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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XII


19 March 2017

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No. 2,192 (cartoon)

I’m no longer interested in pain.

Pain is still interested in you.

20 March 2017

Into the Southern Hemisphere

Today is the first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere, but Kurt insists it isn’t. Or, rather, that we’re not in the northern hemisphere anymore, that is.

He maintains that since it’s now spring, San Francisco is in the Southern Hemisphere. I told him that was nonsense, but he contended that he could prove it.

“It’s warm in the south and cold in the north, isn’t it?” he asked. “That’s why spring begins when we head to the southern hemisphere and the weather gets warmer.”

“In six months we’ll enter back into the northern hemisphere and the climate will get colder,” he continued. “It’s perfectly obvious if you think about it.”

“And especially if you don’t,” I replied.

I decided to continue our farcical discussion.

“So what hemisphere is Argentina in at the moment?”

“Well, it’s fall there and getting colder, so obviously they’re back in the northern hemisphere since the earth rotates.”

“And how about Hawai’ians who live on the equator?”

“They are either in both hemispheres are neither. I’m not all that much of a scientist, so I’m not exactly sure which it is.”

“That’s quite alright,” I assured him, “I’ve never really looked to you for scientific insights, although you provided a most unusual one today.”

21 March 2017

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One of the differences between the United States constitution and the Colombian constitution is that the Colombians seem to pay attention to theirs.

The Colombian Constitutional Court recently ruled that workers can drink alcohol and use other drugs on the job as long as their performance isn’t adversely affected. That’s because, “all people are equal before the law and asserts that the state has an obligation to provide special protections for people who, owing to their economic circumstances or physical or mental condition, find themselves in a manifestly weak position.”

Right on, compañeros!

The decision elicited the predictable righteous indignation from people who are high on caffeine at work, but I don’t see what the hoo-ha is all about. Actors, musicians, artists, and writers drink on the job all the time. Why, I’m even having a tipple as we don’t speak. Why shouldn’t people with menial jobs have the same privileges? That brings us back to the Colombian constitution, which provides, “equality of opportunity for all workers.”

Hail, Columbia, happy land!

22 March 2017

Lots o’ Trees!

The thing is—now here’s the thing—is that San Francisco is home to six-hundred and sixty-eight types of trees.

Who knew? No one, that’s who.

The city supervisors hired a team of professional arborists to do a thorough census of each and every Sans Frisco tree. The experts discovered just how many species of trees live here, which in turn led to a reassessment of the arboreal census.

I thought it couldn’t be that hard to count trees since they’re as stationary as trees. Once again, I thought wrong.

As before, the researchers relied on high-resolution satellite photos to count the leaves or needles then divide by the appropriate numbers for each species. In the past, scientists used one number for leaves and another for needles. With the results of the new survey, however, they were able to use the correct number for each species.

Thanks to their assiduous research, we now know that just under one hundred and twenty-five thousand trees call Sans Frisco home, assuming a tree calls anything anything. That’s thirty-five thousand more trees than specialists’ previous estimate.

Predictably, the new information has led government bureaucrats to launch an inquiry into how to tax trees to fund more such studies.

23 March 2017

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Carcass Snot Snakes

I was roaming the docks in El Grenada in the hope that someone would give me some flavor of fresh fish, ideally a salmon. No one’s ever given me a fish on the docks or anywhere else. I’ve never heard of that ever happening to anyone, but there has to be a first time for everything.

I did run across a large, unlocked, and unguarded container labeled “Carcass Snot Snakes.” I thought it might be a trap or worse, so I didn’t open it. Hours later finally occurred to me that it might have been full of fresh salmon. Fishermen are sneaky that way.

24 March 2017

Get Enough Sleep

Christopher Thomas Knight spent over a quarter of a century living in solitary isolation in the Maine woods. He survived as a hunter-gatherer: he hunted for unoccupied cabins and gathered the owners’ food and other belongings. This gave him a certain celebrity status as something of a folk hero. (Surviving the brutal winters was part of his mystique; I doubt he would have achieved the same positive notoriety had he lived in a subway tunnel and burgled apartments.)

Knight’s not exactly a great spokesperson for the hermit community; he couldn’t begin to put into words why he went into the woods. He didn’t despise civilization, and he didn’t go there to have a religious experience or to find himself. He couldn’t explain his behavior. He’d probably still be there had he not been arrested after over a thousand robberies.

Knight’s biographer was unable to tease an explanation out of his subject; the best he could do was to get one piece of advice from him.

“Get enough sleep,” he suggested.

That’s good counsel; it took me decades to figure that out as well.

25 March 2017

Stinky Hippie History Crap

Paul dragged me to the Berkeley Art Museum when he visited me during his west coast tour today. Of course, he didn’t literally drag me over, but his cajoling and bullying had the same result. He insisted that I see the exhibit, Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia.

The whole wretched ordeal reminded me of why I haven’t been in a museum for years; I didn’t see a single thing of interest. Even worse, the curators played crappy music from the late sixties. Absolute rubbish. I wonder if my parents just might have been right about the mediocre guitar solos after all.

There were, however, a couple of positive omissions. I didn’t see a single mention of the [I Will Be So] Grateful [When They Are All] Dead. And not a whiff of patchouli oil either; whew!

Paul said that he was proud that he’d dragged me out of my comfort zone. I was happy to return to it, and that’s where we left it.


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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