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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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12 November 2016

gratuitous image

No. 8,649 (cartoon)

You don’t know the meaning of love.

I ain’t no intellectual.

13 November 2016


Baldassare Castiglione came up with a great new word, sprezzatura, in The Book of the Courtier. The volume is more or less a 1528 version of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

As I understand it, sprezzatura means giving the appearance of ease and nonchalance while working assiduously. I’m thinking of a ballet dancer seemingly floating around the stage after apparently gobbling a handful of antigravity pills and masking the huge athletic effort involved.

I suppose the French translation of sprezzatura is insouciance. They’re both great words, but of almost no use to me because they’re difficult to spell and even harder to pronounce correctly.

I’m not too disappointed they’re not a part of my regular vocabulary. I rarely make much of an effort, so there’s nothing to hide.

14 November 2016

Harvesting Brains

Imogen is a freelance brain harvester; it’s one of those great jobs that no one ever mentions at career day in school.

Let’s say you will you brain or body to science. When you die of a condition that’s of interest to researchers, they ask Imogen to retrieve your brain and perhaps a bit of the spinal cord as well. She shows up with her five-thousand dollar saw, expertly removes the top of your skull, plucks out the grey cauliflower that used to be your brain, then ships it to some laboratory in an insulated box filled with dry ice.

Imogen scoffed when I told her I couldn’t do anything like that; she insisted it was a no-brainer.

15 November 2016


I needed a model for a stupid photograph involving a small squid, a liter of mayonnaise, and seventeen clothespins, so I asked Gertrude if she’d volunteer.

“Absolutely!” she replied.

I was shocked; I was certain she’d decline such a ridiculous proposal.

“You’d really do that?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” she confirmed, “absolutely not.”

Whew, that was close. Gertrude, a small squid, a liter of mayonnaise, and seventeen clothespins would not have been a good fit.

16 November 2016

gratuitous image

Above The Really Really Great Room

I noticed interesting patterns on a cement wall above the Internet Archive’s Really Really Great Room while installing my ersatz Eruv. I’m not sure how they got there, but they appear to be some sort of calcium deposit from water leaks as well as asphalt patches. The patterns reminded me of cave paintings for no logical reason except perhaps that the dark space above The Really Really Great Room feels a bit like a cave.

I like the photograph I made, Above The Really Really Great Room, although I can’t really take much artistic credit for documenting a natural phenomenon and/or someone else’s creation.

17 November 2016


I’ve been looking forward to this day for months: the publication of The Literary Review’s finalists for the bad sex in fiction award. The name of the prize should be the bad writing about sex in fiction award since it’s about bad writing, not bad sex per se. Everyone needs an editor!

She had some stiff competition, but Gayle Forman came up with my favorite passage.

Once they were in that room, Jason had slammed the door and devoured her with his mouth, his hands, which were everywhere. As if he were ravenous.


18 November 2016


Cordelia told me that “post-truth” is the Oxford Dictionaries’ international word of the year. She said that I must be very pleased, given my tenuous connection to reality.

I found it ironic that her comment was in fact post-truth. I’ve always been pre-truth, so post-truth has nothing to do with me.

19 November 2016

Moose Deadlock

I’m generally not interested in wildlife photography, but I’m making an exception for Jeff Erickson’s photograph of two moose near Unalakleet, Alaska. (As a semantic aside, I wonder why the plural of moose isn’t mooses?)

The image shows the beasts’ huge antlers locked in a battle to the death. There’s no question about that, both of them are dead. They appear to have drowned; Erickson’s photograph shows them not only frozen in time but also frozen in the thick ice covering a river.

I think Erickson could make a lot of money licensing the picture; it’s a great metaphor for all sorts of things.


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©2016 David Glenn Rinehart

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