free (and worth it) subscription

An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak

Weak X


5 March 2021

gratuitous image

No. 2,521 (cartoon)

I never imagined life could be like this.

It can’t.

6 March 2021

A Pox on Televisions

Andrea called me yesterday and asked me to help her set up her new television. I never like to say no to my friends, so I didn’t. I did, however, point out that it’s been forty years since I “installed” a television. At the time, that simply involved taking a small black and white television—with a fuzzy cathode-ray tube—out of the box, plugging it into an electrical outlet, and attaching the obligatory rabbit ears. (Look it up; no bunnies involved.)

She said I was overthinking her request. She explained that since it was almost two meters wide and weighed over fifty kilograms, she just needed help getting it out of the box and carrying it up the stairs.

Ah, getting a telly out of the box, that’s in my skill set! I was happy to commit even before she added that schlepping is thirsty work, so I should plan on cocktails for sustenance.

Later ...

After lugging the monstrosity up the stairs to her third-story flat, she invited me to get started setting it up while she prepared snacks and drinks.

I plugged the behemoth into the wall, and that’s as far as I got. I searched every square meter of the television’s cavities, crannies, and crevasses for the power switch but couldn’t find it. I finally resorted to looking at the instruction manual, but failed at that as well: there wasn’t one.

I told her that I was stymied, and you know what she did? I bet you do: she laughed. She said that there hasn’t been an on/off switch on a television since the last millennium; it’s now one of the options in a forest of buttons on the remote control.

I wasn’t embarrassed by my ignorance. Just the opposite; I went into curmudgeon mode. “You call that progress? Feh! A pox on your newfangled crap!”

7 March 2021

gratuitous image

Brunswick’s Kitty Godmother

Sylvia called to commiserate after Brunswick got repoed today. It’s a long story, but I’ll try not to make it tediouser than necessary.

As you won’t recall, she had Brunswick do a cat scan of my writing last October. Brunswick is a cat, so that made perfect sense. I assumed the stocky, sturdy wuss was her PPiP—Pussy Partner in Perpetuity—but I was wrong.

(Some day I’ll learn not to make assumptions. One day I’ll be dead. I’ll bet any amount of money that one day happens before some day; that’s a wager I’ll never have to pay.)

She said that Kurt is Brunswick’s PPiP; she was just caring for the kitty while Kurt was away.

“You must miss your trusty sidekick,” I commiserated.

“I read somewhere that loneliness is not an absence of company, but of meaning,” she replied.

“You don’t believe that pablum claptrap, do you?” I asked.

“Of course not,” she protested, “but I prefer denial to abject misery.”

I felt sorry for Sylvia, so I put on my good humour man hat and pointed out that Brunswick could never have too many kitty godparents, and that she would always be his first godmother.

8 March 2021

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Here’s my new poem. There’s a good reason I call it Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; that’s the title. And now, having dispensed with the appetizer, it’s on to the main course.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Up and
and up it

Where it came
down and
down No

one ... knows.

You can tell it’s a poem because of the arbitrary capitalization, punctuation, and line breaks. I know it’s a crappy poem; poetry is crappy. Get over it.

What I can’t get over is how the huge jet took off from the airport in Kuala Lumpur on this date in 2014 and vanished. I remain fascinated by the mystery; there aren’t many seven-year-old unsolved puzzles around these days.

9 March 2021

How to Make More Babies

As any Uyghur, Uighur, Uygur, or Uigur will confirm, the Chinese government is really good at some things like world domination and genocide. But if you ask me—hey, thanks for asking!—Chinese products are vastly inferior to what the Taiwanese manufacture. And Chinese social engineering is a fiasco bordering on a debacle.

The one-child policy resulted in millions of aborted girls, which in turn has led to an aging population trying to cope with lower marriage and birth rates. Who could have seen that coming? (Answer: anyone with reproductive organs.)

The solution is obvious, at least to the delegates at the Chinese people’s political consultative conference: mandatory romance and marriage education classes. I’m as certain as one can be about such things that that will be as effective in producing lots of babies to care for their elders as previous social engineering campaigns.

Since I have an interest in cheap electronic goods, here’s a tip for the apparatchiks in the Chinese Communist Party: free drinks for women. If you want a bunch of bairns and you need ’em yesterday, skip all the love and romance foreplay. Slap a huge tax on birth control, and use the revenue to fund free drinks for women every Friday and Saturday night.

Problem solved! You’re welcome, comrades.

10 March 2021

gratuitous image

Wayne’s Boat

I was talking with my old Greenpeace mate Dr. Henry the other day over the electronic voice transcommunicator about my new favorite beer five years after the untimely passing of Rainier Ale.

[pause for ten seconds of reverie and reflection]

I told him I liked the new beer—technically India pale ale—because it has a delightfully paradoxical bouquet and a mischievous, impertinent aftertaste. Oh, and by coincidence it’s cheap and has over eight percent alcohol. I didn’t know the correct way to say boatswain, so I pronounced it phonetically: boats-wayne.

Hilarity ensued.

After he finally stopped laughing, he said I was the only landlubber he’d ever met who couldn’t pronounce bosun. His derision ran off my back like day-old ramen off a barnacle, or some other appropriate scurvy seadog metaphor. At least it wasn’t as bad as the time I referred to the hold of the Greenpeace boat we went to Siberia on as “the basement.”

And anyway, the grammar and pronunciation police can just go to heck. I’m sitting on three cases of invigorating pale ale and he ain’t gots none. Smooth sailing!

11 March 2021

gratuitous image

The New Knife Conundrum

I lost my Swiss Army knife. Or perhaps I didn’t. They seem to disappear every five years, and this one vanished right on schedule. I don’t know how the Swiss engineers built in the ultimate in planned obsolescence, but there’s no other possible explanation.

I realized that I had another problem when the replacement knife arrived in this morning’s mail. The shipping box was sealed with heavy industrial tape, and I needed the knife inside to open it. Dang; what a quandary!

This dilemma clearly called for ingenuity. I had none, so I used peanut butter instead.

I coated the box with the oily spread then went to visit the neighbor’s mongrel, Rabid Rex. (I don’t think he’s clinically rabid; he just acts that way, foamy mouth and all.)

I tossed the savory box over his head, and he leapt into the air as if snatching a low-flying turkey out of the sky. The cur followed his script to the letter, and I was able to grab my new knife when it fell out of the box as he shredded it during his killing frenzy.

As Alphonse preachified prophetically, peanut butter will get you through times of no brilliance better than brilliance will get you through times of no peanut butter. I’ll drink to that, and, since the new knife has a bottle opener, I did.

12 March 2021

gratuitous image

Six Creations of Biblical Proportions

This began with a search for isolated incidents. I planned on getting a famous book, photographing each paragraph where the word “incident” appeared, then blurring out the rest of the paragraph.

I started with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick but didn’t get very far. The word only appeared five times, and was hyphenated with a line break in one of them. Feh. I decided to let the idea stagnate and gestate, and that worked.

I had a gander at the Christian bible and saw that “creation” appeared six times. That was close enough to divine intervention for me so I proceeded. Instead of working with a scanned page from the Internet Archive, I borrowed my late friend Aurora’s 1953 bible and photographed each word. That involved buying more extension tubes for my camera and a long, finicky, and frustrating photography session ... but it finally worked.

I manipulated the images in my computer, et voilà: Six Creations of Biblical Proportions.

The proportions of the rectangle are phi, more commonly known as the golden rectangle. If I get burned at the stake for calling those biblical proportions, I won’t be surprised.


Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak
©2021 David Glenn Rinehart

nothing nothing nothing nothing