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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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30 October 2017

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No. 3,545 (cartoon)

Now you know what really happened.

I’m speechless.

You’re better off that way.

31 October 2017

The Monster Defense

I rarely watch science fiction or horror movies—or any films other than mine, for that matter—but even I am familiar with this cliché ...

The clueless visitor from another galaxy or the newly-minted laboratory creature befriends an adorable little puppy and starts playing with the ill-fated wee beast. The creature pulls off the dog’s head and limbs then is flummoxed when the mutt won’t play anymore.

That story is being played out even as we don’t speak in Denmark. In a press release almost written for Halloween, Danish police reported, “A Danish inventor has admitted to dismembering the body of Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his privately built submarine but continues to deny killing her.”

Ah, the monster defense. “I just cut off her head,” yer honor, “but I didn’t murder her.”

And with that, I’m off for a Halloween evening on the town and shall steer clear of submarines, private or otherwise.

1 November 2017

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The Joy of Wine

Lina brought a bottle of wine to my studio this afternoon, but not just any bottle of wine. Her gift turned out to be a piece of conceptual art. The cork featured the words, “The Joy of Wine,” set in an unimaginative yet inoffensive typeface.

I appreciated her gift; I quite liked the idea of not being able to read “The Joy of Wine” until Lina opened the bottle. We had a pleasant visit, but neither of us could figure out why the “R”—presumably for “Rinehart”—was stamped upside down on the end of the cork.

We savored the conundrum; another mystery for another day ...

2 November 2017

Japanese Bicycle Security

Noah’s favorite story from his recent trip to Osaka involves bicycle security. He marveled that most of the bikes he saw there were unlocked, and even the most expensive ones were nominally secured with a metal cable as thin as cappellini pasta.

He claimed that anyone could cut through the strand of metal a butter knife, and he was right. What he failed to appreciate was that there are probably fewer than a dozen butter knives in all of Japan; that’s why the thin wires work.

Kenji, who lived in Tokyo until a few years ago, agreed with my assessment. “If it’s a stupid idea and it works,” he observed, “then it’s not stupid.”

3 November 2017

A Quiet and Modest Life

“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.”

Albert Einstein wrote that in 1922 and gave the note to a hotel worker as a tip. In retrospect, that was a valuable gift; the advice just sold for over one and a half million dollars, or over ninety thousand dollars a word.

That’s valuable advice indeed, even though his guidance seems obvious to me. I suppose I’ll never know whether his avoidance of monetizing human interaction was intentional or coincidental. Maybe I should get a pen and paper and write that down; it might be worth something in 2112.

4 November 2017

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Meeting Chelsea Manning

I respect all sorts of people, starting with my stellar friends. Although I never really thought about it until now, I reserve my admiration for people who are more courageous than I’ve ever been or will probably ever be.

Daniel Ellsberg is the first person that comes to mind. I met and photographed him four years ago when he was interviewed here at the Internet Archive. I was struck that Ellsberg, who arguably shortened the Vietnam War by a year by releasing secret government documents, was planning on spending the rest of his life in prison. I doubt I’ll ever be in a position to make such a decision, but doubt I’d find the courage to make that sacrifice.

That’s pretty much what Chelsea Manning did when she released evidence of American war crimes in 2010. She’d still be in the bowels of a military prison had President Obama not pardoned her.

I was talking with a couple of visitors at the Archive tonight when I remembered my manners just long enough to introduce myself.

“Hi, I’m Chelsea,” she replied.

She then proceeded to photograph documents at the desk next to mine. I can’t remember what I said next and that’s probably just as well; I’m sure it was some sort of incoherent and/or blathering praise.

I snapped a photograph of her then shut down my computer for the evening; making alleged art seemed more trivial than usual.


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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