December 17th, 1998

Bombs, Bimbos and the Really Bizarre
Rien Post says it pretty well in his December 17th entry: "Stop this fucking nonsense!"

Nonsense. The Sole Proprietor is a fan of the writer Hunter Thompson, particularly of his second book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, mainly because this was the first time that those times had been properly described in the words they required. Weird bizarre events need weird bizarre words to describe them and Thompson served up the best.

But these times? You can't parody them because no one knows when the parody begins and the reality ends. We're in the middle of impeaching a president for whatever reasons, good or bad, we're bombing some third world country that maybe needs bombing, maybe not, and the new Republican majority leader announces this day that he had a series of affairs now past that almost destroyed his family, but had never lied about it under oath before a grand jury much as the chairman of the impeachment committee itself had himself admitted last month.

How do you parody that? None of this would be believable in a work of fiction. It would be dismissed out of hand. The Sole Proprietor went over to a Radio Shack today looking for a can of compressed air to use with his cameras. As he entered the store, he glanced to his left and saw a display of small television sets with screens in the 3 inch to 7 inch size. He'd bought a similar television two years back when he wanted something for his workbench at home so he walked over to take a look.

They were set side by side, all of them on, all of them tuned to a different channel. The first one was showing a soap opera, he doesn't know which one, the next was showing the bombing of Iraq in real time much like the banner photograph above, the next had a talk show running, the next was showing cartoons, the next was showing the bombing of Iraq, also in real time, flak flying like slow motion roman candles fired up into the sky. Information overload? Maybe. Weird bizarre fucking out of hand pass the pretzels please reality? You bet. Compressed air, please.

Meanwhile, as the bombs were dropping, real and figurative both, the Sole Proprietor went out at lunch with his camera to shoot photographs and pick up some slides that were ready at the camera shop. They included photographs taken before he left for Seattle and a few at his sister's house in Portland as well. The three photographs above were taken outside of the McDonalds restaurant (are McDonalds considered restaurants?) near Shattuck.

The couple was sitting panhandling near the door and when they saw the Sole Proprietor they shouted out asking him to take their pictures. Of course. They were nice kids, clearly living on the street, a condition he is happy to have been able to skip when he was younger so he offered to trade a couple of dollars in exchange. They'd undoubtedly all be dead soon, what with the cold weather, so better to get them on film as quickly as possible. The tongue in the ear was a nice touch and they parted with the Sole Proprietor on good terms. He wasn't a newspaper photographer, right? These weren't going to show up in any of the newspapers, right? They didn't approve of that. No, said the Sole Proprietor. Just an amateur, learning his craft.

The banner photograph was stolen. The kids' pictures were taken with a Nikon F-5. He should have asked them to face the sun or opened up the lens more sitting where they were. He does this a lot, but has the feeling he's going to stop pretty quick. One of those New Year's resolution things.