me something unimaginably horrible: Lisa killed herself today. She didn’t say why or how, and I didn’t ask. She’s dead at forty; the details are irrelevant.

Her tragic—no other word will do—death fits a pattern. Everyone I know who’s talked about killing themselves has yet to do so, and everyone I knew who committed suicide never gave any warning.

Lisa and I weren’t very close. I mostly knew her as an accomplished artist; that may be the same as saying I didn’t really know her at all.

4 October 2013

National Poetry Day

Today is National Poetry Day; that rhymes with slime and grime. Or maybe it doesn’t; who cares? Since a good poem is so rare, I’ve found it more efficient to assume all of it is putrid regurgitation. I’m rarely disappointed.

5 October 2013

A Brewery in the Belly

A drunk old Texan stumbles into a hospital, and ...

That’s not the setup for a joke; it happens all the time.

Predictably, the old guy swears he hasn’t had a single drink. That happens all the time too.

Now here’s the punch line you’ve been anticipating for the previous four sentences: the old geezer was telling the truth!

According to the International Journal of Clinical Medicine, he was suffering from auto-brewery syndrome: the yeast in his stomach converted all starches he ate—even vegetables—into ethanol. That can’t be right: suffering?!

Apparently, Patient X took some antibiotics that killed all his yeast-eating bacteria, thus creating a brewery in his belly. Unfortunately, the International Journal of Clinical Medicine didn’t identify the magic antibiotics. I don’t need more money than I have, but, if I did, I could be a petagazzilionaire by packaging said antibiotics as Free Beer for Life pills.

I’m fine with the status quo. Commerce bores me, and wine is cheap. If anyone does market such antibiotics, though, I think it would be more than fair if you sent me a lifetime supply for supplying this invaluable tip.

6 October 2013

(Not?) Speaking Dada

I showed Veronica my work in progress after a lovely dinner at my studio tonight. She raised an eyebrow or two, then generously gave me some unsolicited advice.

“David, you must shine like a buffalo,” she commanded, “but you must also skulk like a pine.”

“That’s good advice,” I replied.

Had I told her the complete truth, I would have told her that was good advice for someone who’d never heard of Dada, and that certainly ain’t me.

When it was time to say goodbye, I promised Veronica that I’d never present her with a taciturn pineapple. Her eyes glazed over; maybe she wasn’t speaking Dada after all.

7 October 2013

The Mule’s Third Kick

The American government is paralyzed by a battle between the pragmatic mercenary politicians and the zealot mercenary politicians. One of the main players in the farce is a rubbery man with orange skin from Kentucky.

Commenting on his duplicitous colleagues’ treacherous stupidity in repeating past mistakes, Orangeman cited what he claimed to be a wise saying of his rural constituents: “There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.”

Judging by the politicians’ idiocy, there may be no education in subsequent kicks, but rather a masochistic pleasure in their collective incompetence.

8 October 2013

gratuitous image

Gratuitous Photo of the Weak: Folded Socks

For the first time in fifty years, I folded my socks differently than I have in the past. I wonder what else I’ve been doing for half a century that I should reëvaluate?

Stare.

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©2013 David Glenn Rinehart

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