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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XII


19 March 2014

gratuitous image

No. 7,251 (cartoon)

I want you ...

I want you too!

... under my car.

20 March 2014

Blake and Me

I must Create a System. or be enslav’d by another Mans
I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create

I didn’t say that; I rarely use ampersands and dislike the random capitalization that kids—kids these days!—use. In fact, William Blake wrote those lines two hundred years ago. His business was to create, including a system for avoiding being entrapped by convention.

I’d like to flatter myself that I’m like Blake, but, since I’m not a genius, I really can’t. I do enjoy a system that has little in common with the advertised one to which most people subscribe, but it’s one I arrived at by accident, not design. Finally, I can’t even say that my business is to create; that sounds way too businesslike to me.

21 March 2014

An Intoxicating Clarity of Vision

How funny: yesterday I quoted William Blake for the first time in many years, and now I’m going to do it again.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

I thought of Blake’s observation after talking with Deirdre about her recent work. I told her that I thought it was exceptionally good; she said she was enjoying “an intoxicating clarity of vision.”

I wish I had that experience. I’m not unfamiliar with intoxication, but the clarity of vision continues to generally elude me, or perhaps the reverse.

22 March 2014

Clarissa Dickson Wright

Clarissa Dickson Wright died today. She’s best known for being the costar of “Two Fat Ladies,” an English television show featuring recipes for food rich in cream, butter, bacon, and, of course, lard. I’ll be even lazier than usual and republish what I wrote about meeting her on 22 May 2000.

Today I had lunch at the restaurant The Fat Lady manages. Before I describe my dining experience, it’s imperative to mention—at least for someone as defensive as myself—that “The Fat Lady” is not a pejorative or sexist phrase. That’s her name, honest.

The Fat Lady is one half of the celebrity television cooking team, Two Fat Ladies. Or, rather, was. Sadly, the other Fat Lady is no more, leaving The (Surviving) Fat Lady to carry on.

The Fat Lady came to my table to ask the obligatory question, “Is everything all right?”

“Thoroughly lovely,” I replied.

“Thoroughly lovely,” she repeated thoughtfully, as if she’d never heard anyone say that before. “Thoroughly lovely ...”

“I was going to say ‘It was as if an angel shat on my tongue,’ but thought you might think I was rude,” I confided.

The Fat Lady smiled.

“I shall repeat the first remark and treasure the second,” she said before she waltzed over to the next table.

23 March 2014

Human Warmth

I can’t understand why people are so enamored of babies. They’re just little human parasites that may or may not grow into large ones. They’re expensive to keep as pets, they leak bodily fluids willy-nilly, and they’re completely useless.

Aborted fetuses, however, can be useful. A baby might warm the heart, but thousands of fetuses can warm a hospital. At least that’s the case in England, where Department of Health workers have stoked furnaces with some fifteen thousand human larvae. It’s a practice Jonathan Swift might have come up with as a sequel to his essay, A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick.

I thought it made perfect sense to cremate them in a generator along with other detritus. Dead babies are emotive, so of course people complained. Would they have preferred that the fetuses be used for fertilizer or fish bait? No one had a better idea; people in general and the English in particular just like to whine.

24 March 2014

Condoms in Space

When it comes to space travel, the most popular questions the public ask don’t involve the mysteries of the cosmos. No, here’s what inquiring minds want to know: how does one urinate and defecate in zero gravity?

Russell Schweickart provided an interesting perspective on the solution: a condom with a one-way valve attached to a collection bag.

There’s always the possibility that in maneuvering around in a suit you can end up pulling off the condom, and there’s always—we have three sizes you know, small, medium and large—in diameter, and there’s always this little ego thing about which one you do pick. of course the smart guy picks the right size, because it’s very important. But what happens is, if you get too small a size it effectively pinches off the flow and you just turn yellow because you can’t go; and if, on the other hand you’ve got an ego problem and you decide on a large when you should have a medium, what happens is you take your first leak and you end up with half of the urine outside the bag on you. And that’s the last time you make that mistake.

Donald Rethke, popularly known as “Dr. Flush,” came up at a social engineering solution. Instead of offering condoms in conventional sizes—small, medium, and large—he provided astronauts with a choice of large, gigantic, and humongous.

And as for defecation? That required a Maximum Absorbency Garment, colloquially known as space diapers.

25 March 2014

Lorem Ipsum

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam hendrerit nisi sed sollicitudin pellentesque. Nunc posuere purus rhoncus pulvinar aliquam. Ut aliquet tristique nisl vitae volutpat. Nulla aliquet porttitor venenatis. Donec a dui et dui fringilla consectetur id nec massa. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed ut dui ut lacus dictum fermentum vel tincidunt neque. Sed sed lacinia lectus. Duis sit amet sodales felis. Duis nunc eros, mattis at dui ac, convallis semper risus. In adipiscing ultrices tellus, in suscipit massa vehicula eu.

The above paragraph is gibberish to anyone who hasn’t worked in graphic design or publishing. Those of us who have recognize it as Lorem Ipsum, the placeholder text we use early on in the design process before the final copy is available.

Lorem Ipsum has been around for half a millennium; it’s intentionally mangled Latin from Cicero’s De finibus bonorum et malorum from over two millennia ago.

After all these centuries, however, there’s finally some Lorem Ipsum news. Jaspreet Singh Boparai, a postgraduate student at Cambridge University, has translated it. Boparai explained that his “basic challenge was to make this text precisely as incoherent in English as it is in Latin—and to make it incoherent in the same way.”

Rrow itself, let it be sorrow; let him love it; let him pursue it, ishing for its acquisitiendum. Because he will ab hold, uniess but through concer, and also of those who resist. Now a pure snore disturbeded sum dust. He ejjnoyes, in order that somewon, also with a severe one, unless of life. May a cusstums offficer somewon nothing of a poison-filled. Until, from a twho, twho chaffinch may also pursue it, not even a lump. But as twho, as a tank; a proverb, yeast; or else they tinscribe nor. Yet yet dewlap bed. Twho may be, let him love fellows of a polecat. Now amour, the, twhose being, drunk, yet twhitch and, an enclosed valley’s always a laugh. In acquisitiendum the Furies are Earth; in (he takes up) a lump vehicles bien.

I thought it was a worthy endeavor, but after looking at Lorem Ipsum for over half of my life I can’t live with the parentheses in Boparai’s translation.


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©2014 David Glenn Rinehart

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