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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak III


15 January 2023

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No. 6,893 (cartoon)

I can’t believe you just did that.

Pleasure is to blame.

16 January 2023

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White Rice on Styrofoam, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico

I was served white rice in a white container when I ordered food from the Asian Garden Restaurant in Alamogordo en route to the White Sands Missile Range. I thought the visual appeal would be enhanced if I photographed it on a white background, so I did. White on white on white would have been very difficult to photograph, so I added a black plastic spoon to make White Rice on Styrofoam, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico easy to print (even though I never will).

17 January 2023

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The Sacramento Mountains and Tularosa Basin, Explained

I discovered a couple of plaques on a low ridge in what appeared to my ignorant eye to be the middle of a vast scrubland. They told me more than I’d ever want to know about the Sacramento Mountains and Tularosa Basin. Without the title, The Sacramento Mountains and Tularosa Basin, Explained, this would just be another damned nature picture rich in ho and hum.

18 January 2023

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Eleven Points of Interest, Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, Three Rivers, New Mexico

The Archaeological Society of New Mexico’s Rock Art Recording Field Schools reports that there are over twenty-one thousand rock drawings at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. Apparently editing and curating were not common in Mogollon culture.

That’s why I appreciated that the Bureau of Land Management workers put up numbered signs indicating eleven points of interest. I photographed all of ’em, but decided that the set of eleven was almost as boring as the twenty-one thousand originals. Instead, I combined them in the pleasing proportion of phi to make Eleven Points of Interest, Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, Three Rivers, New Mexico (Great Kiva, Fertility Panel, Rainbow Serpent, Handprint Panel, Solstice Markers, Hunter Panel, Guardian Panel, Storytellers Panel, Warrior Panel, Bear Panel, and Zia Sun Symbol).

As a semantic footnote, this is my first polyptych of eleven images. I’m not sure what the proper name of an “eleventych” is; my list of polyptychs stops at decaptych, alas. Also, I haven’t checked, but I’m fairly sure that this thirty-six-word title is my longest.

19 January 2023

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The Largest Pistachio in the World

Yesterday I noted that the Mogollons could have used editors and curators when it came to their visual work. Any of their descendants who took a close look at my photograph of the largest pistachio in the world could rightly say the same thing about me.

At first I liked the image for perhaps the worst possible reason: my initial reaction was that anything that came out of my camera had to be pretty darned good. I find that attitude so abhorrent and noxious that it’s time for some strong aversion therapy.

The everything-I-touch-is-rhodium attitude is perhaps best exemplified by the Grateful Dead, the musical group that recorded and preserved for posterity every performance, no matter how execrably mediocre it was. Now that I’ve thoroughly disgusted myself with the comparison, it’s time to circle back to the mammoth nut.

It’s an okay snapshot, but it’s not a very good photo because I was too lazy to get the tripod out of the back of the motor vehicle and because I was in a hurry to make the photograph before another batch of tourists posed in front of it. (Good artists make art; unremarkable artists make excuses.) I should have taken the time to compose it carefully for symmetry, blur the traffic, et cetera, but I didn’t. Now that it’s served its purpose as a cautionary tale, into the rubbish bin it does.

One last thing about good artists: like good doctors, they bury their mistakes.

20 January 2023

ChatGPT and Me

Two days ago I asked ChatGPT, an “artificial intelligence” program, to write most of Wednesday’s entry for me, and it did by describing the eleven points of interest in my polyptych. Here’s an excerpt:

The “Zia Sun Symbol”: This is a symbol that has been adopted as the official state symbol of New Mexico, it is a sacred symbol among the Zia people and it is believed to represent the four cardinal directions, the four seasons, the four periods of day and the four stages of life.


The dozen paragraphs I got were probably factual and definitely boring, so the only copy I used was the eleven names in my title.

Still, I’m making a note—after all, this a notebook—of the first time a computer did my writing for me. I’m sure I’ll be doing more and more of that as the technology gets much more sophisticated and I get even lazier.

I can’t imagine what the future will be like, but it seems entirely possible that in x years that computer will be able to perfectly mimic my style (and lack of same), and “I” can write this in perpetuity long after I’m dead.

21 January 2023

Small Penises and Fast Cars

And this just in from The Department of Male Discoveries of Things Women Have Always Known ...

Four Brits have just released a new paper, Small Penises and Fast Cars: Evidence for a Psychological Link. Lara sent me a one-sentence summary of the findings: “We found that males, and males over thirty in particular, rated sports cars as more desirable when they were made to feel that they had a small penis.”

Lara pointed out that the four authors were all men, but she needn’t have. Of course they were. No woman would waste her time on stating the obvious, just as no man is going to claim to have discovered, Beer and Belching: Evidence for a Cultural and Gastrointestinal Link.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2023 David Glenn Rinehart