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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXI


21 May 2022

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No. 1,216 (cartoon)

You’re the only one who believes your lies.

That’s all I need.

22 May 2022

Parallel Universe David

I gave Deirdre what I thought was some gentle, constructive criticism the other night, but it didn’t go over well. I should have known better than to have hinted that a traditional timer might be more useful in determining when the food in the oven or on the stove is ready to eat than than waiting for a smoke alarm to start blatting and honking.

She retaliated this morning by sending me an article by Ethan Siegel, Does Time Really Exist? Here’s how it begins ...

We take for granted that time is real. But what if it’s only an illusion, and a relative illusion at that? Does time even exist?

I knew to stop reading after the title and three sentences made my little brain hurt. I got the message, and I will never ever say anything about her cooking again unless it’s unqualified praise.

As for the vexing article, I skipped thousands of words and went directly to the end to find the conclusion, and there it was in a single, simple sentence: “But the fact that we can measure, observe, and quantify [time] should put any doubts of its nonexistence to rest.”

I figured as much, but what about all the theoretical physics stuff in the pages I ignored? If there is a parallel universe, then there may very well be another me, so I asked Parallel Universe David to look into it for me. Maybe he’d like to ponder the existence or nonexistence of time; I don’t have time for that sort of thing.

23 May 2022

That Thing in That Place

(I’m not a real writer, so instead of beginning at the beginning of this anecdote I’ll start with the setup.)

X and Y—not their real names—have been married for, what is it now, thirty years? There’s a good reason for that, but that’s the ending. Oops.

X and Y live on a large plot of land on the edge of town. X gently and repeatedly told Y not to leave That Thing in That Place at the edge of their property because someone might steal it. Y procrastinated, stalled, forgot about it, whatever, so That Thing stayed in That Place. Until, of course, someone stole it.

X needs to report the theft to Y, and will do so diplomatically. X told me the secret, which, after I repeat it in a few words, won’t be a secret at all: think “I told you so!” with such intensity that Y will clearly hear that even though those words were never even whispered let alone triumphantly vented.

And while I’m on the subject of stating the obvious, I’ll close by noting that this little story was repeated for its entertainment value, not as marital counsel. I think marriage advice is generally a waste of time since the partners in a successful marriage already know it and the others will ignore it.

Postscript: Please let me know if you hear about anyone selling an Efcut C30 wood chipper/shredder with a seven-horsepower 212cc gasoline engine serial number 20059514; I’ll pass along the information anonymously to the sheriff.

24 May 2022

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A Modest Proposal

A teenager slaughtered twenty-some people in a Texas elementary school, mostly young children. That’s a horrific massacre to most people, but others view it as the price we pay to live in a country where psychopaths and unhinged teenagers have the right to own military assault rifles.

I have a proposal to unite the two factions: label gun-wielding murderers as postnatal abortionists. The same people who shrug their shoulders after another firearms atrocity will demand action after learning that a criminal performed that many illegal thirty-third trimester abortions.

I’d start the campaign by repurposing a Daniels Defense ad showing a little boy holding one of the company’s products, an AR-15 ArmaLite rifle like the one used to blow away all the little kids.

I have no idea what the original caption was, probably something like, “If your penis is as small as Tiny Timmy’s, the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 AR15 is the rifle for you.” I’d change that to, “Tiny Timmy has a bright future knowing postnatal abortionists will never get their hands on military weaponry to abort him.”

That’s obviously absurd, but given the repeated failures of logic and compassion, the perverse absurdity of tolerating lunatics hunting and killing children is all we have left.

25 May 2022

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Art Institute Cop Car

Now get this, cats and kittens: the Flint Institute of Arts has its own cop car. The police version of the Chevrolet Impala LT has been parked by the rear entrance of the building for the ten days I’ve been walking through the neighborhood. It’s unclear whether there’s any sort of law enforcement employee there to drive it, or whether its mere presence is intended to scare away evildoers.

It’s a standard patrol car straight from the assembly line with the oversized engine and the flashing lights on the roof. The only unusual feature I noticed is that it has a spoiler in the rear, which I believe improves handling at speeds approaching two hundred kilometers an hour. Conversely, it’s missing really useful features such as a locking shotgun rack, searchlights, and even a way of detaining a prisoner in the back seat. (The LT in Impala LT stands for Luxury Touring.)

I’m amused by the pretend police car, since if it ever moves at all the only place it can go is a cramped little parking lot; that’s its entire domain. If there was ever a high-speed chase I could probably outrun it on my bicycle since the parking lot with all its guardrails, light posts, curbs, et cetera is a de facto obstacle course.

I figure a few gun turrets on the roof would be a much more effective deterrent to miscreants; they’d never know which ones were unoccupied and which had a sniper inside with a high-powered rifle ready to turn their head into pink mist.

The stationary automobile is a disgrace to any art institute, and not just because it’s a useless overpriced toy for pretend police. It just sits there like a blank canvas waiting to be creatively modified, but remains untouched by clay, a welding torch, or even a dollop of paint.

The only measure of art school success is to drop out, everyone remaining in the building shows an obvious lack of creative initiative, as evidenced by the art institute cop car.

26 May 2022

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Puddle Seat

It’s been raining a lot in these parts, so I wasn’t surprised to see that a fake boulder shaped like a seat in the park had filled with water. I initially wondered who would create a concave seat that didn’t allow liquids to drain, but then I appreciated that it was a brilliant example of contemporary urban design.

Having a seat that doubles as a tiny reservoir might seem like a mistake to a country pumpkin, but that little touch will be most welcome if I’m back here on a hot August day. I’ll only need one whiff to tell which seat hasn’t been used as a toilet.

That’s nice.

(Regarding my documentary snapshot: why yes, I did add the leaves for a classy little artistical touch.)

27 May 2022

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Red Yellow Black Inversion Color Study

There are many reasons that almost all of my photographs are black and white, or greyscale, or whatever the terme de l’art is these days. Pour me a drink and I’ll explain my reasons at length; buy me three and I won’t.

In addition to my many good reasons, there’s one really bad one: I don’t know the first thing about color, let alone the second and third things. I’m comfortable being sloppy with words and being a writer who don’t know much about good writing, but photography is different.

I’m fastidious bordering on hypercritical when it comes to photographic technique. It’s also rather ridiculous, since no one can tell from the tiny photos I publish on the Internet. Today, I’m viewing that weakness as a strength with a most unusual piece (for me, that is), Red Yellow Black Inversion Color Study.

If the colors are wonky, I hope you’ll assume that it’s due to an uncalibrated monitor and not my almost complete ignorance of the medium of color photography. Just to be on the safe side, I called it a “study” so I can rightly claim that it’s not really a finished piece. I haven’t printed a photo in twenty years, and in the extraordinarily improbable event that I convert this image from forty-eight million pixels to ink on paper, one of my learned friends can tweak knobs and twiddle dials until the color in the resulting print is close enough for art.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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