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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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26 November 2015

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No. 5,643 (cartoon)

This pain will never leave.

Your optimism amuses me.

27 November 2015

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For the Arts

Bodil and Larnie hosted a lovely Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. They served wine in glasses with “for the Arts” written on the side, which made drinking seem like something of an aesthetic quest, and contributed to the bonhomous burial of the white, frozen cat.

As with every other day, there was much for which to give thanks. Including for the arts, even.

28 November 2015

Accelerating at Five Hundred Times Gravity

“Fruit flies use hairs on their head and thorax to catapult dust off of them at accelerations of up to five hundred times Earth’s gravity.”

I’m confused, as usual, after reading that entry in a recent issue of Entomological Gleanings. I didn’t know gravity had a given speed. And since fruit flies don’t live very long, I wouldn’t think that they’d have time to get dusty. But most importantly, why aren’t the scientists doing something to extend their life expectancy? The little buggers have never lived much longer than a day or so since clocks were invented.

Fruit flies everywhere would enthusiastically support such research, but it will probably never happen. If all the kajallions of fruit flied contributed all their financial resources for such a project, they wouldn’t have enough money to even reëxamine the hairs on their dusty, little thoraxes.

29 November 2015

The Virgin Jesus on a Banana Peel

“David, do you know what the problem with your photography is?” Alonso asked.

“Too many cameras and not enough brains?” I answered nervously.

“No, those cameras are cash machines and you ain’t making no money with ’em!” he replied.

He went on to explain that I needed to monetize pareidolia, “the thing where people see the face of the virgin Jesus on a bruised banana and all that crap.”

I noted—but did not mention—that Alonso didn’t offer to pay me to make such ostensibly profitable images for him. If I had a dollar for every time I took someone’s advice on how to make more money, I wouldn’t have a dollar. And yet, I have plenty of dollars, so I must be doing something right.

30 November 2015

Robert Frank Has No Socks

When it comes to reading periodicals on a regular basis, I don’t. And so, I only just got around to reading Nicholas Dawidoff’s lovely profile of Robert Frank published in July.

Frank, now ninety years old, doesn’t wear socks. “I decided if I swore off socks, I had more money for books,” he explained. He didn’t also explain why he still doesn’t wear socks even though he has more money that he can spend, but that’s not of much interest. I will bet, however, that at least one aspiring idiot who hears that will forgo socks in the interest of making better photographs.

And speaking of the photo weenies, I wonder what they’ll make of this. Frank said that he decided to ‘‘put my Leica in the cupboard’’ in 1959. He still makes photographs using an Olympus camera ... and here’s the technological punch line ... using film.

And speaking of film, Frank shot about seven hundred and fifty rolls of film to make the eighty-three photographs that appeared in his masterpiece—the repeated description in the article with which I can’t disagree—The Americans.

There was much more to the article than that, so I’ll conclude with Frank’s summary, “It’s the misinformation that’s important.’’

1 December 2015

And Heaven Knows He’s Miserable Now

I was correct when I recently predicted that Steven Patrick Morrissey would win the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award for this unforgettable paragraph.

At this, Eliza and Ezra rolled together into the one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, screaming and shouting as they playfully bit and pulled at each other in a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation with Eliza’s breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra’s howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation extenuating his excitement as it whacked and smacked its way into every muscle of Eliza’s body except for the otherwise central zone.

And heaven knows he’s miserable now ...

Ferdinand wasn’t expecting that at all from Morrissey, and was dramatically upset with his former idol’s dubious achievement.

“That was so pathetically insipid that I have decided to deadmire him,” he wrote.

I wonder if he meant de-admire or dead-mire him? Both are good words, but I think I’ll keep the original version without the hyphen.

Rowan Somerville, who won the prize in 2010, was much more appreciative of the recognition. “There’s nothing more English than bad sex, so on behalf of a nation, I thank you.”

2 December 2015

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The Impact of Big Data

The Internet Archive stores dozens of petabytes of information on tens of thousands of hard disks. I don’t know how much that is in bits and bytes; I’m not really sure if I know the difference. I only know that it involves more zeros than I have fingers and toes.

I wondered what impact that much data has on the real world, so I decided to find out. I took a two terabyte hard drive to the Archive’s roof and tossed it onto the lawn sixteen meters below. The six hundred gram hard drive smashed into the grass with considerable speed; I suppose that’s fast data.

As I documented in The Impact of Big Data, the device made a small crater in the ground, and opened up new possibilities for an earthworm, who explored the new opportunities that big data had literally opened up for him/her/it. (Even though I love stupid pursuits, even I don’t have the patience to sex a worm.)

If only two terabytes of offline data changed the life of that earthworm, just imagine how tens of millions of gigabytes of live information might affect the lives of slightly more sentient beings.

I can’t begin to do that; I’m just happy for the fortunate earthworm.


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©2015 David Glenn Rinehart

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