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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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9 July 2013

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No. 179 (cartoon)

Did you go to school, stupid?

And that’s how I came out, too.

10 July 2013

Experimenting with Sauvignon Blanc

Toni grabbed an expensive bottle of Sauvignon Blanc when we were shopping today. I suggested she get a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that cost less than three dollars instead, so she bought that as well in order to do an experiment.

When we got back to Toni’s place, I poured a glass of the cheap Sauvignon Blanc and a glass of the expensive version. She tested both, and concluded that she didn’t like Sauvignon Blanc. Toni gave me both bottles to finish; science doesn’t get any better than that!

11 July 2013

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The Slowest Race in the World

A year ago I wrote about the tar pitch experiment at the University of Queensland. The Australian researchers set out in 1927 to prove that the apparent solid is, in fact, a high-viscosity liquid. The pitch drips about once a decade or so, but no one ever saw the drop drip, or the drip drop.

Meanwhile, a similar experiment at Trinity College Dublin that began in 1944 has yielded dramatic results. Researchers there published breathtaking video of an actual drop of pitch dripping/dropping/plopping.

I’ve been so mesmerized by today’s images of the tar drip that everything else in the universe seems relatively meaningless, so it’s time to stop writing and see how the pitch in Queensland is dangling.

12 July 2013

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Gratuitous Photo of the Weak: A Plague of Trumpeters

San Francisco doesn’t have a city council; my minor metropolis is governed [sic] by the dysfunctional equivalent, a board of supervisors. In 1989, the board ended decades of squabbling by partitioning Golden Gate Park into eight “Tribal Homelands” for athletes, birders, breeders, cyclists, dog walkers, drunks and hippies, neighbors, and, of course, tourists. Segregation finally made it to Sans Frisco!

The bizarre apartheid system worked well until the recent plague of trumpeters overran the urban parkland. They seem to appear randomly, like brassy venereal disease sores. There I am, pedaling along one of the most remote trails, and I’m assaulted by the tinny caterwauling. People chase them from forest to vale and back again, but they seem to be multiplying like rabbits drunk on Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck.

The infestation of trumpeters has baffled the best minds on the board of supervisors, but that’s not saying much. I don’t have a problem with the would-be musicians; I wear headphones blaring my band’s music when I’m in the park.

Problem solved, almost. Trumpeters should be not seen and not heard, so I’m halfway there.

13 July 2013

Working at Nothing

Anastasia called to ask what I was doing.

“Nothing,” I explained without explaining anything.

“You said that you did that yesterday,” she replied.

“I didn’t finish,” I responded.

An artist’s work is never done, and mine never is either. I love to work at nothing all day.

14 July 2013

The Trip to Echo Spring

Olivia Laing has written a new book, The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink.

How she could have spent two hundred and eighty-four pages on the subject, this I do not know. And I’m not going to know, either, since it seems like a silly book to read. First, the obvious reason anyone drinks alcohol is to experience—and, ideally, enjoy—its effects, from the mildest inebriation to suicidal excess. And why did she single out writers; why not include actors, artists, musicians, and other theoretically creative people as well? She may as well have included bankers, bikers, and the rest of humanity, too, since she had all of those pages to fill.

Although Henny Youngman died fifteen years before Laing’s book was published, he wrote a great review: “When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.”

15 July 2013

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Jean Cocteau’s Amazing Day

Well, dang! Dang it all, anyhow! I’m observing Jean Cocteau’s Amazing Day on 15 July instead of 15 June. How did I miss that?!

And so, better late than never, this is my 2013 celebration of Cocteau’s brilliant insight, “Stupidity is always amazing, no matter how used to it you become.”

I didn’t have to go far this year. A local television station’s “journalists” probably gave themselves rotator cuff injuries by announcing that theirs was the first news outlet to report the name of the four stooges on the flight deck of the Korean airliner that recently crashed here. According to the august television station’s investigative team, the four pilots’ names were:

Captain Sum Ting Wong

Wi Tu Lo

Ho Lee Fuk

Bang Ding Ow

Anyone with the intelligence of an eleven-year-old child would have spotted the juvenile prank. Sadly, none of the people on duty enjoyed that level of sophistication.

Wah Ti Fuk?!

16 July 2013

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Lands End

I rode my bike west on Clement Street to the end of the land, where I inevitably found myself at Lands End. I ignored the grand, clichéd views of the Pacific and the Golden Gate, and instead photographed the concrete retaining wall. The predictable result: Lands End.

The panels may have had images of some sort once upon a time, but they’ve long been painted over by government workers. The white patches are presumably where they covered graffiti. I don’t think anyone was trying for art, which may or not be why it sort of looks like art.


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©2013 David Glenn Rinehart

nothing nothing nothing nothing