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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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9 July 2017

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No. 2,353 (cartoon)

Nothing explains everything.

Everything explains nothing.

We can relax now.

10 July 2017

A Short Break

Fiona didn’t seem that upset with the abrupt end of her most recent romantic relationship.

“Knowing you as I do, I’d guess you’re ready for another boyfriend,” I suggested.

“I suppose so after I take a break for a while,” she replied.

“How long will that be?” I asked.

“Long enough to change the sheets,” she explained.

Sometimes love works in mysterious ways, and sometimes it doesn’t.

11 July 2017

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The Cheesy Skies

I successfully avoided airports for over a year and a half, but today my luck ran out. I’ll soon be on a Dairy Air flight to the midwest. I chose this airline for the most obvious of reasons; it offered the least expensive fare I could find. And then there’s the Buffet of the Heavens, which offers a selection of the same bland “American style” cheese in chunks, slices, or shredded form.

The day before I left, the airline mailed me a warning about what items I was forbidden to take on the plane. There wasn’t a list of verboten cargo, just a photograph of the banned items including a chainsaw, shotgun shells, radioactive materials, that sort of thing.

I was confused about why I received a photograph instead of a clearly worded notice, but not for long. Anyone stupid enough to bring lighter fluid and a tank of butane gas on a jet is probably illiterate.

Empirical evidence suggests the approach works; I’m fairly sure a terrorist with a chainsaw has never hurt anyone at an airport, let alone commandeered a plane.

12 July 2017

Excellent Research

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because anything important is worth repeating. Anything important is worth repeating.

One of the foundations of good health is to only read studies that conclude that your current behavior is good for you. I’ve read innumerable articles in peer-reviewed journals that confirm that drinking beer is healthy. They couldn’t print it if it wasn’t true, no?

In more good news, I just ran across not one but two new articles that validate my belief that coffee is a salubrious beverage. One survey of over half a million Europeans in ten countries—mostly people of noncolor—and a second analysis of almost two hundred thousand mostly people of most colors yielded roughly the same findings.

The more coffee you drink the longer you love. (I meant to write, “the longer you live,” but I’m going to leave the typo as is since it’s not a typo at all.) I was quite pleased with the results, and what java addict wouldn’t be? I don’t know if drinking an infinite amount of coffee would lead to an infinite lifespan, but who’d want that? After all, I have no idea what I’m going to do tomorrow (by design).

“I think that the solid conclusion is that if you’re a coffee drinker, keep drinking your coffee and be happy,” Dr. Alberto Ascherio, a Harvard professor, solidly concluded.

Evening is fast approaching, so I’m going to stop writing and examine a promising report on red wine from researchers in Bordeaux, corkscrew at the ready.

13 July 2017

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Eleven Yards of Flint, Michigan

I’m in Flint, Michigan, for biological reasons. Despite the unavoidable misery of being in a humid, polluted wasteland, I had a positive, memorable experience I’ll probably never enjoy in Sans Frisco. An explosive thunderclap detonated three meters above my roof in the middle of last night. (I was sleeping at the time, so the distance is a guesstimate.)

In a rare case of masochism, this afternoon I decided to use my camera to visually explore the neighborhood around Crapo Street, which, appropriately enough, is the southern boundary of the Flint Cultural Center. I started by placing a thin, narrow piece of wood .9144 meters long—a yard using imperial measurements—on lawns that were rich in entropy on the blocks bounded by Crapo Street, East Second Street, Chavez Drive, and East Kearsley Street.

I was too lazy and cheeseparing to get a neutral yardstick, so I used one emblazoned with advertising for a large corporation. I initially liked the approach; anything that minimizes work and expense always has a certain appeal. Later, though, I found the words and graphics distracting, so I digitally obliterated them. The resulting work, Eleven Yards of Flint, Michigan, is as tedious and delightful as the crumbling city of Flint itself.

14 July 2017

Smelling Food Makes You Fat

Yep, you read that headline right: Smelling Food Makes You Fat. As is so often the case, we need to look at our fellow animals to understand this biological phenomenon.

Three groups of mice with varying degrees of smelliness provided a compelling explanation. I didn’t word that very well: they all smelled like mice. What I should have said is that their ability to perceive smells ranged from hypersensitive to normal to unable to detect aromas.

Researchers fed the involuntary volunteers the Flint Diet; that’s the alleged cuisine found in fast food outlets around the world. The mices with the most sensitive sense of smell almost doubled their weight, whereas the ones who were unable to smell had a relatively modest ten percent weight gain.

Apparently, their (and our?) smelling acuity decreases after eating. Thus the mice that smelled food even when they were full stored the calories as fat since their central processing unit determined that they were in need of food, and the mice with no olfactory ability figured they could burn the calories with impunity since their bodies reported that they didn’t need food.

I’m no Michel de Nostredame, but I predict once this news is widely known I’ll see weight-conscious Californians using gas masks to navigate the Mission in order to resist the odiferous burritos’ siren call.

15 July 2017


Minnisha told me Annalee blindsided Kiliaen when she precipitously ended their relationship.

“Of course she did,” I said.

“What do you know about this?” Minnisha asked.

“Just a little bit about the English language,” I explained. “You said she blindsided him. Had he seen it coming, she would have eyesided him and/or he would have eyesighted her.”

“You know you’re an ignoramus, don’t you?” she replied.

“That’s always served me well,” I agreed. “It keeps other ignorami like Annalee away.”

Minnisha had the last word by claiming, “No one but ignoramuses use the word ignorami since there ain’t one.”

That’s debatable, but I didn’t argue in order to put an end to the boring conversation.

16 July 2017

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A Century and Forty Minutes Late

I returned to Sans Frisco today and read that the library is offering an amnesty program that allows scofflaws to return overdue library books with no fear of financial penalties. This program has led to a number of cockle-warming stories of ne’er-do-wells doing well and earning public redemption.

Webb Johnson, who turned in one of the thousands of overdue books, should be the poster boy for this scheme. He delivered a book his great-grandmother borrowed in 1917. She never gave it back, but she had an excuse so good that it wasn’t even an excuse, it was a bona fide reason: she died a week before the end of the loan period.

The book was by Francis Hopkinson Smith, who is perhaps best known for building foundation for the Statue of Liberty. It’s time for my lunch, so here’s the punch line.

The title of the book? Forty Minutes Late.


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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