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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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24 December 2016

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No. 4,683 (cartoon)

Happy holidays!

Goddamned oxymorons ...

25 December 2016

The Patron Saint of Pawnbrokers

Vencentio told me that Saint Nicholas, doing business as Father Christmas, is the patron saint of pawnbrokers.

Of course!

People go to pawnbrokers to get the money to buy lamentable Christmas gifts for people, then the recipients take those same gifts to pawnbrokers in order to get cash in exchange for something they neither needed or wanted.

I don’t observe Christmas, but, if I wanted to do so, Mission Jewelry and Loan—the nearest pawnshop—would provide the ideal vantage point. Plus, there are a number of acclaimed burrito parlours nearby.

Bah humbug con queso!

26 December 2016

Free Joe!

I begin every day with my favorite—and only—recreational drug. (Since I cheerfully acknowledge that I’m physically and psychologically addicted, that raises the semantic question of whether the stimulant I’ve used almost daily for over forty years is still recreational.) My drug use has never been problematical, and virtually none of the other tens of millions of American addicts who use it daily have had any serious problems as a result. Until recently, that is.

Joseph Schwab was driving on the highway north of here when a California Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agent arrested him for driving under the influence of a drug.

Cocaine? No. Opiates? Negatory. Methamphetamine? Nothing. Oxycodone? Nope. THC? Ixnay, et cetera.

As Schwab learned the hard way, when the government is out to get you, the government usually wins. After negative roadside tests for alcohol and a blood test that yielded no incriminating results, prosecutors ordered a second round of blood tests. That’s when they found the alleged cause of his impairment: caffeine.

Yep, Schwab was high on coffee.

I’m trembling with excitement after my morning coffee, so I’m about to go on a long bicycle ride. Despite Schwab’s prosecution for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, no cyclist in San Francisco has been charged with drinking and driving since 1991, when John Rovinsky threw his empty vodka bottle at a police car.

As for poor Joseph Schwab, I’m sure that the American Coffee Council will hire a legal team of equal caliber to the one that allowed O. J. Simpson to get away with murder. They simply cannot afford to lose the patronage of tens of millions of happy caffeine addicts.

Free Joe!

27 December 2016

Fast Cheetahs and Slow Observers

I’m ignoring the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London’s recent report warning that cheetahs may soon be extinct in the wild; here’s why.

Years ago, Olivia worked on a rhino survey for the Wildlife Conservation Society. It was easy work; she went to her assigned spot in the field, put up a camouflage umbrella, opened a flask of frozen gin, then worked on her book. She looked up every time she saw a large shape lumbering along with her peripheral vision, and dutifully made a note if it was a rhinoceros. She did that for six months, and finished her seven-hundred-page novel in the process.

That worked fine for rhinoceroses, but what about cheetahs, the fastest land animal in the world (albeit perhaps not for much longer)? The cats can sprint at one hundred and twenty kilometers an hour in short bursts; what if they don’t like being ogled by voyeurs and dart past the observer before s/he even notices the small dust cloud they left in their wake?

That’s why I’m not concerned about the dire warnings about cheetahs; I think they’re outwitting the investigators. The power pusses are still in trouble; I fear I will live long enough to see the day when there is no more African wildlife, only African zoolife.

But that’s not news; that hasn’t been news in decades.

28 December 2016

Carrie Fisher’s Bad Timing

Carrie Fisher is dead, “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.”

That’s a great obituary; she wrote it for herself. Penning her own remembrance was a good move, but her timing was not. She died yesterday, too late to be included in all the end of the year “those we lost in 2016” filler compilations.

She died young. (My definition of young is, “anyone who was born after I was.”) She had a rich, productive, and creative life, but she seems to be remembered by adolescent men of all ages for appearing in a revealing intergalactic bondage outfit when she was a lithe teenager.

That is, of course, a cliché, but then the Hollywood economy runs on clichés, such as Fisher’s account of how she landed that role.

“I slept with some nerd. I hope it was George [Lucas?],” she recollected without recollecting much. “I took too many drugs to remember.”

That’s entertainment!

29 December 2016

Old Swine in New Bottles

Another day, another useless headline, this one from the Natchitoches Tattler-Gazette ...

“Alt-right” Groups Will “Revolt” If Trump Shuns White Supremacy, Leaders Say

“Alt-right” is just old swine in new bottles; it’s how the Nazis, fascists, racists, et cetera are now using that brand name to market their bigotry and xenophobia.

The name may be new but the story is not: anyone who’s not a cretin and/or a bigot knows that such organizations always have been and always will be revolting.

30 December 2016

End of the Line: Leslie Graham 1930-2016

Leslie Graham died a few days before his eighty-seventh birthday after what appeared to be a wonderful life. I used the phrase “appeared to be,” because even though I spent thirteen years with him after marrying his daughter, he remained something of a sphinx. I never really knew what he was thinking, but he was unfailingly warm, kind, polite, and generous.

He was a good person who welcomed me into his family and made my life is richer. I can’t think of higher praise than that.

31 December 2016

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Rainier Ale: The End of the Line (Unfinished)

In April I bought my last six-pack of Rainier Ale after learning that the so-called brewer would no longer concoct the inimitable elixir. I decided to make an alleged art project out of the last half dozen pints I’ll ever see, Rainier Ale: The End of the Line (Unfinished). Here’s what I wrote at the time ...

I’ll drink one of them whenever someone I love dies. I’ll sip it slowly, meditatively ... That’s what I plan on doing with five of the cans. As for the sixth, I’ll save that for my wedding or my wake, whichever comes first.

Charles, and Leslie died, and I wonder whether the last can will be consumed at a wedding or wake? I’m in no hurry to find out.

Happy new year!


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©2016 David Glenn Rinehart

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