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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XVI


16 April 2021

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No. 2,164 (cartoon)

I’m not ready to die.

No one asked you.

17 April 2021

Another Forever Woman

Brian announced that he’s in love with Annette, and that she is almost certainly his “forever woman.” I agreed that was a safe bet, since the older a woman is the less likely it is for her to have a sex-change operation.

He corrected me, and explained that “forever woman” meant he’d probably spend the rest of his life with her.

“You’ve met your forever woman two or three times a year in the past,” I noted, “so what’s different about Annette?”

“Her honesty,” he explained. “Have a look at this.”

He showed me the advertisement she posted on the Internet’s Lonely Hearts Pages.

“She has all of her limbs and apparently hasn’t lost any teeth,” I said. “That’s a good start.”

“Read the fifth paragraph,” he instructed, “that’s what won me over.”

Now that I’ve wooed you with my charms, it’s time for full disclosure. I have a miserable nine-year-old moron who’s as aggressive as he is stupid. His father was too cheap to buy a condom and I couldn’t afford an abortion, so I’m stuck with the little cretin. I’m legally bound to spend every other week with it, but I’m all yours the rest of the time.

“I’m afraid she doesn’t sound like a woman I’d even want to spend a month with,” I admitted.

He said I didn’t appreciate the context. Every other mother looking for romance had “amazing” children. He claimed that “amazing” was the only word anyone used to describe her progeny, as if none of them had access to a thesaurus. He was sold on Annette when she appeared to be the first honest parent he met.

If only love were logical and rational ...

18 April 2021

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Chuck Geschke

Chuck Geschke died a couple of days ago. He and John Warnock cofounded Adobe Systems some thirty years. Twenty years ago I worked on a personal project at their headquarters, Of What Is Abobe Made? I worked with John and never met Chuck, but I did poke around his private office.

Geschke said he wanted to develop a corporate culture that allowed employees to have “trophy spouses.” I photographed a picture of his trophy wife on display in his office: the woman to whom he’d been married for over a third of a century at the time.

Despite a lifetime of achievements in technology, philanthropy, and more, the one thing mentioned in all of Geschke’s obituaries was that he was kidnapped and held for four days in 1992. The trauma led to an interesting architectural detail.

While working on my Adobe project, I learned that the window on his eighteenth-floor office has bulletproof glass. Seems like a bit much to me since the possibility of being attacked by a helicopter gunship in San Jose, California, seems most improbable. Or maybe the odds aren’t very different from being kidnapped at gunpoint upon arriving at work one morning.

I loved the company until Geschke and Warnock left, but after that I’ve grown to loathe Adobe. In one of life’s little ironies, Adobe holds the files created with the company’s software hostage. The people who created them can’t even look at them without paying Adobe a monthly ransom, er, rental fee. Forever.

That’s the problem with corporations: rapacious, predatory ones are much more profitable than ones that provide good products and services at a reasonable price.

19 April 2021

Half Like Hemingway

Imelda said she endured a six-hour documentary on Ernest Hemingway that explained a lot about bad writing. Hmmm ...

Her remark confused me. I’d heard him justifiably denounced for his macho boasting and egomaniacal bragging about outright lies, as if he was a cross between Baron Munchausen and Donald Drumph. I thought he enjoyed a fairly good reputation as a writer, though, the odd stinker notwithstanding.

When I mentioned that to Imelda, she said she was talking about other authors, not Hemingway. She maintained that too many writers tried to emulate Hemingway’s life of drinking heavily and writing well, but never make it past the first part.

Ah, that sounded familiar, just like all the artists who want to make work as good as Jackson Pollock’s, but, instead of finding their vision just end up blind drunk. I was fortunate that I recognized early on that artists, musicians, and writers who expand their aesthetic horizons after drinking enough alcohol and using enough drugs to make an elephant legless do so despite being crapulously wasted, not because of it.

. . .

I just reread what I wrote; it sounds like pontification bordering on preachin’. To conclude with a modicum of entertainment value, here’s a relevant observation by Dean Martin, an entertainer who enjoyed a lucrative career feigning inebriation all the way to the bank: “You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.”

Or was it Hemingway who said that?

20 April 2021

Right on Target

Apple Corporation’s marketeers use clever names for their product announcement spectacles. Today’s is, “Right on Target,” an obvious reference to the hundred and sixty-first birthday of Justinien Charles Xavier Bretonneau, the French marksman who won the bronze medal in trap shooting at the 1900 Olympics.

Apple debuted a new sheet of glass-covered aluminum—now get this—with a wafer-thin computer built in! Pretty clever, eh? The improved screen is now bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight, and features “a Lidar array.”

(Lidar is an acronym for “light detection and ranging.” Or maybe it’s “laser imaging, detection, and ranging.” No one really knows, and I don’t really care. In practice, that’s the distance-measuring technology that allows autonomous cars to more or less drive themselves without killing too many humans.)

I just gotta get me one of them shiny gizmos. When I have one, I’ll be able to walk anywhere without being distracted by my surroundings! I’ll be able to go anywhere, listen to loud music to drown out the environment, and do anything without taking my eyes off the portable monitor. The Lidar will alert me when a bicycle messenger is careening toward me on a crowded sidewalk, when I’m about to step off a sheer cliff along the ocean, or even when I’m about to walk into a wall, which happens more frequently than I’d care to admit.

I’m still waiting on the rocket pack I was promised fifty years ago, but this is the technology I can use today to enjoy a better quality of life.

21 April 2021

You Can’t Afford to be Sober at Those Prices!

Nora told me she’s come up with a great business idea: open a liquor store catering to alcoholics; that’s where the money is. (As anyone who’s spent a few weeks in business school will tell you, addicts are the best customers.) She already came up with some great lines ...

You can’t afford to be sober at these prices!

We cheat snobby drinkers and pass the savings along to you!

I told her that it was a promising idea and wished her well. I didn’t ask her about permitting, insurance, financing, reporting, and all the other things that make business so tedious and annoying. It would have been a waste of time, since I know she’ll never do it.

Nora loves to plan and imagine, but she never acts on any of her schemes. I think she’d do better as a conceptual artist; she has the right work ethic for it. It’s just as profitable as coming up with unimplemented business plans, and a lot more fun.

22 April 2021

courtesy of the Apostrophe Protection Society

The Crux of the Biscuit Is The Apostrophe

I just learned that John Richards, founder of the Apostrophe Protection Society, died three weeks ago. He lived to ninety-seven before succumbing to apostrophe abuse. Here are three examples of what done him in:




Yep, those are real examples he saw; each one was a nail in his coffin. Three egregious typos aren’t going to polish you off, and three rat bites probably won’t either. Get enough of them, though, and sooner or later one of the vermin will chew through an artery.

Richards foresaw his impending demise when he disbanded the Apostrophe Protection Society a year and a half ago.

“Fewer organizations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English language,” he wrote at the time. “We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!”

With Richards gone, its clear that apostrophe typo’s are here to stay.

23 April 2021

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Poke Penetrate Puncture (Triptych)

Iris told me that making art is pointless. I agreed, of course, but I didn’t tell her that. Why pass up an opportunity for a petty argument?

Last December I made some pleasant pictures of yucca plants in deep snow. I think making pretty pictures like that is stupid, but, after being raised by Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, I couldn’t resist. I filed them away, and never planned on doing anything with them.

Iris’s remark was the catalyst for unearthing them and making Poke Penetrate Puncture (Triptych). I showed her that art can have a point, three of them in this case.


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©2021 David Glenn Rinehart

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