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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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23 July 2011

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No. 9,976 (cartoon)

I’m lovely in mad with you.

24 July 2011

Club Twenty-Seven Update

Amy Winehouse died yesterday, and in doing so became the newest member of Club Twenty-Seven. That ad hoc group comprises musicians who died at the age of twenty-seven, including Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, et al.

The Club Twenty-Seven stories amuse me; they’re wonderful examples of how innumerate people confuse correlation with causation. (Or is it the other way around?)

I don’t know anything about Winehouse except that she wrote and recorded at least one memorable and prophetic line.

They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, “No, no, no.”

And she didn’t.

That integrity, plus dying before she was old enough to make appallingly trite songs like Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney, means she’ll be remembered well.

25 July 2011

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Urinal Marketing Strategies

Angelina took me to the Headlands Center for the Arts yesterday to visit the open studios there. I saw a lot of unmemorable work, but nothing extraordinary, i.e., worth plagiarizing.

We were about to leave when I poked my head through a basement door and discovered a small inventory of urinals. I asked one of the docents what they were for, and discovered that the organization supports itself by marketing the urinals as replicas of R. Mutt’s Fountain.

I protested that the large, standing urinals looked nothing like Marcel Duchamp’s piece. The volunteer explained that American collectors were willing to pay more for an ostentatious homage than a faithful reproduction.

I liked the crass commercialism, cynicism, and disdain for venerated icons. Their stupid project seemed more artistic than anything I saw upstairs.

26 July 2011

Enjoy Who Enjoys You

I had dinner with Freddie and his family tonight. His teenage daughter Evelyn announced that she wants a tattoo. Specifically, she wants the words, “Destroy What Destroys You,” inked in Gothic letters across her back.

“We’ve had this discussion a hundred times before, and we’ll probably have it a hundred times again,” Freddie sighed. “It’s not going to happen.”

Teenagers are supposed to torment their parents, and Evelyn was doing a great job. I couldn’t take sides as a dinner guest, so I instead suggested a compromise.

“I agree with your father that having something so negative permanently inked on your body may not be a wise move,” I said. “Instead, I suggest, ‘Enjoy Who Enjoys You.’ And definitely use a classic sans serif face like Goudy; it will age better.”

Freddie and Evelyn agreed that was one of the most imbecilic ideas they’d ever heard. Their reaction pleased me; I was happy to provide them with some common ground.

27 July 2011

Film Selection Strategies

Alexia and Hubert are at each other’s throats again; love can be that way.

Hubert told me that he and Alexia squabbled over what film to watch. She became increasingly annoyed when he vetoed each of her suggestions.

“I can see why she’d be frustrated,” I said.

“It was actually a philosophical dispute,” Hubert replied. “She was annoyed with my belief that I shouldn’t risk wasting my time watching a movie I might not like.”

“How would you know whether you’d enjoy it without seeing it?” I asked.

“Exactly!” Hubert agreed. “Unfortunately, she couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t risk watching a film I hadn’t seen before.”

Alexia and Hubert are at each other’s throats again; love can be that way if it’s done right.

28 July 2011

Beaver Update

A month or so ago I noted that Beaver, Oklahoma, is the place, “Where fun comes to die.”

Toni sent me a note admonishing me for failing to note that Beaver hosts the annual World Cow Chip Throwing Championship.

Oversight corrected.

Good times in Beaver!

29 July 2011

A Computer as Simple as a Telephone

I always correct my friends when they say they’re “computer illiterate.” I point out that I don’t consider myself to be “telephone literate” when I punch in a string of numbers into my handset then start talking to someone in Edinburgh. I’m using a satellite for the conversation, but I have no idea of how it works or how it stays up there.

That’s how it should be; the engineers who built the telecommunications systems did a good job. When someone’s frustrated by a computer, it doesn’t mean s/he’s stupid, it means the computer was poorly designed.

I end my little pep talk on a negative note. I point out that computers will never be as simple and reliable as a telephone until after our generation is long dead.

After reading a comment by Bjarne Stroustrup, I may be wrong about that last assumption.

“I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone,” the Danish computer scientist said. “My wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone.”


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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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