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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak I


1 January 2023

No. 5,237 (cartoon)

I want you to go far.

Thanks for your support.

Go far and don’t come back.

2 January 2023

Dead-Pope Hammer

Pope Benedict, popularly known as the raccoon pope because of the haunting charcoal rings around his eyes, is dead.

Or is he?

He might be biologically dead, but he’s not Catholically dead until the camerlengo bashes him on the head three times with the special silver dead-pope hammer used only for that purpose. (The camerlengo is the uomo who runs the show between popes.)

It’s unclear whether Benedict will get hammered, because he’s a pope but yet he’s not a pope, if you see what I mean. (And if you do see what I mean, please let me know since I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to whackadoodle cults.)

After failing to reduce pedophilia to an acceptable level, Benedict wisely retired almost a decade ago to enjoy life instead of spending the rest of his days dealing with ceremonial nonsense. The show must go on, so there’s been a pinch-hitter since then, Francis the Talking Pope. Maybe the camerlengo will bonk both of them on the head with the dead-pope hammer to see who’s the real pope, maybe he won’t.

Probably just as well it’s unknown; can’t have a mystifying sect without such mysteries.

3 January 2023

Human Composting Options

I’ll begin this year the way I ended the last one: whinging about sloppy journalism. Here’s the headline that got my dandruff up: “New York Governor Kathy Hochul legalizes human composting after death.”

I wonder if anyone has ever composted a human before death? I’m reticent to even raise the question lest I give a would-be Mengele any ideas.

I’ll balance that kvetching with a note of appreciation to Stephanie Clarke for her article, “Good news about cheese—it’s much healthier than you thought.” I didn’t read it, but why would I since the headline already told me everything I needed to know?

4 January 2023


I awoke to discover two or three centimeters of snow had fallen during the night. Yesterday the weather forecast predicted that there’d be no precipitation for the next ten days, so the snow fairy must have visited during the night. There’s no other possibility.

I know what I’m going to do today; I’m going to watch the snow melt. The snow fairy is impotent while the desert sun shines, and I know that the snowy road covered with wabbit tracks will be dry asphalt when I hop on my bicycle this afternoon. In the interim; I shall enjoy the transition.

It would be simple for me to make a short timelapse film of the snow disappearing into the arid breezes, and that’s the problem: it’s too easy. Like aerial photography, novelty overpowers other aesthetic considerations. Instead, I appreciate the discipline needed to perceive the almost imperceptible transformation.

It took me decades to cultivate and refine my low entertainment threshold; that’s one of the reasons I enjoy such an improbably charmed life. I still have a way to go before I can savor watching paint dry, but for now I need to concentrate on the vanishing snow.

5 January 2023

Big Oil is a Big Bore

My friend Hannah, who has a gallery in New York, is even more cynical than I am. (Cause and effect?) I hadn’t seen her in too long, so when we finally got together I asked her what she thought of the Just Stop Oil protesters who glued themselves to a Vincent van Gogh painting and threw paint soup on another.

“Ain’t gonna happen!” she replied with a sophisticated Brooklyn laugh (if there is such a thing).

She went on to explain that, when it comes to paintings, Big Money demands Big Oil. Collectors want canvases that would fill the wall of an airplane hangar, which, coincidentally, is about the size of a Big Money living room.

“Oil can’t be stopped,” she concluded. “No matter how whiny and disruptive these earnest urchins are, no one’s going to pay real dollars for their crappy little pastel drawings and balsa wood maquettes.”

Go to any art museum and you can see that she’s right. Oil painting has been going strong for centuries and Kids These Days aren’t going to slow it down, let alone stop it.

I think Big Oil is a Big Bore, but I have better things to do than waste my time on a doomed crusade.

6 January 2023

Tarantulas and Scorpions in the Morning

New Mexico is home to six species of tarantulas and nine species of scorpions. And, at this very moment, I live here as well as I go from here to there then on to thither and yon.

I always check my boots for scorpions and tarantulas before I put them on in the morning. The odds of finding one of the creepy critters in the house are close to negative zero, but at least it makes getting out of bed exciting.

7 January 2023

Back in My Prime!

I’ve mostly enjoyed getting chronologically older. Mostly. I have a better perspective on life (what’s left of it), and so far I’ve only experienced the most minimal deleterious effects of physical and mental decrapitude, although I’m not sure if I’d recognize the latter.

Today things just got better: it’s my birthday, and I’m back in my prime again! I haven’t been in my prime in six years, and have only six more prime years before I go into triple digits, which I ain’t planning on.

8 January 2023

Sixty-Seven Rice

Polly brought over some Chinese takeaway and discovered that the restaurant had given her two containers of white rice she hadn’t ordered and wouldn’t eat. I didn’t want the bleached swamp grass either, but I also hate to waste alleged food. As a compromise, I photographed the rice blocks yesterday on my birthday and made Sixty-Seven Rice, then left the remains for a birds and rats feast.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2023 David Glenn Rinehart