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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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20 August 2019

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No. 7,964 (cartoon)

Why are you always such an idiot?

You know that’s not true.

Alright, sometimes you’re a moron.

21 August 2019

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Academy of Military Aesthetics

Julian has special air force security clearance; he arranged for me to accompany him on an inspection of the Academy of Military Aesthetics at an undisclosed address. I had to leave my cameras with the security guards, but not before I made a photograph of the colorfully painted bomb at the entrance.

It featured fanciful illustrations of Camp Adair, a defunct World War II training camp, Crater Lake, and the lighthouse at Heceta Head. Death and destruction with an Oregon theme, how lovely!

Julian explained that the air force trained the Artist Corps to differentiate their munitions from the same models manufactured for export as an example of “American exceptionalism.” He added that bombs don’t get much use these days, “so the boys like it when their stockpiles look real pretty.”

American exceptionalism indeed, and exceptionally stupid even for art.

22 August 2019

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Siuslaw High School (triptych)

Florence, Oregon, was saved from economic collapse when the newly built Siuslaw High School gained international prominence after it was constructed in 1970. Architects from around the world flocked to see the architectural marvel and revived the local economy.

When I finally made my pilgrimage there, I decided to make only one image since other photographers had shot the building tens of thousands of times from every angle in every light. And then, I decided to cheat and combine three exposures to create Siuslaw High School (triptych).

23 August 2019

Who’s on First in Space?

Summer Worden accused her spouse, Anne McClain, of some serious financial hanky-panky. What made the alleged crime unusual was that McClain accessed Worden’s bank account when she was an astronaut on the International Space Station.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials were quick to take credit for an American to be the first to commit a crime in space. The Russians protested that they’d cooked Laika the dog to death aboard Sputnik Two on 3 November 1957. NASA bureaucrats countered that was the Soviet Union, not Russia, and that anyway, experimenting on animals wasn’t a crime.

And so, the space race continues.

What surprises me is that no one has claimed the title of being the first person to have had sex in space. Since humans are humans, I’m sure it must have happened by now after decades in orbit. Maybe all the governments with people in space are trying to have one of their nationals recognized as the first one to conceive and/or give birth in space. If so, I think they’re wasting their time; Stanley Kubrick already did that in 1968 or 2001, depending on whom you ask.

24 August 2019

A New Era of Social Service

The earnest young man sitting beside me on the plane is reading a book by Brian Solis, What's the Future of Business?: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences. (What’s the future of punctuation is a more interesting question.) He’s in the fourth chapter, A New Era of Social Service: Promoting the Experiences of Customers.

Oh dear, this poor guy is working hard to have a boring life as predictable as a hundred kilometers of unbending Iowa highway. If he concludes that the new era of social services is promoting customer experiences, then I fear he’ll succeed.

Watching men and women commit suicide in their twenties is painful; I wonder if I should have tried to intervene? Nah; Darwin was right.

25 August 2019

Old Enough to Remember Newspapers

A little girl—ten or twelve?—sat down beside me at the airport at dawn and marveled at my computer. She was nosy, chatty, and apparently too young to recognize a grumpy old man like me when she saw one.

She was confused when she saw me dinking around, and asked why I didn’t have a phone. I told her that I did, which puzzled her even more since she saw me typing a message with my computer instead of my phone.

She went from baffled to incredulous when she saw that I was also looking at some news headlines. She informed me that her grandfather, who died in May of 2016, read newspapers too!

I was speechless, but the same couldn’t be said of the overly exuberant product of the twenty-first century, alas.

26 August 2019

Clearer Thinking

I found Dr. Hayes in a thoughtful, pensive mood when I visited him in his District of Columbia office after lunch. I asked my learned colleague what was on his mind and he answered with the clarity and brevity I’ve come to expect from him.

“Whisky,” he replied, “have some.”

After glugging me a large glass of single malt, he expounded on the white paper he was working on.

“I worry about how to get the masses to realize the importance of internalizing externalities,” he explained. “That’s why I drink whisky without genetically modified organisms, for clearer thinking.”

He went on to tell me a lot more over the next two hours, but I can’t remember a damn thing he said after that.

27 August 2019

Taking Photographs, Not Pictures

I asked the guard at the National Gallery if I could take a photograph.

“Would you like to take a picture?” she asked.

“I just wanted to know if I can use my camera in here,” I replied.

She looked annoyed, then told me to go ahead before walking off.

She came back a few minutes later and apologized for being gruff. She explained that the only thing she enjoyed about her crappy job was telling people who asked to take pictures was that she couldn’t let them do that but that they were welcome to take photographs. I ruined her one and only joke.

I told her that I appreciated how difficult her job must be. I felt sorry for her, so I didn’t add that she should learn to enjoy it because she has no future as a comedian.


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©2019 David Glenn Rinehart

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