free (and worth it) subscription

An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak

Weak XII


19 March 2018

gratuitous image

No. 5,297 (cartoon)

I’m glad the monster burned alive.

You’ll be dead too someday.

Not in my lifetime.

20 March 2018

One Down, Two to Go

I haven’t noted the death of an old white male since 2014, but I’m afraid it’s that time again.

It’s been another horrible day for Northern White Rhinoceroses, even horribler than usual for the beleaguered horned creatures. A third of the entire species died today, including every single male. I’m talking about Sudan, the beast, not the country. His daughter, Najin, and his granddaughter, Fatu, are the only two members of the species left.

I’ve never pretended to be a biologist and I’m not going to start now, but this doesn’t bode well for future generations since there aren’t going to be any, barring a highly improbable in-vitro fertilization program guesstimated to cost some nine million dollars. (Is it incest if a male posthumously impregnates his daughter and or granddaughter?)

As Alphonse says, follow the curve, not the line. Here’s the countdown to extinction for the Northern White Rhinoceroses:

18 October 2014: six left

15 December 2014: five left

28 July 2015: four left

15 May 2016: three left

20 March 2018: two left (both female)

I can’t take any pleasure in this conjecture, but it looks like the Northern White Rhinoceroses will be extinct before I am.

21 March 2018

They Blow Up So Fast

Mark Anthony Conditt did not have a good lawyer, or else he wouldn’t have made such a stupid, self-incriminating move.

Police suspected that Conditt was the person who’d been planting bombs in and around Austin, Texas, for the last three weeks. A swarm of cops surrounded his automobile when he pulled off the highway; that apparently tipped off the suspect that they’d twigged him.

A competent attorney would have advised him to keep his mouth shut. Conditt wasn’t smart enough to do that; he didn’t even try to lie and bluff his way out of the situation. Instead, he more or less admitted his guilt by detonating a bomb inside his car. If the blast didn’t kill him, the police bullets did. Not only was the twenty-four-year-old bomber caught red-handed, he was caught red-everythinged.

Margaret Crockett, a neighbor, said she’d known the Conditt since he was a little boy.

“I can still see him walking around the neighborhood in his little cowboy outfit,” she recalled. “They blow up so fast, don’t they?”

22 March 2018

Pip Pip and Cheerios!

I saw a balding, middle-aged man outside the entrance to Used Foods, my favorite discount grocery store; he was apparently waiting to meet someone. Even though he appeared to be relaxed, he had a seemingly permanent scowl, with perhaps hints of anger, bitterness, and resignation.

He saved a dime by not purchasing a carryout bag, so I could see everything he’d just purchased: two giant boxes of “Cheerios” cereal.

I wonder if he’ll be cheery after eating all that dreck, or if the industrial fare rich in sugar and additives made him who he is today?

I didn’t photograph him since I didn’t have a good camera with me at the time (who could have anticipated finding such a visual treasure on a shopping trip?), but I’m not at all disappointed. My cursory description allows anyone to create her or his own visual image, most if not all of which will be better than anything I could have pulled out of my Leica.

23 March 2018

Everybody Must Get Stones

The Stone Student Center was one of the prominent buildings at Interlochen, the high school I attended in the Michigan woods. The facility was more popularly known as the Stoned Student Center; the vending machine filled with chocolate in the basement was a popular destination for anyone with a drug-induced appetite.

Moving on without even an attempt at a legitimate segue, David Helsel came up with a novel defense against an assailant firing a military assault rifle: stones. That’s what took down Goliath; I’m David, so I should know. The Pennsylvania school administrator proposed arming each classroom with a large bucket of rocks.

“If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms,” he explained, “they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks, and they will be stoned.”

Assuming the education bureaucrat has a basic knowledge of grammar (perhaps an unwise supposition), he meant that the students will be stoned since he mentioned a single invader and used the plural case for the pupils.

That’s a safe bet; how else would they cope with their long sentence of serving time in a mediocre school?

Regardless of whether the kids are on drugs, I think throwing rocks at someone spraying the room with bullets from an automatic weapon is a terribly bad idea. After all, the cardinal rule of a firefight is to shoot the person who’s aiming at you first.

24 March 2018

There’s No Budget Like No Budget

Duane is whinging over his drink that his team’s research budget has been cut by a fifth. (Fifth as in percentage, not the common unit for measuring bourbon.)

“What are we supposed to do with less?” he complained.

“More,” I suggested.

He didn’t like my recommendation.

Not only is money overrated, its dangers are underrated. Looking at money as the solution to most problems obscures more promising but less conventional alternatives. I was too lazy and relaxed to explain this to Duane, so I instead pulled up a couple of relevant quotes from my computer.

“There’s no budget like no budget.”
—Simon de Boer

“We haven’t got the money, so we’ve got to think.”
—Ernest Rutherford

“I never did like that Rutherford bloke,” he muttered. “Nuclear physicists can’t be trusted.”

I’m sure Duane and his group will go far, but I’m not optimistic they’ll be headed in a positive direction.

25 March 2018

gratuitous image

Chicken Skin

The headless chicken was quite dead when Amanda extracted it from the cauldron of boiling water. This came as a surprise to no one since the headless chicken was dead before it was cooked. As I already noted twice, it had no head.

What was remarkable, though, was that the skin from the chicken’s back stuck to the bottom of the pot, leaving a pattern that looked like fish scales. Someone should study the similarities between chicken skin and fish skin. I photographed my sample and made a print, Chicken Skin. I’ll leave the rest of the research to scientists with a longer attention span.


Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak
©2018 David Glenn Rinehart

nothing nothing nothing nothing