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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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28 May 2022

gratuitous image

No. 8,235 (cartoon)

There’s a reason all of us despise you.

You know that’s not true.

You’re right; there are a thousand reasons.

29 May 2022

Cockroaches and Crisps

Brett used to complain about the occasional silverfish he spotted in his pleasant San Francisco flat.

“Smile!” I advised, “things could be worse!”

He smiled.

Things got worse.

He now lives in a shoddy box of an apartment in a nondescript suburban town where he’s besieged by screaming children outside and cockroaches in every room. He didn’t like my idea of spreading a hundred kilos of steer manure across the surrounding lawns and parking lots to deter the noisy urchins, so I passed along the cockroach advice Rhonda gave me when I briefly lived in an upscale tenement in the Tenderloin.

Buy the biggest bag of potato chips you can afford and eat ’em all, or at least until your lips start to bleed. Prop the open bag up against the wall. The roaches can get in but can’t crawl back up the slick, greasy sides. When the bag is full, feed the writhing vermin to your iguana or send them on a one-way trip to the landfill, then buy a fresh bag. Repeat as necessary …

I swore it worked. I lied. I got so bloated and lethargic from all the crisps that living with the scurrying roaches and the gravure of their droppings seemed preferable. I admitted defeat to a superior foe and retreated to the safety of an industrial warehouse as soon as I could.

30 May 2022

Arp 94’s Haunting Galactic Dance

Astronomers have identified streams of matter between the galaxies NGC 3226 and NGC 3227, jointly known as Arp 94. Fascinating, no?


I’m not talking about galactic goings-on fifty-some million light-years away, so please stay with me if you’re still awake. Nope, I’m here to talk about great headline writing, and here it is: Hubble Telescope Sees Haunting Galactic Dance of Two Galaxies Linked by the Corpse of a Cannibalized Neighbor.

Samantha Mathewson got the byline for the tedious article about excited stargazers and astrographers, but the headline, like so many of my other favorite works, is by that titan of creative genius, Anonymous.

31 May 2022

gratuitous image

The Whiting Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Building Revisited

Not that long ago I happened to walk by a familiar landmark, The Whiting Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Building. I photographed it again with my new high-resolution lens to see if the results were noticeably better.

The resulting image was obviously technically better, but only one person can see that: me. It’s impossible to tell the difference by looking at the relatively small images on the Internet, but I know which one has the most clearly defined peeling paint when I see it on a high-resolution monitor. That’s all the justification I need for my new heavy, bulky lenses. Thousands of dollars and a few sore muscles are a small price to pay for my selfish visual satisfaction.

I left the previous image on the Internet, but filed the new digital file in the same folder as the old one in case I ever decide to print my more unremarkable photographs.

1 June 2022

The Queen’s Ploopmaker

There’s a big ol’ foofaraw in England where the impoverished and downtrodden Brits are celebrating Queen Lizzie the Deuce’s spending over fifty years on the throne. I suppose keeping her son’s droopy mugs from appearing on coins and postage stamps is admirable.

And speaking of the royal throne, the queen’s security guards station themselves as close to her as politely possible; here’s how that works when she sits on the porcelain throne. The agents position themselves at different distances from her majesty’s bog, then her majesty’s ploopmaker drops a banana in the toilet. The closest guard who can’t hear the ploop remains stationed there.

And finally, what do yeast and the royal family have in common? They’re both in bread.

2 June 2022

Türkiye Rebränded

Everyone knows about Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unrelenting assaults on human rights and democracy, but few know that the brutal little dictator is also a rabid aficionado of heavy metal music. That’s why he’s changing the name of his collapsing empire. I shall ’splain ...

What do the musical ensembles Mötley Crüe and Motörhead have in common? That’s right, gratuitous umlauts. And that’s why The Country Formerly Known as Turkey is now Türkiye. Coming up: a new national anthem composed by Ivan L. Moody of Five Finger Death Punch fame.

I envy the writer in Istanbul who’s currently making derisive fun of the collapse of human rights and democracy here in the United States; s/he has a lot more material with which to work.

3 June 2022

Interdimensional Aesthetics

Tim Edwards just won a fifteen-thousand-dollar prize for his glass piece, Ellipse #8. (He’s Australian, so that’s less than eleven-thousand real dollars.) He and his assistants needed a couple of hours to blow the molten glass, then he spent another thirty-five hours grinding it. It sounds like one of those pieces that must be good if it took that much time and effort.

Descriptions like “award-winning artist” and “prize-winning work” really get my dandruff up. As Frederic Raphael noted, “Awards are like hemorrhoids; in the end, every asshole gets one.”

Now here’s a surprise plot twist. Instead of making my usual snide, snarky comments in another petty diatribe, I’m going to praise Edwards.

His piece has a maximum depth of only eight millimeters; that’s within spitting distance of Duchamp’s infrathin.

“I’m interested in perception, deception, and that area between 2D and 3D,” Edwards explained. “Someone coined the term two-and-a-half dimensional, which I like.”

I’d like to make “real” analog collages with paper, scissors, and glue instead of pushing pixels. I remember my visits with my late friend Charles Gatewood and admiring his collages; I’m one of the very few people fortunate enough to see what I consider to be some of his best work.

I hope I’m doing my best work just before I pop my clogs. So far so good; nothing could be better than that.

4 June 2022

gratuitous image

Acoustic Research AR-3a Speakers 3A 16237 and 3A 16796 (Diptych)

I’m frequently amazed and amused at how time in general and technology in particular changes my world. Fifty(!) years ago I dreamt of having a stereo system comprised of Acoustic Research components. They were so expensive that dreaming was as far as I got.

Even then, I never hallucinated that I’d ever own the best, a pair of Acoustic Research AR-3a speakers. Today, I helped Roscoe take his pair to the dump. (They weigh over twenty kilos each and his back ain’t that great.) Before we said goodbye to the trashed boxes—with real walnut veneer over particle board!—I photographed them, Acoustic Research AR-3a Speakers 3A 16237 and 3A 16796 (Diptych). I’d rather have the image than the great stereo equipment.

I wonder what I’ll do next that I never would have imagined? I’m not going to spend any time on conjecture; I’ll find out soon enough.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2022 David Glenn Rinehart

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