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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXIV

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11 June 2014

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No. 262 (cartoon)

I’m fascinated by the mystery of creation.

There’s nothing mysterious about your parents having sex.

12 June 2014

Face Like a Beetroot

It’s funny how memory works, or, in my case, doesn’t work. For years, I remembered the quote, “If it sounds like good writing, rewrite it.” When I checked my database, though, I discovered that what Elmore Leonard really said was, “If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.”

I thought of good writing when I read Alexis Petridis’s review of Jack White’s latest opus, Lazaretto. White has been in the news recently for reasons unrelated to his music. All of us occasionally say stupid, regrettable things. Unfortunately, White did so in an interview in a magazine with a million and a half subscribers.

Oops.

It was both good manners and good business to issue an apology, and White did. In his piece, Petridis questioned the musician’s sincerity in this brilliant sentence.

Rather, you somehow picturing him typing it—or writing it on palimpsest vellum with a quill or however Jack White drafts his public apologies in a suitably period manner—with his face like a beetroot and his mouth pursed in a cat’s bum of disapproval.

Dang, that sure seems like good writing to me; I’m glad Petridis didn’t rewrite it, although he probably did. When it comes to good writing, I obviously don’t know how it’s done.

13 June 2014

Arne Saknussemm Was Right

Anastasia is excited; no surprises there. She’s always thrilled about something; today it’s water. Lots of water. Scientists have discovered three times as much water as anyone ever imagined, to be more or less precise. The new find is four- to six-hundred kilometers below us, so I figure that it will take a while for idiots with drills to bollix things up.

“It has to be the Lidenbrock Sea,” Anastasia enthused, “Just like Arne Saknussemm said!”

Oh dear.

She went on to conclude that since Jules Verne’s protagonist from Journey to the Centre of the Earth spotted ichthyosauri, plesiosauri, and mastodons, this newfound environment simply must be where all the so-called “extinct” species now live. There’s no other possibility if you think about it, and especially if you don’t.

14 June 2014

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Good? It’s Perfect!

The Internet Archive’s scanning center burned on 6 November last year. When the remains of the building were hauled away, I discovered an ad for Vess Cola (Good? It’s Perfect!) painted on the charred wall of an adjoining structure. I looked at the sign for over half a year before I finally got around to photographing it a few days ago. Both the sign and I were static, so there was no hurry. I excel at procrastination, and could write volumes about my approach do avoiding accomplishing anything if I only had the time.

The building lost to the fire was built in 1951, so I figured the soft drink manufacturer must have gone out of business many decades ago. Predictably, I was wrong. Vess was founded almost a century ago, and it’s still in business. The marketers no longer claim it’s perfect, but have instead opted for numeric hyperbole, calling the sugar water, “The Billion Bubble Beverage.”

I wonder how many bubbles are in a cold can of Rainier Ale? It’s time to find out!

15 June 2014

Jean Cocteau’s Amazing Day

Since this is the fifteenth day of June, it’s time to again observe Jean Cocteau’s Amazing Day. It’s a joyous time to savor his insight, “Stupidity is always amazing, no matter how used to it you become.”

The number of people who are too stupid to comprehend that composting involves decomposing organic matter amazes me. These idiots seem to think that composting is some sort of thaumaturgic process that converts anything on the periodic table of elements into fertilizer.

Any compost receptacle provides evidence of such incredible ignorance. In the last week alone, I have seen aluminum foil with a bit of cheese on it, a plastic yogurt container, a dirty mustard jar, an oily tuna fish can, and even the proverbial greasy spoon.

The conclusion is obvious: I share the planet with cretins so dimwitted that they believe the presence of a trace of food will cause steel, glass, plastic, and everything else it touches to turn into plant food.

As Cocteau presciently predicted, amazing!

16 June 2014

No Ill Cycling Winds

It’s a very windy day, and that makes for good cycling. It might seem counterintuitive, but I enjoy riding uphill into a gale. I huff and I puff, but at least I’m strong enough to comfortably ride—not walk—my bike.

The return direction is, by definition, the other way around. I zip along effortlessly, and marvel at what good shape I’m in. This is only possible because I consciously ignore all the evidence that I’m being blown down the road by a minor squall. As a result of my conscious ignorance, I can delude myself that I’m in great physical shape.

John Heywood wrote, “It’s an ill wind that blows no one any good.” That appeared in his 1546 publication, The Proverbs of John Heywood. That makes no historical sense since Gian Giacomo Caprotti—a student of Leonardo da Vinci—didn’t come up with the first known bicycle sketch until 1493. Historians and philosophers alike cannot understand how Heywood could have had his windy insight without a bike, and neither can I.

17 June 2014

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Sixteen Defined Conservatory Drive Cavities

The civil servants who keep Sans Frisco roads in reasonably good repair have a two-step approach to maintenance: identify the problem, then fix it. I suppose there’s a lesson there, but I have yet to learn it. Meanwhile, back on the streets ...

It’s easy to tell when a pothole is about to be filled: a city worker with a can of white spray paint outlines the problematic cavity. Later, a team of three managers and a guy with a shovel show up and fill the hole.

I’ve been meaning to photograph the outlines for years, but have predictably never done so. They’re usually in the middle of a busy street, which makes it difficult if not dangerous to photograph slowly and methodically.

I was pleased to discover sixteen photogenic holes outlined in white paint whilst cycling on Conservatory Drive, a sleepy lane in Golden Gate Park. Working with relatively breathtaking speed, I photographed the doomed apertures the next morning, taking advantage of the fog’s flat light. The following day, the holes were gone. Sixteen Defined Conservatory Drive Cavities exist only as photographs.

Stare.

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©2014 David Glenn Rinehart

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