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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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15 May 2021

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No. 6,578 (cartoon)

I want you to love me again.

I’ll take a stab at it.

Please, no more stitches.

16 May 2021

Look, No Hands!

Maybe someone knows what Steven Hendrickson’s last words were. I’m guessing a one-syllable expletive since that’s probably about all he had time to scream, but they might have been, “Lookie here now, no hands!”

The thirty-five-year-old Californian may or may not have been driving his car—it was on autopilot—when it crashed into an overturned truck in the middle of the night. The deceased man was known for posting videos of himself riding in his not quite self-driving car without his hands and feet touching the controls.

There’s not much to add to what appears to be death by stupidity, but it does raise an interesting question. Is Hendrickson a contender for this year’s Darwin Awards? On one hand, he seems to be in the running, since the organization’s mission is to, “salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it in a spectacular manner.” But wait: he’s also reproduced twice; does that disqualify him?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Now that I think about it, a robotic car killing its human occupant in a car crash really isn’t such a spectacular exit after all; on average ten people a day die in some sort of infernal combustion vehicle accident. And now that I think about it some more, auto-assisted suicide is so predictable it’s boring, so I’m done now.

17 May 2021

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Hair Zone

The Hair Zone in Flint, Michigan looks like a war zone, with a five-meter-high cinderblock wall facing east topped with barbed wire, razor wire, and floodlights. It would appear to be almost impenetrable to the average miscreant.

But wait! The southern wall is completely undefended! Did the architects learn nothing from the Maginot Line?!

18 May 2021

Peace in the Middle East and Ireland

The Palestinians and Israelis are warring again, as is tradition, with the latter killing twenty times as many foes as the former (assuming children are the enemy). In other news, I hear there are troubling signs that the Irish are gearing up for another round of sectarian violence. Again, as is tradition.

I know some people who would kill for a Nobel Peace Prize, but I’m a-gonna get mine the hard way: by simultaneously bringing peace to the Middle East and Ireland. Actually, it’s not that hard at all, as I shall now explain ...

I’ll have all the Irish—including those in Occupied Ireland—move to the Middle East. They can live anywhere they want because all the Israelis and Palestinians will have left for Ireland. No one will have the geographic points of reference they’ve been fighting over for centuries if not millennia, so they can have civilized petty squabbles over sandwiches and foot odor like the rest of the purportedly civilized world.

19 May 2021

A Twenty-Five Billion Chicken Oversight

Another day, another worthless study. I spotted this particular bit of “research” as risibly incompetent before getting past the first paragraph.

Australian bird fanciers—I can’t call them “scientists” even in quotation marks—have concluded that there are fifty billion birds on earth, including four species numbering over a billion: the house sparrow, the European starling, the ring-billed gull, and the barn swallow.

Draw upon all the knowledge you had when you were eight and identify what’s glaringly wrong. If you said “there aren’t enough barns on the planet for that many barn swallows,” that suggests two things: you were a very precocious child, or, more probably, you failed to notice a zillion-watt glaring error.

The birdbrains overlooked the twenty-five billion chickens on earth! Even if their guesstimate of fifty billion birds is even marginally accurate, the fact that they didn’t spot a third of the fowls on our home planet means their “study” is worse than useless.

Or maybe not. The meaningless report should assuage the concerns of people worried that cats are eating too many of our feathered fiends. The opposite is true, there’s not enough kitty carnage in birdland, and the winged devils may get out of control.

Remember this: birds descended from dinosaurs, and without the help of our feline friends they just might ascend back into dinosaurs. Or worse. So the next time you’re enjoying a peaceful stroll in the park instead of fleeing an eighteen-meter, seven-thousand-kilogram Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, take a moment to thank a kitten as if your life depended on it.

It does.

20 May 2021

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The Pencil of Nature (Revisited)

I thrive on plagiarism, and prefer to “appropriate” from someone’s work in the public domain rather than from my contemporaries, since the latter takes a modicum of work to cover my tracks. Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature from 1844 was a very safe bet indeed.

My piece, The Pencil of Nature (Revisited), was based on a brief passage from the original.

Notice to the Reader.

The plates of the present work are impressed by the agency of Light alone, without any aid whatever from the artist’s pencil.

In what’s become an uncomfortably familiar theme, I will again point out that the important details can’t be seen in my Internet reproductions, including this text from the lower right corner: “after William Henry Fox Talbot FRS FRSE FRAS.”

This may be the first time I’ve credited the person from whom I stole. Oops! I meant, “the person who informed my work.” Oh well, everyone makes mistakes; I’m sure it won’t happen again ...


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©2021 David Glenn Rinehart

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