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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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17 December 2022

gratuitous image

No. 7,765 (cartoon)

I’m losing it ...

You never had it.

... thanks to the penicillin.

18 December 2022

My Lawless Universe

I always thought that laws don’t apply to me, and not only was I right, it’s even better than I thought: there are no laws! (At least when it comes to physics.)

Sankar Das Sarma, writing in the 9 December issue of Physics, hypothesized that, “... laws of physics are really just consistent mathematical theories that seem to match some parts of nature.” The theoretical physicist presented a persuasive argument that there probably aren’t any perfect physical laws. At least he convinced me, even though my brain glazed over when he got to the part about over ten thousand universes; my learning curve fell off a cliff halfway through watching the documentary on Buckaroo Bonzai.

I printed a copy of the article, folded it, and taped it to the lining of my bicycle helmet. The next time a cop pulls me over for speeding past a stop sign, I’ll ask her or him to read it so we can have a far-reaching discussion about how a red octagon is just a theoretical construct that has no relevance in my universe. Once the law enforcement officer understands that there are no laws to enforce, we can enjoy a drink or several, one of the few constants in all of the known universes.

19 December 2022

The Asteroid Is Us

I never thought highly of Walt Kelly’s cartoons, but have always appreciated his memorable line, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Michael Grunwald recently updated that observation with a more timely but less succinct corollary: “The earth is in the midst of the worst mass extinction since an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs sixty-six million years ago—and this time, the asteroid is us.”

He went on to report that we’re completely fucked, in the negative sense. (Let the record show that those were not his exact words.) Reporting from the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, he concluded that we’re not going to do any of the things we must do to avoid biological and environmental cataclysms. The gormless “environmentalists” are pinning their hopes on new goals set for 2030 after no country came within a nanillion kilometers of the targets set for 2010 and 2020. Good luck with that, kids!

I am the asteroid; I am Sparticus. You are Sparticus; you are the asteroid. Have a nice day!

20 December 2022


I read an interesting piece by Danica Salazar, who pointed out that the fifth of the world’s population that speaks English at a useful level actually speaks Englishes. Despite the colonialists’ best efforts, there’s no longer a global English if there ever was one. Other cultures have made their own contributions, with mixed results.

The Ugandans gave us “kaveera” (a plastic bag), and I’m happy to give it back to them. Combining an adjective and a noun doesn’t do me any good. On the other hand, the Japanese contributed “skinship,” which has several useful meanings. I hope it catches on and oblivionizes the stooopid phrase, “friends with benefits.”

The very few words foreign words that I use with any regularity are those that are more succinct than their English equivalent. Schadenfreude is a good example; it’s used so often that I saw no need to define it.

I’m grateful to Salazar for introducing me to the concept of Englishes; we’ll see about skinship later.

21 December 2022

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Plane Air, New Mexico

Susanne concluded a nice visit by announcing she had to leave to meet a friend to make some plane air watercolors. I liked the idea of painting air with water, and decided to make a variation: plane air photographs. What could be easier than photographing sky worms?

That was over two years ago.

I don’t trust my memory, but I recall seeing interesting contrails everywhere all the time until it was time to photograph the ephemeral rascals. On the rare occasions I saw some interesting plane air I didn’t have my serious camera with me.

I got lucky today. I know this is just a coincidence, but within an hour of the winter solstice on my father’s deathday everything came together and I made Plane Air, New Mexico, in a thousandth of a second.

And now I’m done. I originally thought I might do a series of plane air photographs, but that’s way too much work for a silly little joke.

22 December 2022

That Can’t Be Art

This is a variation of my little “Photography is Dead” thingie I wrote on 17 September about art and technology. It started when I spotted a headline about disgruntled businesspeople claiming to be artists: Artists Stage Mass Online Protest Against AI Image Generators. If there’s anything more ineffectual than protesting artists, it’s an online rally when none of them cares enough to get out of their comfy chairs.

It seems that an Internet site started publishing images created by artificial intelligence computer programs, which offended some crap artists. They were apparently distressed that a machine could create visual images that were regarded as superior to their hand-crafted mediocrities. This is a clear case déjà vu all over again, just like the forgettable painters at the dawn of photography wailing that something created by a machine can’t be art.

Even though the collective wrath of artists might be compared to being flagellated with al dente fettuccine, the protest did result in an executive at the site being physically injured: she laughed so hard at the flailing artists’ collective impotence that she broke a rib.

23 December 2022

I Suppose I Just Might

Stewart’s place is difficult to access by bike, so he picked me up to introduce me to a couple of his friends over lunch at his studio.

He didn’t mention that Veronica and Brandon had just become romantically involved; it was obvious. They spent the entire visit stroking, fondling, and not so subtly groping each other.

“I thought their conduct was embarrassing,” Stewart admitted on the drive home.

“I didn’t,” I replied. “And anyway, infatuation is not a long-term condition.”

“Would you ever behave like Brandon just did?” he asked.

“I suppose I just might,” I admitted, “but I’d have to get to know Veronica better first.”

“Very funny, mister,” he scowled.

There’s a reason no one’s ever called Stewart the good humour man.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2022 David Glenn Rinehart

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