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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XII


19 March 2024

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No. 7,398 (cartoon)

You said that the two of you would always be together.

Have you ever smelled a rotting corpse?

20 March 2024

Kraler-Rath Syndrome Misdiagnosis

Katia is scared and upset after discovering that she has Kraler-Rath Syndrome, one of those horrific maladies almost no one has. If you decide to choose your medical ailment, I suggest something relatively trivial like an ingrown toenail or diaper rash.

And yet—and yet!—’twas Katia who decided on her affliction, with a little help from Dr. Internet. She typed in her symptoms, perhaps both real and imagined, and Dr. Internet suggested that she might be suffering from Kraler-Rath Syndrome, and that was good enough for her.

That reminded me of the time Michelle, who’s been “done with men” for years, learned she was pregnant soon after her seventieth birthday. She laughed when her doctor told her, and so did the physician, who explained that, according to the latest analysis of her blood tests, she appeared to be expecting a newborn in a few months.

I shared that anecdote with Katia to point out the reason professionals spend years and years in medical school before making diagnoses, but she remained unconvinced. Dr. Internet is a dangerously incompetent quack, but does have one attractive quality for gullible people: the impostor tells them what they choose to hear.

21 March 2024

Whatever Happened to Bad Sex?

I’m sorry for the intentionally misleading title.

Who am I kidding? No, of course I’m not repentant; I’m not sorry at all.

I’ve heard tell that there’s plenty of bad sex out there, along with bad everything else. At this point, I suppose it’s about time to get around to the point, so here’s the point: the Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction has vanished without a trace, or even an “Aiwa, aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.” (The previous sentence is from Sean Thomas’s Kissing England, the book that won the uncoveted 2001 prize.)

The editors originally blamed Coronarama for their sloth, but that was four years ago. No, the real reason is extortion.

In 2020 an Internet gossip rag reported that an unnamed Literary Review administraitor approached a woman at the Century Club in Soho and told her, “Your pants are so shiny that I can see myself in them.” He went on to ask “Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk past again?” and “I’ve lost my teddy bear! Can I sleep with you instead?”

Unbeknownst to him, and later very beknownst to everyone at the periodical, the woman he targeted was the partner of an author nominated for the 2020 Bad Sex in Fiction award. She threatened to go public with the administraitor’s name and cheesy pickup lines unless the awards were canceled.

And they were.

And they are.

The end.*

*The end of the awards, that is; bad sex remains as popular as ever. Or so I’ve heard.

22 March 2024

Eno at the Grocery Store

I was at my local grocery store somewhere between the bananas and the blueberries when I heard the unthinkable: a song from Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno’s 1973 debut album, Here Come the Warm Jets, on the store’s background music system.

I’m so glad Eno (his mononymous name) wasn’t with me. How thoroughly horrificacious to hear your work reduced to background shopping music, something the corporate overseers chose to keep the kumquats fresh or deter shoplifting, possibly both.

On second thought, I won’t shed a tear for Eno: he knew the job was dangerous when he took it.

23 March 2024

Cleanliness Is Next to Ignorance

Matthias van Ginneken and Penny Wozniakiewicz went to the roof of Canterbury Cathedral with their vacuum cleaners to give the place a good hoovering. It’s about time, no one’s cleaned up there for decades, perhaps centuries.

That’s the point.

They’re looking for micrometeorites, tiny microscopic spheres of cosmic dust. And if they do make such a discovery, and perhaps some sort of scientific breakthrough, we can all thank the people who left the cathedral roof untouched for so long.

There’s an important lesson here for all of us: don’t clean unless it’s absolutely necessary. That mold in the shower just might contain the organisms that could cure eyebrow fungal infections. All the crap in your attic and basement could be critical habitat for species unknown to science. And that dust? Leave it alone; van Ginneken and Wozniakiewicz might need it someday.

24 March 2024

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The Scottish Hot Seductress

Lloyds bought Scottish Widows in 2000. (Or maybe it was Lloyd’s. I gave up on my laggardly research when I couldn’t find a single Lloyd who has a surname.) The insurance company goes all the way back to 1815, when the Napoleonic Wars created a lot of widows.

A lot has changed since then, and since I wrote The Polish Scottish Widow with the haggis pout in 1996. The corporation’s new advertising agency issued a directive that the word “widow” should never be uttered because it’s “unnecessarily vivid.” I saw an internal memo explaining that the organization’s greatest draw is the attractive young women in faux mourning attire (and thus unattached), so the copywriters came up with the new Scottish Widows jingle:

You know she’s single,
She’s ready to trot,
Selling insurance,
Makes her hot!

Sex sells; that’s exactly the kind of fresh thinking the insurance industry needs!

25 March 2024

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Sixteen Frozen Pink Salmon Fillets Entombed in Plastic

Once upon a time I went fishing with Huey and pulled a huge sixteen-kilo writhing salmon right out of the Pacific Ocean I did. (Or something like that; the fish gets bigger and heavier each time I recall the story.)

That was a once-in-a-lifetime (so far) story. Nowadays I get my Pacific salmon from the frozen foods section of my local market. It’s icy fish flesh encapsulated in plastic with no head, no tail, no guts, no fins, no bones, no scales, and not very salmony at all. It is, however, beguilingly photogenic; that’s why I made Sixteen Frozen Pink Salmon Fillets Entombed in Plastic.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2024 David Glenn Rinehart

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