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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak VI


5 February 2014

gratuitous image

No. 995 (cartoon)

You’re feeble.

I’m young at heart.

Maybe, but you’re decrepit elsewhere.

6 February 2014

Park Tool GSC-1 Gear Cleaning Brush

Dr. Goggin recently took a look at my bike and grimaced at the amount of schmutz in my gears. He pulled out a curious blue tool with large, serrated teeth at one end and a nylon brush at the other. He put the toothy end between the spinning gears and harvested a rich bounty of tarry, black gunk.

I obviously had to have such a tool, so I ordered one. Five dollars and five days later, the delivery woman dropped off my shiny Park Tool GSC-1 gear cleaning brush. The only surprise was an improbable legal disclaimer: “The color blue is a registered trademark and trade dress of the company.”

I don’t think they can trademark generic blue, but then I’m fortunately not a lawyer.

It wasn’t long before the trademarked (?) blue was mottled with oily bike gunk, which may or may not mean that the United States Patent and Trademark Office no longer protects my multicolored Park Tool GSC-1 gear cleaning brush.

7 February 2014

San Francisco Beer Century

Today is the first day of San Francisco Beer Week, and it’s a really dumb idea. First, who starts the week on a Friday? A bunch of drunks, that’s who. But that’s just a minor quibble. The basic premise of the alleged event is fundamentally flawed, since it suggests that the other fifty-one weeks are not beer weeks. That’s just stooopider than stupid.

I suggest the organizers create the San Francisco Beer Century; that’s the kind of festival I could support.

8 February 2014

Extremely Mediocre

Juanita described Samantha’s work as, “extremely mediocre.” I didn’t know how to interpret her critique. Is “extremely mediocre” better or worse than merely mediocre? Mediocrity really doesn’t need an adjective; “mediocre” says it all.

9 February 2014

Cat Bite Infections of the Hand

Ever since a surgeon amputated my right index finger, the Journal of Hand Surgery has been one of my favorite periodicals. I particularly enjoyed a recent article, “Cat Bite Infections of the Hand: Assessment of Morbidity and Predictors of Severe Infection.”

Brian Carlsen, a plastic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic, reported that one third of cat bites to the hand required hospitalization. I’m more than a little skeptical. How can I trust anyone employed by an institution named after a sandwich spread? Are the people who run the place too lazy or just not smart enough to spell Mayonnaise Clinic?

I wonder what feeble cats Carlsen enlisted for his experiment. He must have used ineffectual or elderly felines. The healthy cats I know and love would have sent three thirds of people who deserved it to the hospital.

10 February 2014

A Legendary Iraqi Teacher

I’ve had some bad teachers in my life, starting when I was a boy. I can’t remember the simpleminded woman’s name, but an elementary school teacher complained to my parents that I was trying to embarrass her by asking difficult questions in class.

I’ve had a few great teachers as well, but not primarily for their classroom abilities. In most cases, they got me so excited by what they were thinking and doing that I wanted to undertake my own exploration; I wanted to—and did—teach myself.

When it comes to great educators, an anonymous Iraqi workshop instructor is an exemplar. Earlier today, he was teaching a class of eager would-be suicide bombers how to conceal a belt full of explosives. A lesser educator would have used sand in lieu of incendiary materials, but the instructor in question wasn’t one to cut corners.

Sadly, no one recorded his final demonstration in which he accidentally detonated his suicide belt and killed himself—that’s what it’s called a suicide belt—and fifteen of his students from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. For them, that was clearly a demonstration to remember for all eight-six milliseconds of the rest of their lives.

What an illustrious teacher!

11 February 2014

A Dumb Joke

A bishop, a preacher, a rabbi, and a mullah walk into a saloon. That’s how the joke I told Joey began and ended.

Joey looked at me blankly.

“You see,” I explained, “the setup is the whole joke. It’s like ...”

“Look,” Joey interrupted, “just because it wasn’t funny didn’t mean I didn’t understand it.”

He paused, for a moment, then added, “Dumb!” for good measure.


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©2014 David Glenn Rinehart