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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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11 December 2017

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No. 4,334 (cartoon)

I may regret this in the morning.

You won’t have to wait.

12 December 2017

Morgan Walker 1957-2017

I never asked Morgan how he felt about triskaidekaphilia and triskaidekaphobia, the love and fear of the number thirteen. I’ll never be able to ask him; I just learned that he died on Friday the thirteenth of October.

This isn’t an obituary, but I will note my favorite idea of his. On our last visit, which turned out to be our final visit, we spent the night in front of the fireplace in his rural Connecticut studio and home during a power outage after an ice storm. The bottom floor was littered with musical instruments, drums, amplifiers, and litter. Hordes of people traipsed in and out through snow and mud on the short walk from their cars, and he made no attempt to keep up with the steady stream of debris.

The upper story was a different story. He left his dirty boots at the bottom of the stairs; his private space as spotless. That was perhaps the least of his creative achievements, but the one I shall plagiarize should I ever find myself living in a place with stairs.

I really don’t have much to say about a wonderful and generous friend I’ll never see again; that’s really all there is to say.

13 December 2017

Grammar Lessons Unlearned

I like to write. Or, more accurately, I like to tell stories and jokes. I’m not very good at writing, and it shows.

I have no formal training in grammar and litterature, but my friend Brad proofed these typo-rich pages a couple of decades ago. He’s smart enough to be a pedant but polite enough not to be one with his friends, and I appreciated the things he taught me about punctuation and such stuffs, although it seems I may not have learned much.

I called him today to tell him about Morgan’s death; the three of us went to high school together at Interlochen. He claimed that he enjoys reading this drivel even though my grammar and punctuation sometimes make him grind his teeth.

“But everything I know about grammar I learned from you!” I protested.

For the first time in recent memory, he was at a loss for words. Did I mention that he was polite?

14 December 2017

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All You Need to Know About Australia

Forget all of that “put another shrimp on the barbie” twozzle; here’s all you need to know about Australia: sheep and wheat.

Sheep. Wheat. That’s it.

Thanks to The New Oxford Wall Maps of Australia (the English aren’t entirely worthless), I now have a map of Australia that tells me everything I need to know on my next visit, i.e., sheep and wheat. And as the map notes, forget Tasmania. “No very important Wheat areas in Tasmania.”

Armed with that knowledge, I shall be prepared when it’s time to head down under, which should be never ever, give or take a year.

15 December 2017

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Four Internet Archive Identification Neutrality Portraits

I was asked to make “head shots” of some of my learned colleagues here at the Internet Archive. I thought creating generic photographs of everyone’s face with the same expression at the same angle under identical lighting was and continues to be a bad idea; here’s why.

My fellow archivists have one thing in common: they do good work. Isn’t that how they should be known? Flattering portraits don’t provide any information about their skills and accomplishments. Even worse, they enable prejudicial judgments based on age, gender, skin color, attractiveness, et cetera.

To address these concerns, I made some demonstration images to serve as proof of concept. Four Internet Archive Identification Neutrality Portraits are unique and convey no irrelevant information in general and no prejudicial data in particular.

16 December 2017

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The Perfect Toilet Seat?

I ended up in the basement of the Haas-Lilienthal House tonight. I can recommend it as a fine, historically significant heritage site in which to urinate in spite of some hideous interior design from the seventies.

I was struck by a detail I’ve never seen before: a handle on the toilet seat in the basement bathroom. It’s such an obviously great design; why aren’t all toilet seats like that?

Perhaps it was created by and/or for members of the Red Army Faction after German police collected fingerprints from the underside of toilet seats to track down the miscreants. If I was a marriage therapist I’d give one to all of my clients; I can’t think of a more efficacious way to improve and sustain a healthy relationship.


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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