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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak IV


22 January 2011

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No. 8,450 (cartoon)

Why do stupid things always happen to me?

Because smart things never occur to you.

23 January 2011

Upside-Down Guitars

A music critic recently described Jimi Hendrix as holding his guitar “upside down.” Comparing the quality of his guitar playing to almost everyone else’s work, I wonder if virtually all the other guitar players are holding their instruments upside down.

24 January 2011


Annie has a new volunteer working for her at her organization. He’s perhaps twenty years old, and half of his utterances consist of repeating the word, “awesome.” If Annie holds the door open for him, that’s awesome. If she shows him how to operate the copy machine, that too is awesome. It seems that very little in the young man’s life that’s not awesome.

I wonder what he’ll say if he’s ever really in awe of something?

I shouldn’t make fun of him. When I was his age, I didn’t hesitate to declare that something was “cool,” even when it was warmer than room temperature. Come to think of it, I still say “cool” much too often.

Awesome insight!

25 January 2011

A Very Generous Dram

It’s Burns night, and that means it’s time for whisky, haggis, and bad poetry at Wanda and Joel’s place.

Wanda asked me what I wanted to drink, and I gave her a request I’d never utter in Scotland.

“I’ll start with a dram of whisky,” I replied.

Wanda responded by pouring me a cupful of whisky.

“Thanks; that’s a generous dram,” I remarked.

“I can never remember if a dram’s a bit more or a bit less than a cup,” Wanda explained.

“I believe it’s actually less than a full cup,” I said.

That’s technically true; there are around two hundred and seventy drams in a liter. But if Wanda’s happy thinking a dram is sixty times larger than it really is, well, who am I to shatter her illusion? And anyway, the cup-sized dram was as authentically Scottish as the free-range pesto haggis.

26 January 2011

New Marijuana Trajectories

Marijuana smugglers have come up with an ingenious new way of getting their drugs across the border from Mexico into the United States. Actually, it’s an ingenious old way: they’re using a giant catapult. Authorities confiscated the three-meter tall catapult that the drug traffickers used to launch two-kilogram payloads over the tall border fence.

I wonder if the drug dealers were sampling their inventory when they devised their plan; it sounds like the kind of cockamamie thing someone might come up with after smoking lots of marijuana. On the other hand, no one knows how many kilograms successfully made it across the border before the operation was discovered. And since none of the smugglers on either side of the border were apprehended, perhaps it wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

27 January 2011

Powdery Bacon?!

Stephan announced that warm bread rolls were just the thing for lunch on a cold winter afternoon. He said he called his mother, got her classic recipe, and that we’d soon be enjoying an extraordinary lunch.

He was right about the extraordinary bit, but not about the enjoyment part. His bread rolls turned out to be wheat globs, blobs of oily, pasty dough. The bread was burnt in some places, almost raw in others. Even Stephan had to admit his concoction was disappointing at best.

He came up with the curious conclusion that he failed to get the bacon powdery enough. Powdery bacon?! I concluded that he transcribed his mother’s oral recipe wrong, and added bacon powder instead of baking powder.

Oh well, Stephan’s dogs enjoyed the greasy fiasco. And we went out and ate pizza made by people who knew how to bake.

28 January 2011

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Despite the best and most patient efforts of my learned friends, I remain fairly inept at wine pairings. Just last week I was cleaning up the aftermath of a dinner party, and found five empty wine bottles. This was undeniable proof that one bottle had gone unpaired.

And now, thanks to Sandy, I have new hope. She has an octocorkscrew, so it’s easy to see at a glance whether or not the wines are paired. She explained that it even works fine at large, boisterous parties. When it’s time to open the ninth bottle of wine, one just removes the first eight corks and starts over.

That’s even simple enough for an artist to use.

29 January 2011

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Two Hundred and Fifty Pieces of Mona Lisa in Ten Reticulations

Two Hundred and Fifty Pieces of Mona Lisa in Ten Reticulations is another one of my simple ideas that proved more difficult than I anticipated to execute. I bought a Mona Lisa jigsaw puzzle, which I planned to assemble, then disassemble leaving all the pieces near, but not touching each other. As usual, I didn’t plan ahead. The puzzle proved very challenging to put together since most of the pieces had no patterns to match.

After months of procrastination, I realized that I’d probably never put the puzzle together. I then photographed the back of each of the two hundred and fifty pieces and processed the resulting images through a vector graphics program to smooth the edges and eliminate all detail. Finally, I used a random number generator to determine the order in which the pieces were assembled on each of the ten grids.

After all that work, the results are underwhelming. But that’s art!


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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart