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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak

Weak VI

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5 February 2015

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No. 6,391 (cartoon)

You’re everything I hate.

Who says you can’t have it all?!

6 February 2015

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Dead Silence

There’s a lot to be said for walking your talk, eating your own dog food, practicing what you preach, and other such clichés. Thomas Lynn Bradford, who died ninety-four years ago today, was a leading exemplar of that practice.

Bradford believed that there was life after death, so he decided to cross the great divide and report his findings to Ruth Starkweather Doran, his learned associate. The professor took a conventional route to the afterlife by filling his sealed Detroit apartment with gas. He succeeded in killing himself, but failed to file a single report. The New York Times succinctly summarized the results of his quest, Dead Spiritualist Silent.

Although Bradford never completed his expedition, I think his mission was a noteworthy success since he permanently escaped Detroit.

7 February 2015

Night Fellows

I met a couple of journalists yesterday who claimed that they were night fellows at Stanford University. I was most skeptical, since at noon in San Francisco they appeared to be attractive young women. I couldn’t believe that they could be fellows at night until I remembered my late friend Morrie Camhi’s book, The Prison Experience.

Morrie photographed only male prisoners, yet his book clearly shows women. Except that it doesn’t. Morrie explained that the “female” men looked more like women than most women do because they spent most of their waking time behind bars trying to look feminine, whereas sensible women have more to do with their lives than worry about their appearance.

I’ve always disliked the smug atmosphere of privilege and entitlement at Stanford, but I might just go there at twilight to visit my curious new journalism contacts.

8 February 2015

Space Critters Among Us!

Weill Cornell Medical College researchers surveyed the DNA found in New York City’s subways and discovered evidence of plague and anthrax, with only a fifth of one percent of the samples matching the human genome. I thought the most interesting result of the project was that they didn’t recognize almost half of the DNA as being associated with any known life form.

Aha!

Most fictional accounts of visitors from other planets or galaxies involve a large spaceship descending into an open area, with the aliens emerging from the craft in front of anxious human observers. That’s a really stupid way to explore an unknown planet, and outer space critters know that. It only makes sense that they’d instead quietly infiltrate a huge megalopolis like New York, Delhi, or Tokyo.

Of course.

I suspect that extraterrestrial visitors already thrive in San Francisco, but with every flavor of human here it’s hard to tell. The otherworldly creatures know that; that’s why they’re (probably) here.

9 February 2015

Kenji Ekuan

Kenji Ekuan died yesterday. When he was in his twenties, he spent three years designing the soy sauce bottle that I see in every Asian restaurant, the elegantly curved glass bottle with the red plastic top with two spouts. He reportedly developed a hundred prototypes before settling on the design that’s been reproduced over three hundred million times.

Ekuan enjoyed over half a century as one of Japan’s most acclaimed designers, but the only work I recognize as his is the ubiquitous little soy sauce bottle. That’s Americans for you, alas.

10 February 2015

Maui versus Waikiki

I’m in Hawai’i for Michael and Xuting’s wedding. The last time I was here was for Clare and Scott’s wedding. I have no idea why otherwise sensible people go to the trouble and expense of flying to an island in the middle of the ocean to marry, then jet home to breed. None of that makes any sense.

Dear friends paid for a hotel room for me in Waikiki. I appreciate their generosity, so I won’t complain about being in a claustrophobic tourist trap. In fact, I’ll be positive and report that I prefer it to my previous trip for the Maui wedding. In Waikiki, the shops sell sixteen-dollar sandwiches because it’s very profitable. In Maui, they charge sixteen-dollars for a sandwich because it’s made by enlightened, contented workers who are at one with Gaia and because it contains organic rainbow oil and no dolphin tears.

All in all, I much prefer Waikiki’s unabashed naked capitalism instead Maui’s patchouli-scented hippy shysters.

11 February 2015

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Holes-in-One!

There’s a new golfing video game featuring Kim Jong-un, and what a game it is! It may represent the only opportunity for those of us outside the people’s paradise of North Korea to appreciate what it might be like to be the Glorious Leader. Here’s how the game’s creators describe the experience.

Step into Kim Jong-Un’s golfing shoes and play a round of golf as Glorious Leader. His father, Kim Jong-Il is famous for getting a hole-in-one on every hole when he used to play. Do you have the skill required to keep up the family tradition? This is a realistic simulation of what it is like to play golf as a Glorious Leader.

The game involves no putting, since every time the player so much as taps the golf ball it goes directly into the hole hundreds of meters away. Every game is a perfect game; I can’t think of anything more boring than perfection except perhaps living in North Korea.

Stare.

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©2015 David Glenn Rinehart

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