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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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30 April 2020

gratuitous image

No. 8,280 (cartoon)

I never called you a botched abortion.

I heard you say it myself.

Alcohol is a great ventriloquist.

1 May 2020


This is my eight thousand, eight hundred and eighty-eighth daily notebook entry. I’m told that would be a most auspicious number if I was Chinese, but I’m not.

In 1889, the Socialists and Communists of the Second International declared the first of May to be International Workers’ Day, but it’s been a very long time since I’ve been international or a worker.

May Day is also the day pagans are reclaiming as the first day of spring after the Christians stole it from them and rebranded it as Easter. And speaking of the Easter Bunny, I’m not going to split theological hares; I’ll let the zealots argue about who owns the day.

And then there’s Mayday, “a distress call that is used to signal a life-threatening emergency, usually on a ship or a plane, although it may be used in a variety of other situations.” I’ll take advantage of the “other situations” clause and yell “Mayday!” because I can’t come up with anything else to say today.

2 May 2020

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Play Sand

Welcome to New Mexico!

Now that you’re here, take a good look around. Unless you’re in one of the relatively few developed areas, I know exactly what you’re seeing in front, behind, to the left, the right, behind, and underneath you: sand. Anyone with even partial eyesight will note that the desert is rich in sand, and not much else except heat.

Grab a shovel and a bucket or a dump truck and help yourself to as much sand as you’d like. Or, you could go to Harry’s Hardware and buy it already bagged ... it’s on sale for only eleven cents a kilo!

Bravo, Harry!

That’s the combination of brilliance and chutzpah that makes me wish that I was on the Marketing Hall of Fame’s nominating committee. Selling sand to desert dwellers is just priceless ... and quite worthless as well.

3 May 2020

I’m Not Szilveszter Matuska

Willy called yesterday and said he was stuck on the crossword puzzle he was doing, and asked me what seven-letter word was for “musical repetition.” I told him that is had to be either “stanza” or “chorus.” I figured that by giving him a six-letter answer to a seven-letter question he’d stop asking.

As is all too frequently the case, I figured wrong.

Later, he wrote to ask what a three-letter word was for “cheap beer.” I had no idea, so I lied and replied that it had to be “tea.”

I thought that was the end of that ludicrousness until today when he called to tell me that the correct answers were “reprise” and “PBR.”

Now hold everything; that’s just plain wrong. PBR is an acronym for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer-flavored fizzy water; it’s not even a real word. That might be a good answer in a crossanagram puzzle, but it had no place in a proper crossword puzzle.

“You’re wasting your time on pointless if not impossible puzzles,” I opined.

“Of course I am,” he replied. “That’s the point.”

I was embarrassed and a bit chastened to realize I’d chided him for his senseless pursuits. If this daily indulgence of making stuff up and writing it down ain’t squandering what little is left of my short life, then I’m Szilveszter Matuska.

4 May 2020

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Cauliflower Crumbles

I’ve been thinking about my father’s stories from the Great Depression as I prepare for the Not So Great Depression headed this way.

Ever see a movie from the thirties and notice everyone’s slender? That wasn’t just because of the depression; people ate healthier food back then. My father told me that when he was a boy everyone used to eat raw crumbled cauliflower at the movie theater. It was cheap and nutritious; it was also all they could afford. All that changed after the war when violent gangs sponsored the powerful popcorn, butter, and salt cartels muscled the cauliflower dealers out of the cinemas.

I recalled that story when I bought a head of cauliflower at the grocery store. It was wrapped in plastic, and labeled with the number of heads inside: “1 COUNT.”

I know that there are a lot of incredibly stupid people in the world, but everyone who has even the weakest understanding of the concept of tallying can count to at least one. There’s obviously only one head of cauliflower in the transparent packaging, so why state the obvious?

I’m not going to give it any more thought; that might get in the way of enjoying the cauliflower crumbles while watching a film with Fiona tonight.

5 May 2020

No Idea Revisited

Minnisha walked through the kitchen while I was chopping onions.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“It’s Cinco de Mayo,” I explained, “so I’m trying to find the technical specs for the sparkplugs I’d need for a Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita.”

“Gosh,” she replied without stopping, “I have no idea.”

I knew she was telling the truth; she’s nothing if not honest.

6 May 2020

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Gratuitous and Pretentious (Diptych)

A week ago I used a nice little image of a cloud to illustrate why I don’t photograph clouds. It was a real purdy image, so I decided to recycle it.

Robert Rauschenberg, et al, used stencils in fancy high-end oily paintings over half a century ago. That may or may not have been unusual at the time; I don’t keep score. It would be gratuitous to use a computer to add a stenciled word to a digital photograph, so that’s what I did. It would also be pretentious to do the same thing and reverse the tonality and orientation, so I did that too.

And there you have it: Gratuitous and Pretentious (Diptych).


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©2020 David Glenn Rinehart

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