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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XV


9 April 2015

gratuitous image

No. 3,731 (cartoon)

Do you forgive your enemies?

On occasion.

But I never forgive my perfidious friends.

10 April 2015

Better Than No Shrift

Bernie complained that Dahlia gave him short shrift after “an unfortunate incident.” I asked him what happened; he told me about his horrific, embarrassing, and cringeworthy (mis)behavior. I admitted that I was probably even more appalled than Dahlia, and said that he was more than lucky that she gave him any shrift at all.

11 April 2015

My Kind of Intellectual Rigor

Enrico told me that Abbie is one of the smartest people he knows. Why? Because he always agrees with her except on the rare occasions when she disagrees with him. That’s my kind of intellectual rigor!

12 April 2015

A Can of Grits at a Firefight

I dislike stereotypes, especially negative ones. On the other hand, clichés have to come from some place, perhaps Alabama.

Priscella Holley, the principal of W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley, Alabama, instructed parents to send their children to school armed with a can of food for self-defense. Should a deranged psychopath—oops, I think that’s repetitiously redundant—with an automatic weapon invade the school, the theory is that s/he would beat a hasty retreat when confronted with a barrage of canned beans, tuna fish, and spaghetti. (Alabamans really do eat their pasta from a can.)

“The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until police arrive,” Holley explained. “The canned good item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel secure in case an intruder enters the classroom.”


I would imagine that a violent maniac intent on killing children would shoot the first kid who launched a projectile at him. I think the bizarre experiment will certainly succeed in making children—who are more likely to die from a bee sting than an intruder’s bullet—paranoid, neurotic, or worse.

In Alabama, they teach students to bring a can of grits to a firefight. Et voilà! A new Alabama cliché is born!

13 April 2015


We have over twenty-thousand hard drives spinning at the Internet Archive at any given moment. How they all work together, this I do not know. That’s why we have engineers.

I was walking by a gaggle of said learned engineers this afternoon when I overheard one of them say, “I think we jinxed it by talking about it.” The others nodded knowingly.

Aha, so that’s how it all works! That might also explain the offering of lamb entrails in front of the racks of servers every full moon.

14 April 2015

The Armadillo’s Revenge

Carol Johnson suffered a non-life-threatening bullet wound after an armadillo shot her in the back. Sort of.

It all started when Larry McElroy decided to shoot an armadillo with his pistol late one night, as they do in Georgia. The bullet ricocheted off the beast’s bony plates, went through the back door of Johnson’s mobile home, then struck her in the back.

This sad little story has three obvious lessons: don’t live in Georgia, don’t live in a trailer park, and avoid being within a kilometer of anyone who uses armadillos for target practice.

15 April 2015

Water Is for Fighting

California is in the fourth year of a drought, so the governor ordered the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce urban water use to seventy-five percent of 2013 volumes. The key word in the preceding sentence is urban; agribusiness—which uses eighty percent of water—was exempt from the edict.

Am I supposed to take the briefest of showers so that agribusiness can grow water-intensive crops like rice and cotton in the middle of a desert? Apparently so, but I’m going to continue to enjoy long showers until I can’t afford to buy almonds. Although that sounds like a nonsequitur, it’s actually a proper sequitur.

Each almond I eat needed four liters of water to grow, so, in practice, I effectively ate more water for breakfast than I used showering. (I might add that each cup of coffee requires a thousand cups of water, but no one grows coffee in California.) I could get into a boring treatise on antiquated water politics, but instead I’ll just note that nothing’s changed since Mark Twain’s day.

In the West, whisky is for drinking and water is for fighting.


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©2015 David Glenn Rinehart

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