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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XI


13 March 2012

gratuitous image

No. 5,251 (cartoon)

You’re being very negative.

No I’m not.

You certainly are.

14 March 2012

Turning a Concept into an Idea

Joey’s a gifted scientist; he’s great at getting research grants. Over lunch today, he shared the opening line that led to over a million dollars from a certain foundation.

“I have a concept, and am seeking enough funding to turn it into an idea.”


15 March 2012

Encyclopaedia Britannica Dead and Reborn

I just read that the current edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica is the last one to be printed on paper. The company is going to continue to publish the venerable tome, but it will only be available over the Internet. The first edition was published way back in 1768, but new media have rendered the printed version increasingly irrelevant.

“A printed encyclopedia is obsolete the minute that you print it,” Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica, noted, “whereas our online edition is updated continuously.”

A lot of old people such as myself have mixed emotions about the development. On one hand, it makes perfect business and intellectual sense. On the other hand, I can remember the analog pleasure of leafing through the encyclopedia as a boy and going from one unrelated—except by alphabetical order—article to another.

John Cage loved mushrooms and music, and observed that there were adjacent to each other in the encyclopedia. I’m sure there must be a point to that anecdote, but I have no idea what it might be.

16 March 2012

gratuitous image

Gratuitous Photo of the Weak: A mind is a terriblething

The person who pasted up this billboard was incompetent, and carelessly merged the word “terrible” with “thing” to create a new unword, “terriblething.” It doesn’t matter—most things don’t—since the advertisement is so disintegrated that it’s unrecognizable.

17 March 2012

Human Behaving Badly

Katia asked why a nice person like me creates such appalling and horrid cartoons, music, and fallacious stories like this one. I explained that “nice” isn’t interesting, and it’s certainly not amusing. I think Michael Key made a relevant observation.

“Drama and comedy, it only works when you observe humans behaving badly. If everyone’s being kind to each other, there’s nothing to laugh at.”

18 March 2012

A Fishy Rose by Another Name

Michelle is enamored of Maximilian Bitterman. Every recipe he publishes goes straight into her collection of favorite recipes, regardless of whether she’s ever tried them. I’m not complaining, though, since she often tests his concoctions on me. That’s a bad idea and a good idea for the same reason: I’ll happily eat almost anything and everything.

Tonight we tried Bitterman’s latest dish, Cod Crusted with Shallots and Capers. It involved bathing pieces of cod in a mixture of raw eggs, minced shallots and capers, then rolling them around in a mixture of cornmeal and ground croutons, and finally putting them in a hot frying pan with extra virgin olive oil. It was delicious; with those ingredients how could it not be?

“This tastes wonderful,” I enthused, “it reminds me of my father’s cooking.”

“You father died twenty years ago,” she replied, “he couldn’t have used this new recipe.”

“It was remarkably similar,” I explained, “but he used the generic name for the dish: fried fish.”

Michelle’s face fell when she realized Bitterman’s recipe was just a tarted-up version of a blue-collar staple. I had no such conceptual problem; I’ll happily eat almost anything and everything.


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©2012 David Glenn Rinehart

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