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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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28 August 2017

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No. 6,456 (cartoon)

See you soon?

How about never?

That’s too soon.

29 August 2017

Plant, Page, and The Beatles

I don’t pay close attention to popular culture, but I do notice huge headlines. A year or two or few ago, Robert Plant turned down tens of millions of dollars to perform a few concerts with his old musical ensemble, Led Zeppelin. He presumably has all the money he needs and then some, and instead chose to make new music instead of reënacting his performances as a teenager.

I haven’t researched this, as usual, but I haven’t heard a new sound out his bandmate Jimmy Page this millennium. The last I heard, he was still remixing the recordings from his youth ad nauseam.

And speaking of ad nauseam, the business conglomerate doing business as The Beatles recently rerererelased the 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, after yet another edit and remix. Giles Martin, son of original producer George Martin, engineered the project. It’s a fine line between posthumous nepotism, incest, and agoraphobia, but the combination makes for great marketing.

Martin did uncover a few interesting gems or stinkers—depending on your perspective—in the vaults. For example, the original idea was for the album to conclude with the lads giving a long, sustained “Om ...” instead of the massive piano chord.

“The reassuring thing about the Beatles is even they had bad ideas,” Martin concluded. [The lesson is] “never be scared of a bad idea, just be scared of sticking with it.”

I won’t even bother to grab a copy of the new recording off the Internet. When I first heard the original I was just discovering art, women, alcohol, and much more. For me, there’ll never be a better mix than that.

30 August 2017

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Leitz Rubber

It only took just over three months, but earnest gnomes in the Leica Camera AG repair shop finally repaired and returned my defective camera. Not only did they fix the machine, they sent it back in a plastic bag secured with a genuine Leica rubber band.

I’m certainly not a connoisseur of fine rubber bands, but I could tell that this one is exceptional even with an untrained eye. Das gummiband is handcrafted from the finest German rubber from the trees in Leica’s own corporate garden in Wetzlar. The tension, elasticity, and texture all make this extraordinary Leica product a rubber band nonpareil.

Seymor marveled at the rubber band after I described its qualities, features, and, of course, provenance. He offered to trade a bottle of India pale ale for it, and I gladly accepted the exchange.

31 August 2017

My Gonkulator in Progress

I lead an open and almost transparent life, but there are a few things I won’t discuss, especially work in progress. Talking about creative endeavors in gestation is a trap I carefully avoid.

I’m thinking of Rodney, who destroyed his life as a writer by telling anyone who’d listen—and a few who wouldn’t—that he was making great progress on his first novel. After that, he couldn’t go to a party, dinner, or even a public toilet without being asked when he’d publish his novel. His inability to proceed under such perceived pressure resulted in the most extreme case of writer’s block: permanent paralysis.

Just as I’ve learned not to talk about my current project, I’ve also found that ducking the question can be perceived as coy, rude, or worse. When pressed, I just shrug my shoulders and reveal I’m working on a gonkulator.

Ruth asked me if it was the American version or the German model when I told her about it. She was the only one who understood the obscure reference, although I suppose “obscure reference” is an oxymoron in these Internetty times.

I don’t lie unless it’s the moral equivalent of telling Nazi killers that I don’t have any Jews hiding in the attic. I truthfully declare that I’ll be happy to share all the details about my gonkulator when it’s finished, which, since it’s a concept and not a thing, will never happen.

1 September 2017

Raining Solid Diamonds on Uranus

I feel sorry for people who work at the Washington Post and other Very Serious Periodicals. They have to serve as the news reporters of record and resist the joys of irresponsible, childish fun.

I’m thinking of Sarah Kaplan’s piece in the Post examining atmospheric conditions and chemical reactions on planets in the outer reaches of the solar system. She reported on a paper in Nature Astrophysics that concluded that extreme pressure and temperatures on those distant bodies could actually form diamonds that rain down through the oceans of hydrocarbons until they reach the molten core.

So far so good: Kaplan produced an article about peer-reviewed research that was carefully edited by her colleagues. But when it was time for publication, the headline writer couldn’t restrain himself—and it just had to be a man to be this immature—and wrote, “It Rains Solid Diamonds on Uranus and Neptune,” for the slug. That was just plain stupid, puerile, and more than a little bit amusing.

It’s obvious no one edited the headline before it was published since diamonds only come in one flavor: solid.

2 September 2017

Solar Sculptures

After seeing a zillion virtually identical photographs of the recent solar eclipse, I finally came across some interesting ones. They had a common theme: expensive cameras and lenses destroyed by the sun’s concentrated rays. The sunlight burned a hole through a Canon’s shutter and ruined the sensor behind it, melted the mirror in a Nikon, and fried the aperture blades on a ten thousand dollar lens.

That’s what I call great eclipse art! I’ve been wondering what to do with my fifty-year-old dead Nikon; I shall have to dust it off and turn it into solar sculpture.

Some day ...


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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