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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak III


15 January 2018

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No. 6,852 (cartoon)

You only pretend to like me.

But I’ve always sincerely despised you.

16 January 2018

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A Disturbing False Alarm

Last Saturday the Emergency Management Agency broadcast a warning that a ballistic missile was headed toward Hawai’i. The alert lasted for almost twice as long as it would take for a North Korean missile to land in the tropical islands and finally put an end to the ongoing ukulele menace. Penelope called to report the human toll.

“Poor Gareth is still traumatized by the incident,” she said with a laugh.

“My humor is as dark as anyone’s,” I replied, “but what’s so funny about that?”

“He sent the same hysterical email message to everyone in his address book saying how much he loved them, wished he could go back in time and be a better friend, and regretted not being closer,” she explained. “He’s deeply embarrassed now that he’s back to being an irascible grump after the false alarm.”

I’m not sure if Penelope was telling the truth or just retelling an old Rod Serling story. It doesn’t matter to me; I appreciate anything that paints nuclear war in an amusing light since the flash from the explosion will be pretty darn lugubrious.

17 January 2018

Team In-N-Out

“I consider working for a living slightly imbecilic from an economic point of view,” declared Marcel Duchamp. I agree—what thinking person wouldn’t?—so I never do anything just for the money except for those rare occasions when I do.

I’m thinking of focus groups, where I make two or three hundred dollars an hour for lying. I’ve pretended to be a hedge fund manager, a laparoschisis survivor, a retired coal miner, et cetera. And so I wasn’t at all surprised when a corporate hack paid a lot of money to ask me about my fictional background as a professional cyclist. What was most unusual, though, was that most of my answers were more or less true.

How often do you cycle?

At least ten kilometers a day on average.

Elevation gain?

One or two hundred meters.

Do you use drugs?

None unless you count alcohol.

That’s when she propositioned me: “Dr. Rinehart, we want you to lead Team In-N-Out to victory in the Tour de France.”

I protested that although I’m in very good shape, I couldn’t even walk my bike to one of the higher summits in the allotted time. There’s a reason that everyone in the peloton refers to Road to Col de la Croix de Fer is known as, “the boulevard of broken testicles.” (It sounds even worse in French.)

The recruiter dismissed my reservations.

“All of our competitors from Chris Froome on down are using some exotic flavor of doping,” she explained. “Team In-N-Out will triumph after everyone else is disqualified.”

I was tempted to accept the offer for a few moments when I thought about living on fries for a month while cycling around Europe, but quickly spotted the trap: she was trying to trick me into getting a job job.

Whew; that was close!

18 January 2018

Free Dr. Gerstle

I never look for good journalism in Kentucky, and the “reporters” from a television station in Lexington lived up to my negative expectations when they wrote, “Police in Kentucky arrested a plastic surgeon [Dr. Theodore Gerstle] on the street after a hospital received a report that he showed up for surgery possibly intoxicated.”

That’s news?!

That is most certainly not news. After all, haven’t we all seen a hundred movies about doctors who need a drink or three in the morning to steady their hands? Of course we have; it’s obviously good standard practice.

And I’m sure that if my job entailed cutting open someone to pull out handfuls of fat I know I wouldn’t want to be fully conscious during such a repulsive chore.

And of course plastic surgeons are frequently drunk during surgery, one trip to Hollywood is all it takes to know that.

Free Dr. Gerstle; he deserves another chance.

19 January 2018

A Waste of Protein

Buzz’s puppy ran out in front of a speeding truck but didn’t run back. Oh well, the wee critter won’t make that mistake again, it’s as dead as a small mammal squished by a heavy lorry can be.

Buzz had his little beast cremated, which I thought was a waste of money, energy, and tenderized meat. (When I asked the Internet for a synonym for “puppy,” it asked me if I meant to say “pulpy.” I find it most interesting that the data on the Internet has already established a correlation between small dogs and large motor vehicles.)

In any case, it was a sad day any way you slice it. I hate to see that much protein go up in smoke when there are so many hungry kittens to feed.

20 January 2018

Don’t Ruin the Hossenfeffer

Annie invited me to join her in the women’s march today. I was dubious since I ain’t never been no woman, but she assured me that I’d be welcome, and not just because I identify myself as “Lesbian American” on government forms.

An anti-fascist gathering in San Francisco was as predictable as a pro-corn rally in Des Moines, but I nevertheless had a good time after we met up with Wanda and Joel. I was of course not an objective observer, but I thought Wanda had the best sign:


“Prosciutto crudo o prosciutto cotto?” I asked.

“Prosciutto crudo ovviamente, cretino!” she replied with a slight snark.

“So you’re semi-pro-sciutto?” I continued.

“Don’t split political hares,” she advised, “You’ll ruin the hossenfeffer,” she advised.

We went on to enjoy a variety of vegetarian snacks, and that was that.

21 January 2018

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The Elements of Style (Triptych)

The Elements of Style (Triptych) may or may not be a story; that’s up to you. For me, it was my first—but certainly not my last—opportunity to finally use my antique flour sifter.


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©2018 David Glenn Rinehart