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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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10 September 2017

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No. 35 (cartoon)

You have no better friend than me.

I’m grateful for that.

And I hate you.

11 September 2017

Water versus Lead

If you’re an American threatened by something, what do you do? Muggers? Shoot ’em! Rabid wolverines on methamphetamine? Blast ’em! Hurricane barreling toward you at three hundred kilometers an hour? The answer is obvious: assemble a militia and open fire!

Ryon Edwards, who lives in DeLand, Florida, knew just what to do when Hurricane Irma was headed straight for him: post a call to arms on the Internet. That’s what Edwards did, and fifty-six thousand of his neighbors expressed interest in joining him.

It kind of makes sense if you’ve had enough to drink. The hurricane was blowing at three hundred kilometers an hour, but bullets are over four times as fast.

The bleeding heart liberals in the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office were agin it. They issued a press release, “To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons at the hurricane. You won’t make it turn around and it will have very dangerous side effects.” (No doubt the coppers were thinking of environmental reports from Chicago, where lead accounts for some seven percent of precipitation in the grim metropolis.)

Edwards’ brilliant idea lead to others to join the civil defense efforts using flamethrowers and fans.

I just checked the scoreboard, and here’s the latest tally as I’m about to go to sleep:

Hurricane: 7,923,546
Edwards: nil

Maybe he’ll shoot for best of two out of three?

12 September 2017

A Huge Mistake

Four blind people visited the Internet Archive this morning to discuss how best to serve the visually impaired. I was struck by the realization that I’ve only spoken with a blind person once or twice in my entire life. Living in a multicultural and multiracial bubble/island adjacent to the United States provides the false impression of full inclusion and diversity, but that’s an illusion.

“Society as a whole is about as aware of people with disabilities as society was about race a hundred years ago,” Frank Wekte explained. “If you think about how most white folks felt about black folks in 1910, that’s about where people are with awareness of people with disabilities, at best.”

Sight is perhaps my favorite sense. I feel terrible for anyone who can’t enjoy the experience, especially one of the visitors who had most of his face reconstructed with skin grafts. He didn’t hesitate to set everyone straight.

“The most common thing is for people to feel sorry for you, he noted, “which is just a huge mistake.”

Dr. Joshua Miele’s image is easily available on the Internet. I didn’t publish the photo I made of him here, because I’d prefer that anyone reading this think of his work as the Associate Director of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and not as the victim of an acid attack forty years ago.

13 September 2017

Hurricanes and Earthquakes

My cousin Janice lives in Jacksonville, Florida. As a result of the recent hurricane, the city experienced the most severe flooding since 1846. She sent me photographs of the downed trees in her yard with her house sheathed in plywood in the background.

“Cousin, how can you live in in a fetid swamp on Hurricane highway?” I asked lovingly.

That’s pretty funny coming from a guy living on the San Andreas Fault,” she replied. “Too bad you’ll be dead dead dead under a mountain of rubble so you won’t hear me when I have the last laugh.”

I love my cousin and she loves me, but certainly not in that incestuously creepy Dixie way.

14 September 2017

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Lowly Moths and Fact Checkers

I love urban myths. My life is so much more rewarding when I just enjoy imagining things without frittering away my time wondering whether or not they’re true. I’m thinking of those tireless sleuths working in The New Yorker magazine’s legendary fact-checking department. That, too, may be just another urban myth.

The New Yorker recently published a piece by Andrea K. Scott, Emmet Gowin’s Stunning Celebration of the Lowly Moth. There’s nothing lowly about the insects covered in colorful geometric patterns. Evolution and the moths provided all the creative visuals; all Gowin had to do was to point his camera and press the shutter release. But the debate about whether or not moths are lowly is subjective, not factual. And speaking of facts ...

The first known camera-based image of a moth—a pair of lacily patterned wings—was made using a microscope, circa 1940, by William Henry Fox Talbot.

Scott wrote that and The New Yorker published it; that’s astounding. Was no one skeptical of the claim that no one photographed a moth before 1940?! And none of the apparently mythical “fact checkers” noted that Talbot died a hundred and forty years ago?!

It looks like I could probably get a job with The New Yorker as a fact checker, but who wants a job?

15 September 2017

Whisky, Soy Sauce, and Vinegar

I had a trivial economic insight when Stewart and I were having dinner at my studio tonight.

“It just occurred to me that the bottle of whisky and the bottle of soy sauce on the table cost about the same per milliliter,” I noted.

“The reason is obvious,” he explained, “it’s because they’re both distilled.”

“Then why is distilled vinegar so cheap?”

“Again, the answer is obvious.”

“Yes ...?”

“I’m talking complete bollocks,” he concluded.

Having found common ground, we proceeded to continue to enthusiastically discuss myriad subjects about which we both knew bugger all.

16 September 2017

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Sexist Pigdogs Make Excellent Optics

Veronica is a pixelpeeeper, one of those people who’s more interested in technology than, well, anything else. She spent an inordinate amount of time investigating which corporation manufactured the sensor in her new camera. Was it Nikon? Sony? Park Tools?

She showed up at my studio this afternoon quite distressed by a recent discovery. She found a photograph on the Internet of the camera’s guts that frustrated her. The image showed the sensor with eight words etched underneath: “Sensor made by: Doesn’t matter, just take pictures.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she wailed.

(I admit it wasn’t a proper wail, but close enough for storytelling purposes.)

“That’s obviously a manipulated photograph,” I explained. “First, no Japanese salaryman is going to risk his career by doing something that clever. Second, another salaryman up the corporate ladder would have erased it. And finally, if all the salarymen approved, it would have been printed in kanji, not English.”

Veronica’s not one to admit defeat, so she picked another fight.

“What’s with your sexist ‘salaryman’ language?” she asked.

“Welcome to Japan,” I replied. “Ninety percent of Nikon’s employees are men, and guess how many of the thirty-two photographers they hired to promote your new camera are female?”

“Zero,” I replied to my hypothetical question.

After our conversation, I sent a proposal to the Nikon Corporation’s advertising agency suggesting a new corporate tagline: “We may be sexist pigdogs, but our cameras and lenses are most excellent.”

Now it’s just a matter of waiting for my eighty-thousand dollar consulting fee to be paid.

17 September 2017

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P Is For Paint

Once a year Dr. Austin shows up with a seven-ton, coal-powered Buffalo Springfield steamroller from 1924 and invites me to have fun with it. This year I grabbed some fine-artsy rag paper, a can of spray paint, and twenty-eight paintballs and made a sandwich for the steamroller to render infrathin.

I hate to sound complacent, but I’m rather pleased with the result, P Is For Paint.


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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