1999 Notebook: Interval XXXVII

13 December 1999
Death, Decaffeinated
I recently heard the tragic story of a dying friend-of-a-friend who was suffering a slow, painful death.

These things happen.

The dying woman asked for coffee, tea, any real beverage with real caffeine.

The dying woman's request confused the nurses. The hospital employees were authorized to give her infinite amounts of morphine, but were thoroughly flummoxed when it came to something as simple as administering caffeine.

She died in pain, suffering withdrawal from her favorite addiction.

14 December 1999
No Free Pornography
I told Heidi that I was going to have dinner with a friend of mine, a noted pornographer.

"I had no idea you were friends with a pornographer, notable or otherwise," she replied.

"Well, I am," I lied. "I'll give you the Internet address where you can see her stuff if you wish."

"Do I have to pay to look at it?" Heidi asked.

"No," I replied, "it's a free site."

"Well, then it's not pornography," she declared.

She was, of course, right.

15 December 1999
Furniture Indicating Space and Art
There's a bookstore in San Francisco near the corner of Church and Market with a curious sticker on the side of one of its many shelves:

    Estos muebles solamente indican los espacios.

    This furniture is only to indicate space.

Someone had affixed the label on a functional bookshelf full of books. It must have been art.

16 December 1999
Come Inside the Music?
I saw a banner for the San Francisco Symphony near an "adult" book store on Turk Street. The banner featured the symphony's conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, admonishing passers by to "Come inside the music."

Stuart insists the banner was a prank by the porn shop owners, but it looked like official San Francisco Symphony propaganda to me.

I suppose we'll never know with any certainty whether or not it was a parody.

17 December 1999
Sexing My Girlfriend
Samantha's six-year old son recently asked me if I'd ever "sexed" my girlfriend. I was tempted to explain to him that "to sex" means "to determine the sex of," but then decided not to waste my time giving the kid a grammar lesson. Instead, I assumed my pseudo-adult persona.

"Sexing is something one doesn't talk about, even with friends," I lectured. I wasn't sure whether that was always true in all cases, but it seemed like a suitably moral thing to say.

The kid shrugged.

I am so very glad I'm not a parent.

18 December 1999
Less Than Meets the Eye
I've been looking through a thick tome of Werner Bitner's drawings. Each image is a meticulously rendered pen and ink drawing of Dresden buildings. Each plate is quite detailed, perfectly rendered, and exquisitely boring.

Adlai Stevenson could have been thinking about such art works when he observed, "There is less here than meets the eye."

19 December 1999
A man who purported to be a captain in the U.S. Army sent a note saying my piece on military acronyms was "FUBAR."


Since almost all military acronyms seem to include some variation of the word "fuck," I concluded that the first two letters represented "fucked up."

I mentioned all this to Larry, who told me I was half right and half wrong.

"Which half is which?" I asked.

"Well, FUBAR is 'Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition'," he replied.

I asked him where I went wrong.

"There are a few military acronyms, like NAVY," Larry said, "that don't have an 'F'."

"I thought 'NAVY' was just 'navy'," I responded.

"We ex-sailors know it means Never Again Volunteer Yourself."

That makes sense. I hear the navy, not unlike myself, is FUBAR.

20 December 1999
Stefan's Lament
On a slow Monday morning, Stefan lamented, "Boredom comes quickly when there's nothing to do."

Who could argue with that? Not me, certainly.

21 December 1999
Way to Go, Charles!
A German corporation recently published a "greatest hits" volume of photographs made by a friend of mine, Charles Gatewood.

Way to go, Charles!

Charles provided an interesting perspective on the editing process.

"The first hundred photographs were easy to choose, and it wasn't too difficult to select the second hundred images either," he explained. "But by the time it came to find the third hundred pictures, I thought the selection criteria were starting to get a bit flaccid; the quality was perhaps starting to wear thin."

I found Charles' candor refreshing. I don't know of many other artists who would admit that all of their "greatest works" might not all be their greatest works.

Way to go, Charles!

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©1999 David Glenn Rinehart