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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak VI


5 February 2019

gratuitous image

No. 741 (cartoon)

I want your illness.

You are my disease.

6 February 2019

Happy New Year

Sally sent me best wishes for the coming year on the first of January. I was rather preoccupied at the time and didn’t reply. I’m a nice guy, yet I went for over five weeks without contacting her, first out of sloth and later out of embarrassment.

I finally figured out a way to save at least a sliver of face yesterday when I sent her greetings for the new year, the lunar new year. She was born in Hong Kong, and is familiar with both calendars. She sent me a nice reply: “Thanks David, I’m just relieved that 4716 is finally over.”

I seem to have extracted myself from my latest stupidity with only mild self-inflicted wounds. I’ve learned my lesson, but I’m not at all positive: it’s the same lesson I’ve “learned” several times a year for the last few decades.

7 February 2019

Trustworthy Models

Andrew was born grumpy and that’s how he’ll die, so I wasn’t at all surprised when he showed up at my studio in a crotchety mood.

He saw a headline in a local periodical, “These swaths of San Francisco will be underwater in just seventy years, models suggest.” That’s all the information he needed to drag himself to the California Climate Change Center press conference early this morning.

Big mistake.

He went there to see the suggestive models, but there wasn’t even one lithe young woman in a bikini to be seen, not even a vacuous vixen in a skimpy little dress. Nope, just a lot of graphs, charts, illustrations, and spreadsheets soporific enough to take the edge off an LD50 dose of crystalline methamphetamine.

I’d feel sorry for Andrew if he wasn’t so enthusiastically moronic. Oh well, at least even he figured out that climate change is going to be severely disruptive for all of us. That’s what all the models say, and if you can’t trust a beautiful, beguiling woman, then I suppose there’s no one you can trust.

8 February 2019

gratuitous image

On by Woods Evening Stopping a Snowy

Robert Frost’s most famous poem recently entered the public domain, so I grabbed a copy and assigned a random number to each of the one hundred and eight words in the poem. I sorted the words by random number and then reassembled them into a new poem keeping the original punctuation and number of words per line. I used an anagram for Robert Frost and credited Rob Frets Rot as the author.

Thanks to the lifting of the copyright restrictions, I was able to use a crappy twentieth-century poem to create a crappy twenty-first-century poem. And since the poem was of no interest, I added a gratuitous image of Felix the Cat, since he also came into the public domain at the same time. And with that, I’m off to explore the future, which I generally prefer to the past.

On by Woods Evening Stopping a Snowy
by Rob Frets Rot

Some me other the the think house downy.
Are I the ask and in fill;
Stop there village woods and stopping I
And sleep miles with lake year not think.

I of lovely keep to and evening
I sweep his to is only
If here deep know horse watch
The the woods is sleep near.

To I up go it between but
Are go these sound’s to he have.
Woods see of he mistake little
Promises before snow frozen will though.

Gives a harness wind whose to miles,
Flake must and darkest farmhouse bells,
Queer his his the my a before,
To shake woods easy the without dark.

9 February 2019

gratuitous image


I just discovered James Turrell’s 2005 piece, Three Gems, not far from here. I’m not sure if the decaying wall was one of his gems, but Gem is now one of mine.

10 February 2019

The Magic Number

I know lots of rich people. Rich people are just like any other person except they have more money than they can spend before they die. The sanguine ones are sanguine, and the messed up ones are worse off with too much money than they’d be with too many opioids. But everyone knows that.

Joseph Heller figured out the magic number some time ago. I know this because Kurt Vonnegut told me so in this piece in the 16 May 2005 New Yorker. (I don’t know whether the curious line breaks were Vonnegut’s idea or something concocted by a typographer at the New Yorker. Vonnegut died a dozen years ago, so I’m not going to waste my time and ask him.)

Joe Heller

True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.
I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ‘Catch-22’
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
Not bad! Rest in peace!

—Kurt Vonnegut

The magic number isn’t a number at all, it’s a word: enough.

[Hello lawyers! No need for formalities; just let me know if I need to edit the entire piece reproduced above down to “fair use” length and I’ll be right back with my digital scissors.]

11 February 2019

Miss Prissypuss’s Secular Dinner

Walter and Colleen say that they take very good care of their cat, Miss Prissypuss, but I know it’s not true. They certainly pamper the mercurial kitty, but she belongs to no one.

They invited me to their place for dinner tonight, and I was pressed into serving Miss Prissypuss soon after I arrived. Colleen said the finicky mouser had turned up her nose at her dinner and asked me to go to the basement to get a different brand of cat food.

“God be with you,” Colleen said as I headed down the stairs.


I’m agnostic, and couldn’t understand the role a deity might play in fetching a can of cat food. Maybe use divine powers to prevent me from tumbling down the stairs? Guide me to the purple can instead of the brand she just rejected?

I wasn’t surprised when Miss Prissypuss summarily rejected the second offering, but I didn’t perceive any divine intervention. I pointed out the rational reason for her disdain for the canned food: she could smell the salmon cooking and was waiting for the good stuff.

The evening ended on a positive note after Miss Prissypuss wolfed down a large piece of fresh fish, then retired to the bedroom to avoid the annoying humans.


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©2019 David Glenn Rinehart