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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak II


9 January 2012

gratuitous image

No. 7,780 (cartoon)

I love you.

Is that you or the whisky talking?

I was talking to the whisky.

10 January 2012

Hawking’s Disease

Stephen Hawking wasn’t well enough to make it to his seventieth birthday party; he has Gehrig's disease. I wonder whose disease Lou Gehrig had?

11 January 2012

Gratuitous Photo of the Weak: Bathroom Tiles

Once upon a time (probably the fifties or sixties) someone covered up the white hexagonal tiles in the building that’s now home to the Internet Archive. Why they did this, and why they chose hideously ugly linoleum, this I do not know. Decades later, the linoleum squares are disintegrating, revealing the long hidden honeycomb underneath.

12 January 2012

Expired Food Banquet

My friends give me lots of food for the wrong reason. I’m not talking about lunches, dinners, and the odd breakfast; those are of course the right reasons. I’m talking about the food they’re afraid to eat because of a little bit of ink. The ink in question is the warning printed on the boxes, bottles, and cans alerting consumers that the contents will become unsafe to consume on a certain date.

What a load of balderdash and poppycock!

Any nominal adult with a modicum of intelligence should be able to tell what’s edible and what’s not. Moldy cheese? Slice off the mold, give it to the dog and enjoy the rest. Putrefying fish and in the latter stages of decomposition? Well, that’s all for the dog. I don’t know why people trust an arbitrary date printed by a machine more than they trust their senses.

Penelope provided today’s lunch, a can of tuna labeled, “Consume by July 24 2009,” exactly nine hundred days ago. It tasted fine; I’m sure it was perfectly safe to eat. Canned food never goes bad.

Well, almost never.

Gareth gave me a box of food he’d stored at his cabin in the Sierra, warning me that, “it’s been around a while.” I ignored his advisory, and decided to have the pick of the litter for dinner: a can of clam chowder. At least that’s what the label said.

After opening the can, I discovered that it wasn’t the New England style, nor did it have the distinctive red color of the Manhattan version either. I’d never seen anything like this chowder: vomitous green with the texture of clotted, coagulated mucus. It was even unfit for a dog, so I eliminated the middleman and poured it into the toilet.

I’m not going to deny that canned food sometimes rots. If everyone knew how safe “out of date” food is, they wouldn’t give me theirs.

13 January 2012

Planets Beyond Tierra del Fuego

Astronomers now estimate that our galaxy is home to some one hundred and sixty billion planets, and that there may be five hundred billion galaxies in the universe. When I multiplied those two numbers, my computer gave me a useless sum: an eight followed by sixteen zeroes.

The only logical conclusion I can reach is that the universe is larger than I can ever grasp. This ignorance doesn’t bother me, though. I’ve never been to Tierra del Fuego, let alone all of those planets.

14 January 2012

Three Flavors of Memories

I recently came across an article by Charles Fernyhough in which he described three types of memory: semantic, autobiographical, and flashbulb. Semantic memories are those defined by space and time coordinates, e.g., I first swam in the ocean when I was ten while visiting relatives in Florida.

My personal history is comprised of autobiographical memories, which may or may not be true. For example, I’m amazed when I read letters I wrote decades ago. They’re clearly extemporaneous descriptions of my life at the time, but they bear little resemblance to the narrative of my life I’ve unconsciously constructed. These discrepancies don’t bother me; my memories are generally better than the events that actually transpired.

And then there’s flashbulb memory. I can clearly recall answering an early morning phone call twenty years ago; it was my mother calling to tell me that my father was dead. The majority of my flashbulb memories are too intimate to recount; I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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©2012 David Glenn Rinehart