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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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3 December 2022

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No. 7,659 (cartoon)

I feel like a carrot with no peel.

I’m a tube of glue in a stapler world.

You’re just full of yourself.

4 December 2022

No Beer in Qatar

“I pity the fool who’s stuck in an oven disguised as a football stadium in the middle of the desert without even a glass of beer watching a bunch of guys kicking a ball around for hours,” Rodney declared.

And I declare that he’s right.

The failure of the World Cup football contest in Qatar began when Qatari organizers reneged on an agreement to allow beer sales at the games. As a result, tens of thousands of painfully sober people in the stands collectively decided to go back to their air-conditioned hotel rooms and drink the hooch they smuggled in before they died from the scorching heat and unmitigated boredom of a soccer match.

Although the stadiums built with slave labor in the desert are empty, football remains a popular sport among people drunk enough to find men chasing a ball around a field mindlessly entertaining. The news from Qatar finally allowed me to understand why football is called “the beautiful game.”

Everything is beautiful, in its own way ... if you’ve had enough to drink.

5 December 2022

Shrewed Idea!

I’m not going to mess up a nice little story with too many distracting facts, so here we go: shrews eat a quarter of their brains—Mmmm, brains!—during the lean winter months then grow ’em back when warmer weather brings more food.

The End.

Now that I’ve concluded December’s wildlife oration, it’s time to do some philosophication about the wee beady-eyed insectivorous mammals.

I’m amazed and appalled at how much worthless junk we accumulate and keep over a lifetime, and that includes brain cells. I periodically delete less-than-worthless files from my computers’ storage bays. I wish I could do that for my meat memory as well, so every spring I’d have a good chunk of tabula rasa real estate between my ears.

Or maybe not. Come to think of it, I’m reasonably happy with my cranial status quo. I’m not sure how the shrews decide what part of their brains to eat and what to preserve. I learned a lot from Rod Serling’s cautionary tales, so I realize there’s a good chance that I might eat some of my favorite memories yet continue to recall every stupid advertising jingle I heard as a kid.

6 December 2022

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The Cat with OUD, MDP, and TBA

I have friends in the most unlikely places, including my friend Flynn—that’s Colonel O’Brien to you—who teaches Introduction to Combat Command Control at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. I’m always looking for improbably improbable sources from which to plagiarize, so I asked him to send me some photos from his lectures.

So what did he send me? A snapshot of a cat sitting on top of a tall dresser. I called to ask if all the good stuff was classified.

“Great photo!” I lied. “It must be a good feeling knowing that your cadets can say ‘I did taw a puddy tat!’ with authority.”

“You sure don’t know how to read a photograph, do you?” he asked. “You’re looking at a perfect example of OUD, MDP, and TBA and you can’t see shit.”

“I’d like you to please repeat that in English,” I replied.

He (im)patiently explained that the image showed most of what a commanding officer on the front lines should know: Optimal Unit Deployment, Maximum Defensible Position, and Total Battlefield Awareness. The kitty chose the ideal location to stay safe while surveying the entire room as well as the world outside the window.

“I wish all my cadets were like that cat,” he concluded.

“Maybe you should teach ’em about LUB,” I suggested.

“What’s that?” he replied.

“Litterbox Utilization Basics,” I explained.

I agreed that the wise wuss demonstrated an ideal approach to sleeping all day, an idea he pooh-poohed. Speaking of which, I declined his offer to look at the videos of pooping puppies demonstrating Random Canine Defecation he uses in his advanced course on planting mines.

7 December 2022

Fit for a Dog!

Ruth is a very generous friend, especially when giving kitchen advice. Why, it was only this afternoon that she admonished me not to overcook the green beans, cut the carrots diagonally, add some olive oil when I prepared the brown rice, et cetera. That led to a frank and open exchange with my learned friend.

“I’m cooking a batch of food for your overweight mongrel who considers its own vomit a satisfying repast,” I explained. “I’m sure whatever I make will be fit for a dog.”

“Have you been taking a correspondence course with Le Cordon Bleu?” she asked. “You’ve never served anything that good before.”

I finely chopped and fried up a dozen strips of bluish-green putrefying bacon I found festering in the back of her refrigerator and surreptitiously added it to the organic pooch slop. After her dog figuratively and literally ate it up, Ruth magnanimously conceded that I could indeed make food fit for a dog.

I hope I cooked the rotten bacon long enough. Oh well, if it barfs it up it will eat the evidence so I’m not gonna fret about dodgy dog food.

8 December 2022

Vagina on a Chip

I copied “Vagina on a Chip” verbatim from a recent news headline; slugs don’t get any better than that. Dr. Don Ingber came up with that; thanks, Doc!

The Harvard bioengineer who coined “vagina on a chip” also excels at public relations. Here’s his colorful description of his creation: “This walks, talks, quacks like a human vagina.”


I’m not going to talk about my personal experiences, but after living in San Francisco for decades I’ve seen a lot of amazing “alternative lifestyles.” And statistically speaking, I’m one of the three percent of men who know the difference between the vagina and the vulva. Nevertheless, I ain’t never heard of no body part like that.

I like to think of myself as inquisitive and open-minded, but understanding how a vagina on a chip that walks, talks, and quacks is like a human vagina is an intellectual challenge I’m not interested in pursuing at this particular moment. Or any other, ever.

9 December 2022

Death in Qatar

Death in Qatar is in the headlines after a sportswriter died in the press box covering a football match. Final score: Grim Reaper 1-0 Grant Wahl. The initial reports suggest he may have had a heart attack, but I have a better idea.

Can you imagine a press room without a bar? Neither can I, but that’s where Wahl expired. My theory is that he was completely sober when died of boredom from watching men run around a field chasing a ball for days on end. Or maybe he suffered a fatal anxiety attack from the tight deadline pressure of having to come up with a compelling and entertaining description of said men kicking a ball north and south and east and west and back again.

The Qatar World Cup’s chief executive took a philosophical approach, reminding everyone, “Death is a natural part of life, whether it’s at work, whether it’s in your sleep.” A Qatari government spokesperson had a mathematical analysis. “The mortality rate among these communities is within the expected range for the size and demographics of the population.”

Now that I’m done with three incoherent introductory paragraphs, it’s time to throw some more data into the soup. The Qataris were talking about deaths among the migrant laborers and/or modern-day slaves (it depends on who you ask) who constructed everything needed for the huge event. The game organizers claimed that three workers died over the years, human rights groups put that number at around six and a half thousand.

There’s a good reason that thousands of dead workers never got much media attention, but Wahl’s death grabbed the headlines: he was a white American male. If that seems incomprehensible, maybe you should have taken that journalism class after all.

10 December 2022

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Artist and Canine Public Droppings in Flint, Michigan (Diptych)

Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno is one of my favorite artists and one of the very few critics I appreciate. I’m thinking about the time when he put a piece of dog shit in an envelope and slipped it through the door of the Mary Boone Gallery with a note, “Why don’t you show the real thing?”

I was reminded of that when I spotted five huge pieces of steel that had been welded together in the middle of a parking lot to make a jumble of spare parts over twenty meters high. I immediately recognized it for what it was: a huge piece of “public art,” a mammoth eyesore dropped onto government land that has no relevance or connection to its surroundings.

Later on the same stroll I spotted an irresponsible dog owner walk away from the steaming feces her dog just dropped on the sidewalk. I photographed both to make, Artist and Canine Public Droppings in Flint, Michigan (Diptych).

I thought the real thing was a much better creative work.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2022 David Glenn Rinehart

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