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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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24 September 2022

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No. 8,516 (cartoon)

How many nihilists does it take to change a lightbulb?

Does that really matter?

Does anything matter at all?

25 September 2022

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Two Conjoined Waffles Flatter Than a Pancake (Diptych, Made With Steamroller Platen)

It’s that time of year again, when the wizards of Willets bring their massive woodburning Buffalo Springfield steamroller to the big city for their urban cousins to use as a platen to make large prints.

In the past I’ve made prints, but this year I decided instead to simply modify an object to photograph. I started with the working title, A Waffle Flatter Than a Pancake, and nothing went according to plan after that. As Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder noted, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

Or with my friend the steamroller.

I’d anticipated the waffles would be cleanly compressed from three to two dimensions, an embarrassing example of my almost complete ignorance of kitchen physics. Instead, the breakfast treats spread out like a pie crust. Or at least that’s my explanation, but I can’t be sure since I’ve never baked a pie.

I couldn’t choose the best one after they became inseparable, and that’s how I ended up with, Two Conjoined Waffles Flatter Than a Pancake (Diptych, Made With Steamroller Platen).

As Andy Warhol said, “My paintings never turn out the way I expect them to but I’m never surprised.”

26 September 2022

Fun on a Budget

Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive officer, recently ranked the hackles of his pampered employees when he announced that there’d be no more bluefin tuna at their free sushi and sashimi buffet.

No more bluefin?! Zut alors!

One of the disgruntled prima donnas plagiarized Dorothy Parker and asked, “What fresh hell is this?”

“We shouldn’t always equate fun with money,” the man who makes over six million dollars a year sternly replied.

Don’t sneer. Every time I see Sundar he has the stony expression and demeanor of a constipated undertaker having a very bad day. I suppose that’s the way it is when one tirelessly pursues world domination instead of the hedonistic indolence and excesses that I enjoy.

I agree with him. Neither he nor I would have any more fun if we had more money. I think that understanding is lost on the spoiled wage slaves gorging on free food. An overpaid servant is still a serf; perhaps they should chew on that instead of bluefin tuna.

27 September 2022

Goody for Me!

I can’t understand why even some of my closest friends describe me as cynical and pessimistic. Sometimes I feel like the Good Humour Man and Suzie Sunshine’s love child, and today’s one of them days. I generally try to never repeat something I’ve written before, but I’m not going to even try to pretend that I haven’t said what follows many times over the years.

The way to enjoy good health is to only read about research and studies that suggest that you continue to enjoy all food and drink that you’ve been eating and drinking all of your life. I especially enjoyed today’s headline: “It’s official! Coffee is good for you—just like red wine, dark chocolate, beer ...”

I’ve read about such studies before. The great thing about this article is that it combines all the good stuff into one easy-to-digest little piece. Scoffers are gonna scoff; I know the dour enemies of joy will claim that’s all wishful thinking, but clearly it’s not. Note that other favorites, such as carcinogenic bacon and artery-clogging mayonnaise aren’t recommended.

Eat, drink, drink some more, and be merry!

28 September 2022

Sensible Hurricane Preparations

My cousin Janice lives in Florida. She’s very intelligent, so I can’t figure out why she voluntarily lives in a fetid swamp crawling with Floridians, especially on a day like today when there’s a huge hurricane barreling toward her. (Is there any way except barreling for a hurricane to get from one place to another?)

I was reminded of how smart she is when I called her today to see if she was prepared. She assured me that she was fine after moving everything upstairs in case there’s another flood. She has a generator, and had just returned from Lenny’s Liquor with, “two shopping carts full of booze.”

She’s sure she’ll be fine, and I am too.

29 September 2022

Buccal Burritos

I learned a couple of new words today after a pleasantly uneventful checkup with my dentist: buccal and lingual. These are very toothy words indeed, the kind of wordage I’d expect to hear at a dental clinic but never have before.

“Buccal” is the side of the tooth facing the cheek, “lingual” is the opposite side against the tongue. That makes international sense to me.

Virtually my entire Spanish vocabulary comes from decades of reading taqueria menus, so I know that “lengua” means “tongue.” I had no idea where “buccal” came from, so I spent twenty seconds of research to discover that it comes from the Latin for “cheek.”

Yawn ...

Cod cheeks are A Thing in Scottish chip shops. I’d pay a dollar or two more for a buccal burrito, but I think a fish taco is as far as my local taqueria is going to go with its single seafood offering. That’s too bad; a buccal burrito would roll off the lengua and down the gullet ...

30 September 2022

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DALL·E and Me

(A note to all you pedants out there: It’s true that I don’t know nothin’ about grammar. I doubt it, but perhaps it should have been “DALL·E and I,” but I chose rhyme over research.)

DALL·E is a computer program that generates images from written descriptions. Just type “a plaid oak tree growing out of a bright orange sperm whale” and that’s what you’ll get. It’s been under development for ages, but now that it’s open to the hoi polloi I decided to take it out for a little spin.

Decades ago I started an overly ambitious piece that’s been stalled for almost that long because I’ve been too lazy and/or inept to make the necessary photographs. I was excited by the possibility of a computer doing the work that needs to be done, so I asked it to create an image: “An unusual bed in a small windowless room.”

It gave me four interpretations, the best of which was lit by a skylight. Since the opening of the ceiling wasn’t visible in the image, perhaps DALL·E reasoned that’s a windowless room. I certainly got an unusual bed, though, there’s a bedpost going through the mattress. I never see nothin’ like that before!

I was amused, not disappointed, with the novelty pictures. Even had I created the photograph I needed, the resolution was so low that I couldn’t use it. I’ll revisit DALL·E in a year; who knows where the technology will have gone by then?

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2022 David Glenn Rinehart

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