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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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26 June 2014

gratuitous image

No. 1,937 (cartoon)

Why do you think pain is amusing?

I never said pain is amusing.

But yours is! And satisfying, too!

27 June 2014

The Song Remains the Same

Annalee and Kiliaen are at each other’s throats again, but not in a good way. Or maybe they’re again at each others’ throats; grammar, punctuation, and spelling pedants can’t seems to agree. In any case, no surprises there.

Kiliaen told me that he made the mistake of telling Annalee that their romantic relationship was ninety-nine percent perfect. Annalee, who has the amazing ability of smelling the manure in the rose garden, asked him what was wrong. He explained that things couldn’t be better, and that ninety-nine percent was, “as good as it gets.”

Annalee asked him if he really believed that ninety-nine percent was the same as one hundred percent, and whether he was innurmerate, untruthful, or both. Having been backed into a logical corner, Kiliaen replied that she was right—always a good debating move—and that their relationship would be “virtually perfect” if they didn’t argue about stupid things.

She took the olive branch he offered and thrashed him with it. Why did he use a weasel word like “virtually?” Why didn’t he take her concerns seriously? And so on.

I don’t know how the story ends; I asked him to play a song I hadn’t heard before.

28 June 2014

A Creepy Sleeping Bag Find

Sid found a sleeping bag on the street, but, as usual, things are not as they seem. Hundreds—if not thousands—of San Franciscans sleep in the parks, under bridges, in subway stations, et cetera, in filthy blankets and sleeping bags that have never been washed. Sid’s find wasn’t one of those; it wasn’t creepy.

Sid was driving through an upscale neighborhood when he spotted what turned out to be an expensive sleeping bag stuffed inside a nylon sack; it apparently fell out of someone’s car en route to a camping adventure. He determined that it was better than clean; it smelled like a woman.

He said he published a notice on the Internet offering to return the bag to the rightful owner, “who smells like the sleeping bag I found last Wednesday on Russian Hill.” He added that he had no intention of giving up the sleeping bag, but it was a great way to sniff women, “and maybe get a rich new girlfriend out of the deal to boot.”

I suppose Sid’s sleeping bag find was creepy after all.

29 June 2014

Where Coffee Comes From

I have no idea where the coffee I’m drinking came from. Well, I do have an idea, but, as usual, it’s the wrong idea. The coffee came in a vacuum-packed can from the grocery store down the street. Except, of course, not really.

I don’t know where my coffee beans grew, but I know they came from thousands of kilometers away. Africa? Central or South America? Asia? Do people grow coffee in Asia, and, if so, do they export it to the United States?

Yesterday, I had coffee at Jill’s Jitters Joint. Jill said she had to charge a nickel a cup more because some sort of coffee fungus in Central America. I hadn’t noticed the price increase. Until I talked with Jill, I hadn’t heard about the agricultural disaster could put half a million people out of work.

This is embarrassing to say, but I can’t imagine the personal and economic devastation of a regional biological catastrophe. If anyone asks about the source of my coffee, I’ll explain that it comes in a vacuum-packed can from the grocery store down the street.

30 June 2014

Fake Diplomas

I visited Gerrit in his office today, and asked him why he had framed, forged diplomas hanging on his wall. He protested that the documents were genuine, and that University of California bureaucrats had personally handed him the documents.

Regardless of the provenance, anyone could see that the papers with the silly calligraphy obviously were not, by definition, real diplomas. The word “diploma” is Greek, and means “folded paper.” Gerrit’s forgeries were as planar as they were they were printed.

Gerrit dismissed my linguistic pedantry by noting, “all diplomas are just meaningless scraps of paper, anyway.” At last, something on which we could agree!

I have a diploma somewhere. If I ever find it, I may fold and frame it.

1 July 2014

gratuitous image

After Edgerton

Harold Eugene Edgerton was instrumental in repurposing the tediously functional laboratory stroboscope into a tool for artists. As he accurately predicted, “The future of electronic flash is very bright!” Doc Edgerton’s name may not be familiar, but his images—bullets photographed the instant they punctured a balloon, split a playing card, passed through a candle flame, et cetera—certainly are.

I remembered his 1957 piece, Milk Drop Coronet, as I was overcaffeinating by the Internet Archive’s tireless espresso machine this morning. Someone had spilled a drop of milk on the counter, leaving a large drop with eight perfectly spaced milk droplets around the periphery. Were it not for Edgerton’s work, the arrangement would have been mysterious rather than easily explained by physics.


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©2014 David Glenn Rinehart

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