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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XV


9 April 2017

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No. 6,446 (cartoon)

You look very fetching.

Thank you.

Fetch me a beer.

10 April 2017

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Fake Bat News

A Walmart shopper found a dead—and possibly rabid—bat in a bag of organic salad. Everything about this alleged news story stinks, not just the decomposing bat.

Walmart shoppers generally can’t walk, they just waddle. So when did they start eating salads? I suppose the story might be plausible if they drown little pieces of lettuce in a sea of greasy salad dressing smothered with cheese.

And isn’t the point of buying organic produce to avoid the pesticides and herbicides that would repel a bat? Organic vegetables almost always include the odd bug, worm, or flying mammal.

And why complain about the free protein? I’m sure there are much worse ingredients than a rabid bat in most sausages.

This looks and smells like more fake news to me.

11 April 2017

Drinking at 2005 Prices

I read an article on the business challenges faced by local restaurants because inflation has forced them to raise the prices of every type of food, “from burritos from fine dining.” (I’m not going to again kvetch about the pathetic state of alleged journalism, but since when is there a difference between burritos and fine dining?) One restaurateur talked about how difficult it was to please, “customers who expect to pay 2005 prices.”

That’s me! Alas.

I’ve generally enjoyed getting chronologically older. The inevitable decrapitude has yet to visit and I’m a bit smarter, or at least a tad less stupid. Or perhaps not.

I know intellectually that something that cost a thousand dollars forty years ago now costs four times that much. Emotionally, though, it nevertheless seems just plain wrong that a piece of photographic equipment that costs a couple thousand dollars used to cost five hundred dollars in 1977.

Oh well, I can still find wine that’s less expensive per glass in 2017 dollars than it was in 2005 dollars. It comes in five-liter plastic bags instead of bottles, but that’s a small price to pay for being cheap and in denial.

12 April 2017

John Warren Geils Junior

Amanda told me that John Warren Geils Junior dba J. Geils died yesterday; the musician died a horrible death.

“What got him?” I asked. “Drug overdose? Drowning in vomit? Shot by a crazy fan? Or maybe something classy like dying on stage like Mark Sandman?”

“No, nothing of interest,” she replied. “I heard he died of natural causes. How boring is that?”

“Zackly,” I agreed, “what a tedious way to go.”

13 April 2017

The Cat Lady Shtick

Theresa is a professional catsitter. It’s very profitable; she gets paid for playing with kitties all day in her warehouse space. The only hard part of her work is dealing with the public, but she does have a brilliant way of convincing them that she’s a bona fide cat lady.

She processes the cathouse intake paperwork on a large oak table in the kitchen. She makes sure her clients are comfortably seated with a glass of water while they fill out the paperwork. During the time they’re occupied completing the forms, she surreptitiously taps their glass toward the edge of the table a couple centimeters at a time until ...


At that point, Theresa smiles mischievously, shrugs, and says, “You did say you were looking for a real cat lady, didn’t you?”

It works every time.

14 April 2017

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A Tail of Two Kitties

A couple of weeks ago the Internet Archive’s servers crashed under the weight of too many digital cats in our pipes. To address the problem, I created the Catometer, an application to monitor cat traffic. I finished the coding over the weekend and overcame the audio problem; it now plays Cat Scratch Fever at full volume when there’s a red alert regardless of the user’s preferences or the device’s setting.

I opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate, but that proved to be rather premature. I just got a certified cease and desist notice from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Their lawyers said I couldn’t use the name Catometer because their wildlife biologists use an application with an infrared to monitor wildcat droppings and trademarked the name “Scat-o-meter.”

Even though it’s clear to me that their argument would never stand up in court, I learned long ago to avoid any and all legal entanglements. I am reminded of the observation, “Never wrestle with a pig; you get dirty and the pig enjoys it.”

(A decade ago I mistakenly attributed that quote to George Bernard Shaw, but since then I’ve seen claims that at least a dozen people created it, as well as the ever-popular “ancient Chinese proverb.”)

15 April 2017

The Problem With Invisible Ink

Cheryl’s been reading the same stories I have about gaggles of government agencies, corporations, and criminal syndicates spying on every bit and byte that goes in and out of our phones and computers. She’s determined to thwart them with old-fashioned cryptography: invisible ink.

She gave me what appeared to be a blank sheet of paper and told me to hold it near a heat source. I did, and reported that I only saw a few squiggles.

“Damn!” she replied. “I must of have run out of ink again.”

“How can you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?” I asked.

“I can’t figure that out,” she agreed, “I think I’ll just go back to using my tapped digital doodads.”

I think that’s a good move. I think the only people who get investigated are those who hide something, even if it’s innocuous.


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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