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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak V


30 January 2015

gratuitous image

No. 5,909 (cartoon)

You’re mean.

You’re mediocre.

Don’t play word games with me.

31 January 2015

(Not) A Life of Extravagant Wealth and Hedonistic Excess

Juanita told me that when she was young, she thought she’d never tire of a life of extravagant wealth and hedonistic excess. That struck me as a curious thing to say, since we were sitting in her dingy, cramped studio apartment and she’d just finished a tedious jeremiad on the woes of celibacy.

“You were right all along,” I said encouragingly. “You said you’d never tire of such a life and you haven’t.”

My encouraging words weren’t encouraging, alas. When someone’s determined to be miserable, sometimes nothing will stop her or him.

1 February 2015

Intelligence is Intelligence

John McCarthy, who’s credited with coming up with the phrase, “artificial intelligence,” complained, “as soon as it works, no one calls it AI anymore.”

That’s one of the reasons I love being an artist: when I make something, it’s done, and won’t be rendered obsolete by other work, mine or anyone else’s. Humans have been engaged in creative pursuits since there were humans, but no one’s made “better” work in the last half millennium than, say, Hieronymus Bosch.

Poor McCarthy, he painted himself into a semantic corner with the phrase, “artificial intelligence.” Even when machines are smart enough to exterminate their redundant human creators, that still won’t be artificial intelligence. Intelligence is intelligence whether it’s generated by meat and/or silicon.

2 February 2015

Good Pottery

I generally don’t like poetry, but I’m making an exception for Joseph Serna’s recent work, which I shall repeat in its entirety.

Big rigs collide: Frozen chicken scorched, bees flying “everywhere”

Perhaps one of the reasons I like it is that it (probably) wasn’t intended as poetry; it’s a headline in The Los Angeles Times.

3 February 2015

Thirty-Dollar Burrito

Samantha took me out for lunch; I inhaled a burrito that cost almost thirty dollars. I’d never pay that much for a burrito, but Samantha, who has more money than she can ever spend, did.

I thanked her, and told her that was the most expensive burrito I’d ever had. To my surprise, she disagreed.

She argued that a five-dollar burrito was actually more expensive because it was inferior food. She said the ostensibly cheap burrito was filled with inexpensive rice and beans, with only tiny scraps of the most costly bits such as fish and avocado. In contrast, she maintained that the burrito I ate was the best that the cooks could concoct, since their mandate was to make a burrito for which someone would again pay too much, as opposed to saving a dollar skimping on the salmon.

“Let’s see if I got this straight,” I replied, “are you saying that wealthy people eat better than the rest of us?”

“Not at all,” she replied, “I’m just pointing out that we have that option.”

It’s like W.C. Fields noted, “A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.”

4 February 2015

My Alleged Nadir

I sought Joey’s invective when I showed him a recent piece, and I wasn’t disappointed, at least initially.

“Congratulations, David,” Joey said disapprovingly, “you’ve reached a new nadir. That’s pretty bad, even for you.”

After thinking about what he said, I felt let down. If he thought that what he saw was that appalling, he clearly hadn’t been paying attention to the hideous work I’ve been doing recently.


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©2015 David Glenn Rinehart