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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXI

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21 May 2015

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No. 3,363 (cartoon)

Who would want to live in Winnemucca?

Who would want to live in Nevada?

Who would want to live?

22 May 2015

Dr. Batlan’s New Orleans

Dr. Batlan is back from New Orleans with tales to tell, and what a picture he paints!

Musicians playing in the same bar they’ve worked for decades, gumbo viscous with bizarre, exotic ingredients, indecipherable Creole patois, coffee thicker than motor oil, beautiful young women and handsome young men languidly pedaling ancient, rusty bikes through the tropical humidity, southern belles sipping mint juleps on sprawling porches, every Crescent City cliché amplified and vibrant. (What he actually said was dozens of times better than that, but I failed to take notes.)

I loved his travelogue with the vivid imagery and unrepeatable stories. I’ve been to New Orleans, and know that I have neither the chutzpah nor social skills to navigate that swampy labyrinth. And so, I remain content with Dr. Batlan’s vicarious adventures here in the comfort of Sans Frisco’s all-enveloping fog.

23 May 2015

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Geometrically Challenged Shelves

With the exception of the odd circle, oval, or triangle, I live in a mostly rectilinear world. This isn’t one of my better diptychs, but I enjoyed the respite from ninety-degree angles in Geometrically Challenged Shelves. Catawampusness is vastly underappreciated.

24 May 2015

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Psycho-Technical Directorate Logotype

One of the many things I quite enjoyed about my only visit to India was traveling on The Rajdhani Express. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the Indian Railways’ Research Development and Standards Organization’s Psycho-Technical Directorate division. I may have heard and forgotten the name, but I certainly would have remembered the logo: a clever fusion of my star (the star of David) and a swastika.

Given the Indian provenance, I don’t have a problem with it. The swastika has been around for millennia, and is still commonly used as a religious symbol by Buddhists and Hindus. Still, the merger of the symbol the Nazis hijacked with the representation of the people they tried to annihilate is quite disconcerting to my western eyes. But then again, I’ve never been psycho-technically minded.

25 May 2015

No More Tin Foil Hats in Richmond

You know how it is: you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, then ... wham! Someone in a fortified bunker deep underground in Nevada targets you, pushes a button, and a mind-control satellite far above you fires off signals that reformats your brain and turns you into a different person, into a government zombie.

It happens all the time. Or rather it did, but that’s no longer the case in Richmond, California. Last week, the seven august legislators who comprise the city council voted five to two to ban such remote manipulation, “to ensure that individuals will not be targets of space-based weapons.”

Unfortunately, the bay area’s civic leaders don’t seem to have come up with anything close to a comprehensive regional plan. Richmond homeowners may have an intercontinental ballistic missile silo in their back yard, but Berkeley residents—unprotected from space rays as I go to press—are forbidden from possessing nuclear weapons.

In Sans Frisco, though, anything goes; that’s why I live here!

26 May 2015

Euphemising

Helena’s mother Mabel is distraught, and with good reason. Her twenty-year-old cat is clawing for his tenth life, and he’s not going to make it; no cat ever has.

“She knows that euphemising him will soon be the humane thing to do,” Helena explained, “but she just can’t bring herself to say goodbye.”

Maybe the cat will do himself and everyone else a favor by letting himself go, or maybe he won’t. Cats are nothing if not unpredictable.

27 May 2015

Another Bulletproof [sic] Vest

Sally didn’t believe my story last year about Blake Randall Wardell donning a bulletproof [sic] vest and asking a friend to shoot him.

“That’s just another one of your cockamamie stories you make up to hide the fact that you don’t have anything to say,” she declared, “but you’re not tricking me.”

In fact, I did trick her. (It wasn’t hard.) Wardell really did die when a friend shot him during the course of a successful experiment to determine whether bulletproof vests really were bulletproof. (I read it on the Internet so it must be true.)

Miguel Martinez apparently didn’t believe me either; a friend killed him when he put a slug through his bulletproof [sic] vest when they repeated the test. I think the conclusion is obvious: bulletproof [sic] vests are not foolproof given the large pool of fools.

Chuck Shepherd edits one of my favorite publications, News of the Weird. “No Longer Weird” is one of the most telling chapters. “The following kinds of stories were formerly weird,” Shepherd explains, “but they now occur with such frequency that they must be retired from circulation.”

And so, I shall follow Shepherd’s excellent example and ignore future stories about a friend killing a friend wearing a bulletproof [sic] vest.

Stare.

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©2015 David Glenn Rinehart

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