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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak VII


12 February 2022

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No. 9,514 (cartoon)

I feel like such a fool.

Don’t flatter yourself; you’re not that smart.

13 February 2022

Describably Cruel and Speakably Abominable

I’m regularly horrified and outraged by how indescribably cruel and unspeakably abominable humans can be. I can’t cite any examples; didn’t I just say that they were indescribable and unspeakable?

Instead, I can report barbaric and inhumane abuse in New Zealand. The parliament in Wellington was under siege by protesters demanding their right to spread and die from Coronarama, so sadistic authorities used military-grade amplifiers and speakers to blast protesters with Barry Manilow recordings at deafening volumes.

Oh, the (lack of) humanity!

And that’s more than enough describably cruel and speakably abominable news for today.

Oh Mandy ...

14 February 2022

Revisiting Saint Valentine’s Dsay

For reasons I will never understand, Juanita is excited about VD. (I’m happy to report that she was talking about Saint Valentine’s Day (the faux holiday concocted by the evil troika of candy conglomerates, flower cartels, and Catholic proselytizers) and not sexually-transmitted cooties.)

I told her that Saint Val was a nasty little piece of work, the patron saint of pedophiles and fentanyl manufacturers, or something like that. She asked for specifics, and I promised to send them to her once I could access my notebook entries from the last decades.

I clearly remembered writing about Saint Valentine, but I clearly remembered clearly wrongly. I was thinking of Saint Patrick, and the less said about that rascal the better. Saint Valentine is the patron saint of epilepsy and beekeepers in general and epileptic beekeepers in particular. And that’s enough of that ungodly hokum for this year.

Saints be braised! I’m talking to you, Saint Lawrence!

15 February 2022

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My Public Shaming

I do incredibly stupid things all the time, just ask any of my friends and don’t believe a word they say. On rare occasions I like to tell everyone about a particularly egregious mistake in the hope that my humiliation will remind me to never repeat that particular blunder.

I was photographing a white monolith on the Alameda shore of San Francisco Bay when a couple of huge geese waddled past. One of the feathered critters paused to study the object, so that’s when I made my photograph. Instead of coming back to my studio with another bit of formal, austere minimalism I ended up with a cute bird picture.

It gets worse.

Good artists are like good doctors: they bury their mistakes. Instead, I showed my easily likable photo to friends who of course liked it. I knew how far I’d sunk when Samantha asked if I was planning on photographing kittens, puppies, babies, or all three at once.

Oh, the shame ...

John Cage knew what (not) to do: “Whenever I’ve found that what I’m doing has become pleasing, even to one person, I have redoubled my efforts to find the next step.”

I’m not going to go to that extreme, but I’ll never take a photograph of a goose again unless it’s a study of its entrails after someone’s eviscerated it.

16 February 2022

The Problem with Atomic Clocks

Physicists at the University of Colorado have concluded an experiment using two atomic clocks that supports Albert Einstein’s theory of time dilation. Of course Einstein was right; he was a real Einstein, figuratively and literally.

The news didn’t surprise me. I’ve had a lot of experience with atomic clocks before I abandoned them years ago. It was bad enough to have to keep adding a few teaspoons of plutonium every week, and then came the weapons inspectors. What a nuisance!

Every time Hans Blix, the head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, would show up at my laboratory I could be certain of two things: he wouldn’t find any weapons of mass destruction after he arrived and I wouldn’t find anything in my refrigerator except for desiccated lemons and moldy tortillas after he left; he devoured every morsel in my canteen.

I wouldn’t mess with atomic clocks unless you fancy yourself another Einstein. My watch that’s wirelessly wired to the Internet is plenty accurate, especially since I’m no longer concerned with any flavor of dilation.

17 February 2022

Bentleys! And Lamborghinis Too!

Here’s a quick news quiz: do you remember the details from the last story about the overloaded unseaworthy ship loaded with migrants that sunk? Where were they from? Where were they going? How many women, children, and men died?

Of course you don’t know any of those details; those tragedies happen all the time.

That’s why I was surprised to see the alarming headlines in all the newspapers today: Burning ship adrift near Azores without crew.

Why the interest in this particular maritime disaster? Did editors finally pay attention to the plight of desperate refugees fleeing famine, persecution, war, and worse? Of course they didn’t. The stories were all about the luxury automobiles that could be lost if Felicity Ace, an auto freighter ablaze, sinks.

Eleven hundred Porsches, one hundred and eighty-nine Bentleys, and thousands of Audis, Lamborghinis, Volkswagens, and more worth over a hundred million dollars could be lost. Now that’s a tragedy western readers can appreciate!

Oh, the inhumanity!

18 February 2022

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BLOW, Alameda (Quadriptych)

If you want to see where I made BLOW, Alameda, just go to 2431 Shore Line Drive in Alameda, and Bob’s your uncle! You won’t see the four characters in the same order, though; the proprietors of Bowlero appear to be a rather unimaginative lot.

19 February 2022

Catsup or Ketchup or Catchup Revisited Yet Again

Twenty years ago today I asked a simple, stupid question: catsup, ketchup, or catchup? Today, I again asked the Internet for the same rough word count as I did a decade ago. Here are the 2002/2012/2022 results:

Catsup: ~46,200/385,000/5,290,000
Ketchup: ~272,000/43,700,000/75,400,000
Catchup: ~130,000/89,200,000/112,000,000

The conclusions are obvious: ketchup is clearly the favorite spelling of the corn syrup condiment, and catchup should never have been included in the survey. Even though catchup is the most frequently used word, it rarely refers to something you’d pour on your taters.


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©2022 David Glenn Rinehart