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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XLI


9 October 2022

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No. 2,937 (cartoon)

Drugs and alcohol aren’t the answer.

There’s no question.

10 October 2022

Indigenous Peoples, Columbus, and Armstrong Day

Today is Columbus Day, a celebration of the hombre who discovered America in 1492. That’s what I was taught in school as a boy. They learned me a lot of “facts” without any discussion of critical thinking, otherwise I would have asked how anyone could discover inhabited land.

These days it’s double-billed as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but that doesn’t matter since its raison d’etre is to pay government workers to skive off for a day.

I propose moving the meaningless holiday to 20 July and calling it Indigenous Peoples, Columbus, and Armstrong Day, the latter a reference to Neil Armstrong, the first human to step on the moon and who thus “discovered” it just as Columbus “discovered” what he thought was India.

I admit that I haven’t thought the whole thing through; I’m still figuring out how to work in the Vikings who were here centuries before Columbus.

11 October 2022

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Excellent Culture, Cultural Heritage

Monita and I were walking through Chinatown yesterday when I spotted a restaurant advertising Delicious French Fries. As if that wasn’t enough, the sign in the window put the greasy, salty treat in perspective by adding Excellent Culture, Cultural Heritage, and Self Cultivation of Confucianism. That sure is a lot to pack into some deep-fried potato strips!

I created Excellent Culture, Cultural Heritage by simply pressing the shutter release, the fries provided the content, and the piece titled itself.

12 October 2022

The Chess Cheaters Championship

The Chess world, if there is such a thing, is in a collective hissyfit over credible allegations that Hans Niemann has cheated more than a hundred times. There’s no smoking gun, but he’s made the same winning moves that a sophisticated computer would in the same situations too many times for it to be a series of unlikely coincidences.

A human can’t win a tournament against a powerful computer, just ask Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion who lost to Deep Blue in 1997. And that was twenty-five years ago, ancient history in the context of computing power. So now, anyone who can consult her/his phone during a game can beat any unarmed opponent.

I ain’t gonna join the whiners and the snipers, I think we should embrace the cheaters, then segregate them into the Chess Cheaters Championship.

This is a variation of an idea I’ve had before, the Drugged Olympics: the person with the best performance using the best pharmaceuticals wins. It’s sort of the same idea with the Chess Cheaters Championship, but with one huge difference: anyone caught cheating would be immediately disqualified.

This is where players like Hans Niemann could thrive. He appears to be a cheating cheatilyzing cheater, but no one can figure out how he got his winning moves from a computer.

In my utopian fantasy, the Chess Cheaters Championship will be held in the same place and time as the Drugged Olympics; I’d love to hear the contestants’ stories in the bar at the end of the day.

13 October 2022

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Please Don’t Urine

There’s a pitiable sign taped to the entrance of the Spring Valley Science School on Washington Street in San Francisco with a plaintive plea: Please don’t urine or poop around the school area.

I’m surprised it’s still there. I’ve been walking by it for weeks but waited to photograph it until I could bring my real camera instead of using the phoney camera that lives in my pocket. (Just in case I might want to make a meter-wide print someday?)

What kind of illiterate person would post such a notice? The first answer is obvious: someone who thinks urine is a verb. The second answer is probable by not certain: an uneducated school worker who’s paid to learn San Francisco schoolchildren how to use English real good.

I think the kids are getting a fine education. They’re going to spend their lives surrounded by idiots, so may as well get ’em used to it early.

14 October 2022

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Discovering Atget

My San Francisco apartment isn’t mine in the traditional sense, but it is mine when I stay here while my friends are traveling. That’s irrelevant to what I’m going to say, so I’ll start over ...

I spend most of my time sitting at my computer on the dining room table when I’m in my San Francisco apartment unless I’m cooking, showering, or sleeping. (Dang; there I go again with the extraneous details.) It’s a good place to work despite the distractions, such as the panoramic view of the bay on the right and the liquor cabinet on the left.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours there without looking at the dark photographs on the molding a couple of meters off the floor. Rebecca came over for lunch a while back, and after I looked up from my monitor and saw her studying the prints I decided to give ’em a gander too. After craning my neck I discovered five Jean-Eugène-Auguste Atget photographs and a Salvador Dalí lithograph.

Who knew?!

I wonder what else has always been in front of me, figuratively and literally, that I’ve overlooked? I hate to even imagine that, so I won’t.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2022 David Glenn Rinehart

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