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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak LII

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24 December 2013

gratuitous image

No. 9,434 (cartoon)

This isn’t what it looks like.

Nothing is.

25 December 2013

Have a Krampus Xmas!

This Christmas isn’t quite as wretched as others, thanks in part to Krampus. Jasmin explained that Krampus is St. Nicholas’s sidekick. If you’ve been good, St. Nicholas dba Santa Claus gives you presents. But if you’ve been naughty, Krampus stuffs you into a burlap sack, takes you back to his lair, and cooks you.

Bone appétit!

I don’t understand the working arrangement between St. Nicholas and Krampus. Is it a binary proposition between good and bad, or do they coöperate on other levels? For example, if I ask for a pot roast, might Santa Claus give me the meat from a nasty kid that Krumpus baked? If St. Nicholas discovers that an ostensibly good kid is actually monstrous, does he turn over the miscreant to Krampus to boil alive?

I don’t think Krampus is doing such a great job. With so many hungry people and so many wicked children, he clearly has a lot more work to do.

26 December 2013

gratuitous image

Unhealthy Choice

As I noted last month, McDonald’s executives clearly care about the welfare of the peons they employ. They’re not concerned enough about their welfare to pay them a living wage, but are certainly interested enough to be most magnanimous with advice.

For example, the company’s Internet site advises against eating McDonald’s offerings; it labels a typical meal, “unhealthy choice.” It goes on to warn that the items on its menu, “are typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt, and may put people at risk for becoming overweight.”

That really is good advice. I wonder if the corporation’s propagandists are using some flavor of reverse psychology? If it’s that bad for you, it must be really delicious.

27 December 2013

No Beer?! You’re Squirreled!

A woman in South Carolina ...

(With an introduction like that, you know this story won’t have a happy ending.)

A woman in South Carolina sent her husband out to get beer on Christmas eve, but all the stores were closed for the holiday. He came home empty-handed; that proved to be most unfortunate. She expressed her displeasure by allegedly bashing the pitiful man over his head with a ceramic squirrel. The rodent apparently shattered, so she purportedly then used it to repeatedly stab him.

Charleston County sheriff’s deputies found Helen Williams and her husband covered in blood when they arrived at their North Charleston home. The officers believed her explanation—her husband slipped and fell—to be most unconvincing. At last report, the squirrely woman was in jail facing charges of criminal domestic violence.

I can’t imagine such a thing happening to me. First, I only associate with nice, sane people. Second, I always have an emergency bottle of wine readily available in case of an emergency. And finally, I have no rodents, ceramic or otherwise.

28 December 2013

Watch What You Drink!

My doctor told me to watch what I drink. I can’t believe I paid for such obvious advice: I always watch what I drink very carefully.

Of course!

The last time I didn’t pay close attention my libation, some other scoundrel drank it.

29 December 2013

gratuitous image

Archival Inferno Remnant

I was pleased when my friends at the Internet Archive raised a lot of money using my photograph of one of their buildings burning down; that’s why I made it. Chris, a friend of mine who’s a professional photographer, described it as, “a great stock shot.” He meant that as a compliment, and that’s how I accepted it.

The thing I remember most clearly about the inferno—in addition to the blaze itself—was how the intense heat blistered the paint off the cement walls and lifted large patches of the building’s skin into the night sky. At dawn, the adjacent lawn was covered with pieces of charred, burnt paint. (Or whatever it was, perhaps something really nasty like asbestos and lead.)

I picked up fragments of the burnt building’s exterior and put them in an empty pizza box to photograph some day. Since the calendar year is almost over, I decided that today is someday. I was pleased with the image of the first remnant I photographed. I soon discovered that the first photograph of the series would be the only photograph: every other fragile piece I touched broke into small fragments and gritty dust.

And so, I ended up with a single piece, Archival Inferno Remnant. That’s better than none, and better than usual.

30 December 2013

Janice Keihanaikukauakahihulihe’ekahaunaele’s Driver’s License

Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihulihe’ekahaunaele finally won her long-running battle with Hawai’ian bureaucrats to have her full name on her driver’s license.

Until now, the official form only allowed for thirty-five characters; Keihanaikukauakahihulihe’ekahaunaele weighed in at thirty-six. The administraitors caved in to her persistent protests, and now allow for surnames of up to forty characters.

But what if Janice Keihanaikukauakahihulihe’ekahaunaele marries Jane Kalehuawehe and they decide to hyphenate their surname to Keihanaikukauakahihulihe’ekahaunaele-Kalehuawehe? I don’t think we’ve seen the last of these disputes.

Things could be much worse: what if the Hawai’an alphabet had twenty-six characters instead of twelve?

31 December 2013

The Two Best Explanations of the Year

I get really annoyed by pundits who publish their best-of-the-year picks before today. How can they ignore the possibility that something better might come along at the end of December? That’s why I waited until the year was over to cite the two best explanations of 2013.

“The method considers the complete enzyme-substrate complex together with the surrounding solvent and evaluates all the different quantum mechanical and classical energy factors that can affect the reaction pathway. These factors include the quantum mechanical energies associated with bond cleavage and charge redistribution of the substrate and the classical energies of steric and electrostatic interactions.”
—Michael Levitt, Nobel Prize winner

“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.”
—Rob Ford, mayor, Toronto, Canada

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©2013 David Glenn Rinehart

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