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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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22 October 2010

gratuitous image

No. 2,889 (cartoon)

I look forward to your death.

I feel the same way.

23 October 2010


I had no idea what to say after Jorge told me that he was analyzing snarge. He’s one of those brilliant people who’s so smart that I don’t really understand what he does. I tried to guess whether snarge was some sort of recently-discovered particle, the code word for a classified biological warfare virus, or worse.

It turns out that snarge is none of the above. Snarge is the avian remains of a bird that’s collided with a plane and/or been puréed by a propeller or jet turbine. Jorge spends his days peering through a microscope and running lab tests to determine what flavors of avifauna don’t get along well with aircraft.

I asked Jorge what he’d concluded from his research.

“I’m eating a lot more duck,” he replied. “It’s them or us.”

24 October 2010

Declining Coffee Consumption

After reading my notes about beer consumption in Munich, Seymor sent me some data on coffee consumption in the United States. As of a few years ago, the average (adult?) American drank eighty-six gallons of coffee a year; that works out to a cup a day.

But there’s a but. And, as Pee-wee Herman noted, “Everyone I know has a big but.” Coffee consumption in the states is only half of what it was in the forties. I wonder why that is? Is it this because this is a nation of indolent laggards? Or might it be because coffee shops and restaurants have conspired to charge two or three dollars for a cup of coffee that costs a dime or two to make at the studio?

I’m betting on the latter, although the former can’t be ignored. After a number of years, my fifty-dollar espresso machine has paid for itself hundreds of times over.

And that brings me to a third possibility. A couple of espressos delivers as much caffeine goodness as a pot of coffee from the middle of the last century.

This is another one of those scenarios where the explanation is irrelevant because the answer is of no importance.

25 October 2010

Mistaken Point

I just heard about Mistaken Point, Newfoundland; what a curious name. It seems rather redundant, in that the point of Newfoundland is a mistake. Or something like that. It’s a Canadian thing, and I don’t understand, even though I’ve been there.

I wonder if there’s any relationship between Mistaken Point and Point No Point on the other side of the continent? Like so many others, that’s another pointless question.

26 October 2010

The Deaf Can Finally Hear

Rodney told me an amazing story about his uncle, who’s a composer. His uncle went deaf, then reported that he can finally hear. That seems like a counterintuitive statement, until one remembers all the great work Beethoven cranked out after he lost his hearing.

I’m reminded of a visit with the late composer Lou Harrison at his home in Aptos, California. My traveling companion told Lou that it must be wonderful to be able to listen to the ocean all day.

“Hell, no!” Lou replied. “How can anyone think with all that noise?”

27 October 2010

Not Impossible

Ruth is telling me about her latest art project, something about making paintings based on pH variations is her cat’s urine. The process isn’t entire dependent on chance; she plans on varying her kitty’s diet to affect the results.

“That’s a ridiculous idea,” I opined. “I like it!”

“I figure you shouldn’t think of anything as impossible until it’s been done,” she explained.

Who said painting is boring? Not Ruth or me.

28 October 2010

Vagisil Deodorant Mist?!

After some juvenile delinquents stole my television in 1978, I never bought another one. As a result, I’m not that au fait with popular contemporary culture.

Unfortunately, my lack of a television has led some of my less than learned friends to accuse me of being an intellectual. I certainly ain’t no intellectual; intellectuals don’t use no double negatives. And, thanks to the Internet, my lack of a television hasn’t prevented me from wasting my time watching weeks and weeks of poorly-executed animation.

I’m thinking of the series South Park. Each episode is preceded by a warning, “The following program contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone.” A recent show featured a misogynistic marketer selling a fictitious product called Vagisil to eliminate “unpleasant feminine odors.” It was another predictably juvenile shtick.

I was again reminded of my disconnect from popular culture when I discovered Vagisil is a real product, available as Vagisil Original Strength Anti-Itch Creme, Vagisil Maximum Strength Anti-Itch Creme, Vagisil Medicated Anti-Itch Wipes, Vagisil Screening Kit, Vagisil Deodorant Powder, Vagisil Deodorant Mist, Vagisil Foaming Wash, Vagisil Intimate Lubricant, and Vagisil Yeast Itch Control Suppositories.

Maybe the South Park writers aren’t as imaginative as I imagined; perhaps all they need to do to come up with outrageous material is to watch television. Vagisil Deodorant Mist?!

Maybe I should try it. Television, that is.

29 October 2010

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Thirteen Pacific Horizons

Almost four years ago, I gave myself a quota of producing a “serious” art piece every month. I can be very disciplined when I need to be, and I have been. I can also cheat when I need to do so, and I’m doing so this month by presenting Thirteen Pacific Horizons.

I’ve been working on the piece for several years, looking at it every few months, changing a few little things, then putting it away again. I don’t think it’s among my best work, but I can’t think of any improvements either, so today I’m declaring it done. It’s like Paul Ambroise Valéry said, “An artist really never finishes his work, he just abandons it.”


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©2010 David Glenn Rinehart

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