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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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15 October 2022

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No. 4,760 (cartoon)

You make my skin crawl.

No, it’s bedbugs and lice.

16 October 2022

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Too Many Suns

Let’s get this straight right from the git-go: I think Ken Rockwell is great; I read everything he has to say about photography and wouldn’t buy any new photographic equipment that he hasn’t “blessed.” He’s also a very good technician, as he demonstrated in this photo of Half Dome he used to promote the workshop he’s running in the Sierra even as we (don’t) speak.

Perhaps he’s a bit too good on this occasion. No one could make an unmanipulated photo like this with only one sun. I doubt anyone glancing at it in a doctor’s waiting room would notice, but as I photographer I can’t look at it without realizing the sunlight in the foreground is coming from one direction and the clouds in the sky are backlit by a setting sun.

Or maybe they’re not.

It’s incredibly easy to tell the computer to create any type of sky, no camera needed. I think he could have just as easily put in the Milky Way with a full moon, or maybe even two.

What’s my point? Hmmm, I was just wondering that myself.

17 October 2022

Ansel Adams is a Real Artiste!

I first met Ansel Adams in the seventies at the Halsted Gallery in Michigan. Tom Halsted and Ansel were friends; the world of fine art photography was more intimate and perhaps less money-oriented than it is now that it’s (d)evolved into the mercenary world of Fine Art Photography.

Half a century later, Ansel and Halsted are dead and Wendy Halsted Beard runs the gallery she inherited from her father. Or maybe she doesn’t; Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided her home and arrested her on charges of mail and wire fraud after allegedly bilking her clients out of a million and a half dollars.

The swindle worked like this: she offered to sell an Ansel Adams print on consignment for elderly collectors, at least one of whom had dementia, pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale, then gave the owner a cheap copy claiming that it was the unsold original. Or something like that.

I concluded something important from this story in addition to the obvious one (if you’re going to cheat, don’t get caught). Ansel has joined the pantheon of Great Artists whose work can bring millions to an ambitious scammer; that’s one of the pinnacles of artistic success.

Welcome to the club, Ansel; now no one can doubt you’re a Real Artiste!

18 October 2022

A Big, Fat Waste of Irony

I was walking down Hyde street this afternoon and overheard a big, fat guy complain to his companion, “That was a big fat waste of time.”

Can I admit that I found that even funnier than ironic without offending someone? Probably not.

I thought that was pretty darn funny, and a big, fat laugh at that!

19 October 2022

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Tacos Super Monilla

The sign on the side of the Tacos Super Monilla truck in Alameda boasts “Best Tacos!” beside an illustration of some hombre (perhaps Monilla himself?) flying through the air in superman drag clenching a taco in one fist and punching the air with the other one.

I’ve cycled by the truck many times without being tempted to stop, and not just because of the exorbitant prices that would make any respectable taqueria proprietor blush. I’ve seen the ad enough to know I don’t want one of their tacos.

First, there’s only one taco. What right-thinking person only eats a single taco? And then there’s the size thing: the antihero has squeezed all the filling out of the tortilla to reveal barely a couple of bites, if that. The taco itself looks dehydrated if not desiccated: why is there no cheese, guacamole, salsa, or plain old grease dipping out the other end of what should be a succulent little feast?

And then there’s the clincher: the left hand is empty; did the delivery boy drink the beer?

Tacos Super Monilla? Nein danke!

20 October 2022

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Apple, Fig Newton, and Fig, Abandoned

Victor always has fig newtons—the tasty cookie Isaac Newton invented in 1666—on hand. Apples are everywhere, so when Susan bought some figs the scientist in me demanded to know if the three of them were equally affected by gravity. We all know from Newtonian physics that an apple will bonk you on the noggin if left to its own devices, but what about the fig and the fig newton?

Now that I had an apple, a fig newton, and a fig, all I needed was a high-speed motion analysis camera. That wasn’t a problem; Sonja said I was welcome to borrow her Phantom v2512 camera for the project. It shoots a million frames per second; that’s just the kind of definitive data I’d need for my rigorous scientific inquiry.

I got stuck trying to figure out how to release the three simultaneously. I could always use the remote-controlled zirconium tweezers again, but the software is buggy (I coded it myself!) and the hardware can be finicky, so I ruled that out.

I realized I could drop them sequentially since I could analyze and compare each video, so maybe I could have Farokh paw each one off the edge of a table and study the results. Nah, cats are superlative entertainment value, but I had work to do. And anyway, he might just decide to dismember the fig newton for a feline laugh.

I pondered, postponed, put off, played for time, procrastinated, and prevaricated when someone asked how the project was progressing [sic]. (And all that using only the P chapter in my thesaurus.)

I was impaled on the horns of a conundrum for almost two months while the apple rotted, the fig newton petrified, and the fig grew a nice little crop of white fungus. I finally gave up and created Apple, Fig Newton, and Fig, Abandoned, as a cautionary reminder to avoid getting in too far over my head again.

21 October 2022

Brain-eating Amoeba You Lose

Headline of the day: “Las Vegas Teen dies from brain-eating amoeba as experts warn against panic.”

Well gosh, being eaten alive by psychotic amoebae feasting on your brain does sound a bit alarming the first time you think about it. And every other time too, come to think about it again and again.

But wait! Let us remember the pithy headline: “... experts warn against panic.” If you can’t trust the experts, you can’t trust no one. (I loves me a double negative.)

Viva Las Vegas! Heads you win, brain-eating amoeba you lose.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2022 David Glenn Rinehart

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