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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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15 May 2017

gratuitous image

No. 4,659 (cartoon)

You and I are on solid ground.

Soon it will be our roof.

16 May 2017

Chicago Revisited

I’m listening to Chicago at Carnegie Hall, the 1971 recording by Chicago née the Chicago Transit Authority. I can’t hear the sounds objectively because I can’t distinguish between the music and remembering how wonderful it was to discover the lifelong joys of art, women, and wine when I was a young teenager.

That wasn’t a very insightful or even entertaining observation, so I’ll add a public service announcement featuring the late Terry Kath.

Kath, one of the ensemble, was playing with guns one day and feigning Russian roulette. He picked up a nine-millimeter pistol and pronounced it harmless.

“Don’t worry about it,” he assured a friend. “Look, the clip’s not even in it.”

Those were his last words before he pointed the gun at head and learned the messy way that an empty ammunition magazine doesn’t mean there’s not a live bullet in the gun’s firing chamber.

I wonder how many other people’s last words were variations on, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded.” I’m guesstimating at least ten thousand. At least.

17 May 2017

The Sugar Daddy Place

Iris and I went on a nice walk through Lafayette Park this afternoon. I pointed out that the mansion across the street was built by the original sugar daddy just over a century ago. Adolph Spreckels, heir to a sugar fortune, lived there with his wife, who was half his age.

“Who lives there now?” she asked.

She took the bait! Iris is one of those Very Serious Writers who agonizes over punctuation and has a hissy fit when she sees bad grammar, so I knew the answer would infuriate her.

“Danielle Steele, the fourth best-selling author in history,” I replied.

Much to my disappointment, Iris stayed calm even though there was smoke coming out of her ears.

“I never make negative comments about other writers,” she said, “and I’m not going to break that perfect record for some incompetent, contemptible scribbler.”

That’s Iris, always taking the high road!

18 May 2017

Hellacious Dragon’s Breath

It’s been six years since I wrote about the world’s hottest chili, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T. It wasn’t the most powerful for long, having since been supplanted by the Seven Pot Douglah, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, and then the Carolina Reaper. Those are all history now; Dragon’s Breath is the new chamion here. Or, more accurately, in Wales of all places.

How was is that a Welsh fruit grower trying to make a splash at the Chelsea Flower Show came up with the world’s hottest pepper? The answer will be familiar to any artist: it was a happy accident. Mike Smith was trying to come up with something pretty, but instead came up with a potentially deadly chili.

Medical professional believe Smith’s creation could be lethally fatal, fatally lethal, or perhaps both. To put this in numerical perspective, a strong jalapeño pepper might generate almost five thousand Scoville Heat Units. The Dragon’s Breath is five hundred times as strong—twenty-five percent more powerful than weapons grade pepper spray—and would very likely bring on anaphylactic shock or worse.

I did some quick calculations, and, based on my average consumption of about ten jalapeños a week, I’d only need a dozen of the pretty little Dragon’s Breath peppers to provide a lifetime supply of capsaicin. Things are never that simple though; I’d probably need some three-thousand dollar laboratory gizmo to slice the little gems thinly enough.

19 May 2017

gratuitous image

Six Dozen Screwed Froot Loops Comprising the Kellogg’s Rainbow

Due to an improbable chain of mundane events, I came across my first box of Kellogg’s Froot Loops cereal since the last millennium. I decided to do something with the colorful little sugar pills I remembered from my youth. Six Dozen Screwed Froot Loops Comprising the Kellogg’s Rainbow is one of those pieces where the title came first and the images followed.

I should have done this years ago before Kellogg’s abandoned the garish artificial coloring; the allegedly natural colors are rather muted. It doesn’t really matter since I photographed them in black and white. It works conceptually since the Kellogg Company’s public relations hacks admit they all taste exactly the same.

20 May 2017

The Liar’s Great Surety

“No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly,” whined the Victim in Chief.

Oh really? I thought that sounded like one of the hundreds of verified lies he’s told in recent months, but I didn’t bother to do any fact-checking because Dana Milbank did it for me.

“Thus did our assured head of state, equal parts narcissistic and uninformed, rank his treatment worse than that of Benito Mussolini (executed corpse beaten and hung upside down in public square), Oliver Cromwell (body disinterred, drawn and quartered, hanged and head hung on spike), Leon Trotsky (exiled and killed with ice pick to the skull), William Wallace (dragged naked from horses, eviscerated, emasculated, hanged and quartered) and the headless Louis XVI, Mary Queen of Scots, and Charles I.”

So there!

Although I’d never wish anyone any harm, it would certainly be poetic justice if Herr Hair really did become the worst-treated politician ever. At least he would have told the truth for once, albeit accidentally and retroactively.


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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