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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XIX


7 May 2017

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No. 284 (cartoon)

You’re in my will; what would you like me to leave you?


8 May 2017

The Cold Spaghetti Lottery

Annette is playing the cold spaghetti lottery; here’s how it works.

Everyone knows that cold spaghetti that’s been aging in the refrigerator for a week or so tastes better than newborn spaghetti. The problem is that most people don’t have the patience or the self-control to let it mature in the icebox.

Annette’s been keeping an eye on the large container of spaghetti and meatballs that Imelda put in the communal refrigerator inside their company’s lunchroom last Wednesday. Employees aren’t allowed to keep leftovers in there for more than four days, so if it’s in there tomorrow morning Annette’s going to grab it and assume Imelda will blame the cleaning staff.

I know this because Annette called me this afternoon to share her anxiety that Imelda might take her cold spaghetti home with her tonight. That’s what passes for excitement on the job in corporate America, yawn.

9 May 2017

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Traffic Counter

Half a century ago or so my father got a little extra money moonlighting as a traffic counter. He’d park his car at an intersection and count how many cars from passed through and in what direction.

I remembered that obscure childhood memory this afternoon when I saw a traffic counter whilst cycling up Funston Avenue. Given the year, this public servant was a machine providing more detailed and accurate data to traffic engineers than my father—equipped with only a pencil, a clipboard, and beer—ever did.

Machines are replacing human workers at a dizzyingly accelerating rate. Imagine, almost no human truck drivers in a decade! I can’t. San Francisco city administrators aren’t as stupid as commonly believed; they’re already figuring out how to tax robots since unemployed people don’t pay taxes.

I’m reminded of the time William Gladstone met Michael Faraday. The prime minister asked the scientist if his his work with electricity was any use.

“Yes, sir,” Faraday replied. “One day you shall tax it.”

10 May 2017

Avocado Hand

Another day, another scourge. The menace du jour is Avocado Hand. Apparently there’s an epidemic among chowderheads stabbing or slicing themselves trying to cut open an avocado and remove the stone.

I don’t see what the problem is. Did Charles Darwin die in vain?

11 May 2017

Trophy Camera

Another weak, another stooopid camera. This one’s just the opposite of the one I recently mentioned that makes five trillion exposures a second. The Trophy Camera only makes “award-winning” photographs.

The instrument has no viewfinder or user controls. The “photographer” points the device at something of interest, and when the embedded computer finds a visual similarity to World Press Photo winners from the last sixty years, it creates the user’s very own great photograph.

I think this is a wonderful development. Dries Depoorter and Max Pinckers, the inventors, are geniuses for recognizing that there are a lot more idiots than sentient beings in the photography marketplace. What a brilliant move! While almost everyone in Silly-Con Valley is pursuing artificial intelligence, they’re tapping into the much larger potential of artificial stupidity.

12 May 2017

Just Joining Us?

I used to like listening to Terri Gross’s interviews, but that was decades ago. These days, her interview programs are unlistenable because of all the advertisements on “commercial-free” radio. For example ...

“I’m going to ask you about your daughter’s suicide after a break, but first a word from one of our sponsors, Harry’s Hemorrhoid Rub.” Then comes a most annoying advertisement that “Public” Broadcasting administraitors insist is not an ad because the word “dollar” is never mentioned. After the infuriating nuisance, it’s back to the show.

“If you’re just joining us,” Gross resumes, “my guest is Al Spanger, the author of, My Daughter Blew Her Brains Out So You Don’t Have To.” Just once, I wish she’d add, “and if you’ve been listening all along, my guest is Dr. Suzanne Maxwell, creator of the Shit Yourself Skinny diet.”

For all I know she’s already done that. I stop listening long ago when the shameless hucksterism became insufferable.

13 May 2017

Leftover Dinner Rolls Revisited

I don’t know why I’m bothering to report that Nora is complaining; she does that more frequently than the sun rises and sets. Twenty-Three Leftover Dinner Rolls were the catalyst for today’s jeremiad.

“Eat art!” I exclaimed as I offered her one of the rolls from my recent series.

“They look stale,” she replied as she backed away.

“What did you expect from two-week-old bread?” I asked.

“I’m insulted that you’d even think of giving me a glutenous rock,” the gnashnab sniffed.

“It’s a limited edition piece of art!” I protested. “And anyway, they were stale when they came out of the oven.”

14 May 2017

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I see the Storage building at least once a week, it’s next-door to the wine store. I’ve been meaning to photograph it for years; that’s how long I’ve been waiting to see it in the morning sun. (I enjoy living in the fog belt, and rarely have occasion to shop for wine before noon.)

I finally made the photograph I’ve been planning for years, and in a second burst of creativity decided to call it Storage. I don’t know if I like it because it looks like something Ed Rusha might have done or in spite of the fact that it looks like an image Rusha created. I’m leaning toward the latter explanation.


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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