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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXIX

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17 July 2017

gratuitous image

No. 3,458 (cartoon)

You’re a complete idiot.

You’ll never find a completer one!

18 July 2017

Can’t Keep a Good Zombie Down

George Andrew Romero, who so loved the world that he gave it and us Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, and other notable contributions to the cinematic arts, died a couple of days ago.

Maybe.

His body was interred in the family mausoleum in Mammamattawa, Ontario, but for long? I predict that some day soon—some day sooner than any of us can possibly imagine—a visitor will find the door ripped off his empty tomb with footprints in the frozen mud that disappear into the dense, remote forest.

And then what? I have no idea, but if you see Romero slowly stumbling down the street with skin peeling off his face and bones protruding through what’s left of his flesh, that would be the perfect time not to ask him for his autograph if you have any brains and want to keep them.

19 July 2017

gratuitous image

Lubricated Towel

Keep your chain clean and lubed.

It only took me half a dozen words to share everything I know about bicycle maintenance. I was thinking about adding that I know how to patch a punctured innertube, but that’s repair, not maintenance.

It’s counterintuitive, but the last step of lubricating a chain is to use a towel to remove most of the lubricant using an absorbent towel. I’ve been using the same white towel for so long that it’s more black than white.

I found a perfectly fine towel—clean, even—in the trash, so I decided to photograph my old one before discarding it.

Big mistake.

I never had any artistic intentions whilst performing routine bike servicing, but a number of friends whose judgment I trust have declared Lubricated Towel to be one of the best things I’ve done this year.

Now I can’t throw the damn thing out. I actually I can, it will just take a few years for the benefits of preserving only bits and bytes to become preferable to storing an oily cloth smeared with random grease streaks.

20 July 2017

Can’t Keep a Good Mustache Down

I had a nice visit with Sid this afternoon; it was the first time I’d seen him in years and we talked for hours.

Narcís Bardalet just had a somewhat similar experience—albeit without the conversation—when he saw an old client for the first time since 1989. He enjoyed a dramatic reunion; he didn’t see his old patron’s face until he removed the elegant silk handkerchief covering it. And when he did; there he was: Salvador Dali! In the petrified flesh!

Officials exhumed Dali’s body to collect DNA samples to settle a paternity lawsuit; it proved to be a challenging task. First, they had to remove the three-thousand kilogram stone slab sealing Dali’s grave. And then came the surprisingly difficult job of collecting bone samples.

Bardalet embalmed Dali after the showman’s death and apparently did a very good job. He reported that Dali’s corpse was like, “a mummy; it was like wood.” Workers needed an electric saw to reach his bones.

Everything about his body changed over the decades; death will do that to a person. There was, however, one constant: Dali’s mustache was perfectly preserved, and Bardalet estimates that it should stay that way for a few more centuries.

I have my doubts about the validity of the paternity claim; I’m thinking of Luis Buñuel’s description of the way Dali took advantage of admiring women.

Salvador Dali seduced many ladies, particularly American ladies, but these seductions usually consisted of stripping them naked in his apartment, frying a couple of eggs, putting them on the woman’s shoulders and, without a word, showing them the door.

I’m happily barren and thus not in a position to offer an expert opinion, but I’m as sure as one can be about these things that no one’s ever been impregnated by a fried egg.

21 July 2017

Unsharable

On those rare days when I’m enjoying delusions of adequacy, I sometimes hallucinate that I’m not a bad writer. I rarely entertain that delusion for long; all it takes is a flash of brilliance to puncture my balloon.

I was reminded of just how fragile my imagined adequacy is when I read a piece allegedly written by Barbara Lansdown, DVM, in The Onion, “People Think Being A Veterinarian Is Just Playing With Cute Animals All Day, But I Also Get To Kill Them.”

Brilliant!

I occasionally fantasize that I come up with dark humor, but it’s usually just something with cheap shock value that’s neither funny nor clever. Contrast that with Lansdown’s essay.

“... the heavy, satisfying thud Petunia’s body made when I tossed her into the incinerator right before I fired it up and cremated her. So I just like to remind people that, yes, it’s fun to play with the animals, but killing them can be very gratifying, too.”

I usually share such extraordinary finds with my friends, but I couldn’t think of anyone who wouldn’t be offended or upset by recalling the last time they paid a veterinarian to kill one of their companions.

My only consolation is that Barbara Lansdown is also fictional and that a team of writers and editors crafted the disturbing essay. I’d rather be an undistinguished individual than part of a great team.

22 July 2017

Fourteen Kilograms to Go

Gerrit is, by anyone’s definition, overweight. He’s committed to getting in better shape, and weighs himself at least once a day to measure his progress.

I think such frequent measurements are worse than useless. I can put on a kilogram of weight by drinking a liter of water and lose it just as quickly; such incremental gains and losses are irrelevant in the big picture. That’s why I inquired about Gerrit’s overall progress in dieting and exercising for the year.

“My goal was to lose ten kilograms by January, but it’s not going that well,” he reported.

“What’s the latest?” I asked.

“I’m afraid I still have fourteen kilos to go,” he replied.

He was enjoying his lunch of beer and potato chips so much that I couldn’t bring myself to critique his nutritional strategy. I don’t have to do so because someone certainly will; people are unfailingly generous with advice.

Stare.

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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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