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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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22 October 2022

gratuitous image

No. 4,770 (cartoon)

You look like a Tibetan giraffe lost in Hong Kong ...

... after smelling the Mona Lisa in a blizzard.

Tell me something I don’t know.

23 October 2022

Kentucky Fried Brains

Selena suggested “Kentucky Fried Brains” would be a great title for one of these notebook entries.

“I’ll keep that in mind if anything comes up,” I prevaricated politely.

“If something comes up?!” she replied. “You won’t have to wait long to use it, what with all the fundamentalist jihadists, meth heads, inbred morons, and such. You could probably find something right now on the Internet if you spent thirty seconds searching the news.”

“Maybe some other time,” I lied.

She was right on all counts. That was a good slug, so I used it today. As for the weird news coming out of Kentucky, it’s too predictably common to be worth mentioning, so I won’t.

24 October 2022

Thank You, Ron Williams

It’s not often that I read something inspirational, so I’m grateful to Ron Williams for his quote that showed up in this morning’s headlines: “I wanted to do something stupid when I turned 70—so I learned to ride a motorbike.”

I wasn’t impressed by what he did. Except for the likelihood of getting dismembered, paralyzed, or killed, riding a motorcycle is a fairly sensible thing to do. It wasn’t truly stupid at all.

Please forgive me for tooting myself on the back with my own horn, but I’m quite good at doing really stupid stuff with no premeditation. What can I say? It’s a gift.

Ron Williams’ aspirations to reach a new level of stupidification made me realize I’ve been resting on my laurels for too long. Looking back on a lifetime of stupidity, I realized that I can be even stooopider in the future with some thoughtful planning. My seventieth birthday is years away, but there’s no time to waste if I’m to outdo myself.

25 October 2022

Shoot Art, Not War

When I was a teenager I wanted to be a war photographer. My path was obvious: what else could be more important? Had I followed through on that, I’m sure Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine after he saw my photographs documenting the horrors of war.

(Just kidding; that was the cheap gin talking.)

I can’t remember what I was thinking that long ago. I think that’s ultimately positive; if I still reasoned the same way I did half a century ago that would suggest that I’m suffering from some sort of arrested mental development.

If I had to guess in the context of teenage/adolescent angst, I may have dramatically concluded that nothing matters except life and death. And/or I could be a war hero without killing anyone, including myself. (That was a long time ago before trigger-happy soldiers figured out that shiny cameras make great targets.)

If it wasn’t for my ego, I’d have aspired to be a photo editor collecting the most powerful carnage and suffering photographs instead of making redundant ones with my byline.

That miscalculation hasn’t changed. If my goal was to simply disseminate excellent art I’d be a curator showing interesting, almost inaccessible work instead of contributing to that invisible glut.

26 October 2022

The B-52 at Sixty

Sixty years ago today the last B-52 Stratofortress left the factory. If 1962 sounds like a long time ago in aviation history, that’s because it was. (The iconic 747 didn’t make its first commercial flight until 1970, and went out of production earlier this year.)

I hadn’t given much thought to the massive bomber until I read that Chinese leaders are in an acerbic froth after learning that the Australians were enlarging one of their military bases to house half a dozen B-52s.

I’m not going to waste any time tracking down pesky facts. Instead, I’m going to marvel that such an ancient aircraft is still serving as a useful annoyance, if not deterrence, just as propeller-driven drones any Sopwith Camel ace could shoot down are redefining modern warfare.

(Is repelling an invasion by Russian barbarians modern or primitive warfare? That’s a question for my editor, and I ain’t got one.)

27 October 2022

Too Predictable to be News

Ron Smith was (the use of the past tense is what we in the litterature business call foreshadowing) a Florida lawyer who argued that motorcycle riders shouldn’t be required to wear helmets. Any idjit knows how this little anecdote goes after a glance at the headline, “Florida attorney who fought helmet laws dies ...”

You know he died in a motorcycle accident.

You know he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

And you know the cause of death: blunt trauma to the head.

The end.

28 October 2022

An Old Man’s Death

I first heard DH Peligro pound the skins (as the Beatniks say) at a Dead Kennedys concert at the WOW Hall in Eugene, Oregon, waaay back in 1983. It was, by definition, a memorable performance since I can still remember the music and the adrenaline. I’m going to skip the critic talk and just remark that he was a great drummer in a great band.

The Dead Kennedys imploded in 1986, and that was the last I heard about him until today’s obituaries. Did the guy who was on the cover of Recovery Today in 2015 die from a massive overdose or some scandalous musician’s demise? Nope, he died an old man’s death—at sixty-three—“from trauma to the head caused by an accidental fall” in the bathroom.

Hearing his drumming ripping through the song “Looking Forward to Death” at a breakneck speed in a live recording will never sound the same.

29 October 2022

gratuitous image

Goat’s Horn

I bought a plastic photo scale/focus guide from the Geological Society of America to use as a reference in pseudo-scientific photographs. (The idea of a photograph as evidence continues to amuse me.) I finally had an opportunity to use it today to document the eight-millimeter goat’s horn I extracted from my deflated bicycle tire.

And now it’s time for a quick botany break. A goat’s head, Acanthospermum hispidum, is a humble member of the Asteraceae family. Its seed, which vaguely resembles the head of a goat, has razor-sharp thorns that are harder than steel. I’ve named them “goat’s horns,” my modest contribution to scientific nomenclature for the day.

Meanwhile, back at the bike ...

I forget the exact marketing hype, but my tires were advertised as Kevlar-lined and bulletproof. Perhaps they might have stopped a nine-millimeter bullet, but not an eight-millimeter goat’s horn.

I’m not a complainer, so I’m happy to report that even I could easily patch the tire and get back on the road. I also appreciated the opportunity to dust off my venerable old micro-Nikkor and bellows to make a photograph almost no one will ever see and that many fewer people will appreciate.

Gosh, with a description like that it almost sounds like art!

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2022 David Glenn Rinehart

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