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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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11 June 2011

gratuitous image

No. 2,412 (cartoon)

I hate myself.

You’re not alone.

12 June 2011


I love cats for many reasons, including the way they communicate. For example, a cat that hisses and perforates your skin with its sharp claws is saying, “You annoy me.” Now, Japanese researchers have created a device that allows humans to communicate using a cat’s body language.

When I first heard about the development, I imagined a set of razor-sharp talons and titanium fangs that would allow me to tell someone that s/he displeases me without the ambiguities of the English language. Instead, the developers at the Neurowear corporation created necomimi: strap-on, moveable, cat-shaped ears controlled by the human brain waves.

I imagine such feline apparel would be most useful in courtship activities, business meetings, or similar encounters in which clear, honest communication is critical. Regardless of how effective the necomimi are, I like the idea of living in a world where all humans have an auxiliary pair of cat ears. Conversely, I’d hate to see anyone with an artificial dog tail. Should anyone wear such a disgusting device, I hope I’ll have some Neurowear claws and fangs with which to express my displeasure, since that’s the only language the pea-sized canine mind can understand.

13 June 2011

A Voice Meant for Newsprint

I just heard an interview with Jill Abramson, the next executive editor of the New York Times. She has perhaps the most annoying, cringeworthy voice I’ve ever heard. Arrrrgh!

Some people have a face made for radio, Abramson clearly has a voice meant for newsprint.

14 June 2011

Government Zombie Alert

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an impossible task in a society with little interest in controlling—let alone preventing—disease. (Think alcohol, cholesterol, and other manifestations of gluttony.) The earnest government workers are nothing if not thorough, and they’ve now issued federal guidelines for an underappreciated threat.

The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder, “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?”

Unfortunately, the apparatchiks weren’t very imaginative; they just recycled generic advice. Maintain supplies of food, water, medicine, and other supplies. Keep a set of important documents. And finally, “Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team.”

Does the document compare the relative merits of shotguns versus chainsaws versus rocket-propelled grenades in dispatching zombies? It does not. Also, there’s no information whatsoever about what sort of structures are the most resistant to attacks by the living dead. Boarding up windows never seems to work; what does?

The ultimate message from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a familiar one: don’t count on government help during a zombie blitz. Or any other time.

15 June 2011

Jean Cocteau’s Amazing Day

Once again, it’s time for my annual celebration of Jean Cocteau’s Amazing Day, an occasion to reflect on his observation, “Stupidity is always amazing, no matter how used to it you become.”

Well, there’s stupidity and then there’s stupidity. Perhaps the most profound idiocy is the folly that appears to be timeless. And that brings us to Joe Barton, a Texan politician and oil company shill. Here’s what he said about the perils of wind energy quite some time ago.

Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about.

What stupendous stuporous stupidity! Anyone can come up with a dumb idea, but to suggest that humans might deplete every puff of wind on the planet is an example of amazingly amazing stupidity of Texan proportions.

16 June 2011

Stool Steak

Japanese inventors generally work in one of three fields: the cute, the convoluted, and the crazy. Today’s news involves the latter two categories, and definitely not the former.

On today’s menu: “meat” made from human excrement. Or, in lay terms, shit sausages.

The wacky Nipponese researchers have already made “steak” by synthesizing and recombining proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in human waste, along with soy protein and food coloring to get that yummy red meat look.

It’s obviously tasty and appealing, but is it safe?

“In the food safety world we say, ‘don’t eat poop,’ ” explained Douglas Powell. The Kansas State University food safety professor added, “It could be quite safe to eat, but I’m sure there’s a yuck factor there.”

Yuck factor?! We humans have been eating food grown with feces fertilizers for centuries. All the Japanese innovators did was eliminate the intermediate step of vegetation. And anyway, I doubt anyone will notice the difference between eating modified human ordure and the amalgam of slaughterhouse waste that currently passes for meat.

17 June 2011

Recipe for Failure

I’m cooking dinner for Cecelia tonight, and it’s a challenge. She has a refined palate, and hasn’t been impressed with the peasant fare I’ve served her in the past. Cecelia tactfully suggested that I might benefit from taking a few dozen cooking classes.

One of the main things I learned from my formal education is to avoid formal education. I’m sure there’s nothing wring with an innocuous cooking class, but the idea of even wasting five minutes of my time listening to someone explain how to cut an onion—something I’ve been doing efficiently for decades—is insufferable.

I decided to compromise by looking at recipes for the first time in decades. The first one I came across called for, “one cup canned roasted red bell pepper.” Canned roasted peppers? Even a plebeian like me wouldn’t resort to canned peppers unless I was camping in Siberia.

Out of perverse curiosity, I read the rest of the recipe, all the way to the credit, “Submitted by the Canned Food Alliance.”

I gave up on recipes, and resorted to a familiar tactic. I added so many fresh habanero peppers to the main course that Cecelia couldn’t eat it and discover how unappetizing my concoction really tasted.


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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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