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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak I


1 January 2013

gratuitous image

No. 4,101 (cartoon)

You know nothing.

I know what I know.

You know nothing.

2 January 2013

The Museum of Nonsense

I generally don’t like artistic institutions; they’re probably the inspiration for the word, “oxymoron.” I just had a rethink, though, after hearing about Fritz Gall’s creation, the Museum of Nonsense.

Gall, who describes himself as a failed inventor, created the museum to showcase the work of creators with talents more or less equivalent to his. And so, he’s exhibited a toothbrush with no bristles for people with no teeth, a “portable anonymizer,” a black stick to cover the eyes of someone who wants to be anonymous, that sort of thing.

Although I remain opposed to the very idea of artistic institutions, I nevertheless hope that one of my works is worthy of being in the Museum of Nonsense.

3 January 2013

Happy Internet Birthday!

The Internet—or at least the Internet as we now know it—is thirty years old today. On 3 January 1983, the geeks (who weren’t called geeks at the time) launched TCP/IP, which stands for Transfer Cat Protocol/Internet Protocol.

The Internet was designed by the evil geniuses at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as a network that would still function during and after a nuclear war. To that end, they constructed a massive labyrinth of heavily fortified tunnels just large enough for meandering cats. Each cat had a component of a message on an electronic chip on its collar; the fragment was useless until combined with the other fragments when all the cats reached the same destination. That’s the origin of the phrase, “The Internet is a network of tubes, and those tubes are full of cats.”

The researchers chose cats because they’d be oblivious to a nuclear war going on around them. What the scientists failed to realize is that the pusses would be equally unconcerned with their mission.

Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, academics working on the project at Stanford University, realized the cats in tubes premise was unworkable after less than a year. The cats only managed to deliver a message from one side of the campus to the other in less than one percent of the experiments, and even then the average transmission time was over seven weeks. Their revolutionary 1974 paper, A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection, laid the groundwork for using digital packets of data transmitted electronically instead of via felines.

The kitties that compromised the original Internet were fired after bureaucrats implemented TCP/IP. None of the cats cared; none of them even noticed.

4 January 2013

A Holocaust Survivor and Breast Enlargement Considerations

I had a classic Los Angeles experience yesterday at a coffee shop in Beverly Hills (of all places). The tables were inches apart. On the right, an eighty-five-year old holocaust survivor lamented that she was alone; all her family and friends were dead. On the left, an Asian man and two Asian women—all in their early twenties—were looking at clinical/medical before-and-after photographs of nude women, and discussing what sort of breast enlargements were optimal. They were oblivious to anyone who might be glancing at them; it was as if they were deciding on what brand of pants to buy.

There’s no place like Los Angeles, and for that I am most grateful.

5 January 2013

Times Are Hard All Over

The recession is getting even worse. My friend Melanie, a self-employed freelance graphic designer, fired herself. I thought that was rather drastic, but she claimed she had no choice. Grim stories like that make me glad that I’m self-unemployed.

6 January 2013

Exceptional Work

Molly introduced me to her friend Polly, a pleasant woman who makes abysmally abysmal paintings. After dutifully reviewing her canvases, I told Polly that her work was of exceptional quality.

After we left, Molly was angry at me for lying to her friend about her work. I protested that I’d been truthful, her work really was exceptional: exceptionally bad.

Molly was even more annoyed by my honesty than what she mistakenly perceived as deceit. Telling the truth is usually a bad idea; why do I waste my time?

7 January 2013

An Uneventful Day on Which to Be Born

Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, was born six hundred and fifty-eight years ago today. I was born fifty-seven years ago today. Almost no one of note was born on the seventh day of January, and I’m not sure if Thomas of Woodstock even counts since folks were using the Julian calendar at the time.

8 January 2013

gratuitous image

Gratuitous Photo of the Weak: Santa Fe Firewood

I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the first time in many years. I’m reminded why I consider New Mexico, which is neither new nor Mexican, one of the plane states, i.e., one of the American states I rarely see unless I’m in an aeroplane. It’s torturously cold and arid here; I can feel the snowflakes enter through the painful openings in my cracked skin. I photographed a scenic pile of frozen firewood to remind myself to avoid frostbite in the future.


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©2013 David Glenn Rinehart