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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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24 September 2023

gratuitous image

No. 2,748 (cartoon)

Your silence is deafening.

Shut up!

That’s more like it.

25 September 2023

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The Death of Charles Shaw (Diptych)

There are two ways to reduce a wine bottle to two dimensions: photograph it, or crush it with a 1924 Buffalo Springfield steam roller. (There may be other possibilities, but to desire more than two would be avaricious.) I used both techniques to create The Death of Charles Shaw (Diptych).

Charles Shaw wine, more popularly known as Two-Buck Chuck, cost two dollars a bottle when it was introduced in 2002. Even though the price today is the same, after adjusting for inflation, I’ve switched to drinking the finest of exquisite wines from five-liter plastic bags because they cost less. And that leads me to conclude this paragraph as I did the preceding one: I photographed and crushed the last Charles Shaw bottle I’ll ever buy.

I had a simple plan: crush the bottle then photograph the flattened glass. It didn’t work out that way. The steam roller didn’t flatten the bottle; it made the bottle explode, sending glass all over the pavement. I didn’t see a single shard of glass between the boards, so I swept up the remnants and photographed the broken glass arranged into a rectangle.

I was reminded of Andy Warhol’s remark, “My paintings never turn out the way I expect them to but I’m never surprised.”

26 September 2023

Reality is a Crutch

Here’s the headline that’s stuck in my head: Mexican film showing abuse in national guard is “a fraction” of reality, says star.

I’m not interested in learning about national guard abuse. Mexico’s armed forces and I have a tacit agreement to leave each other alone. It’s a symbiotic relationship that’s held up well over the decades, and I’m not going to bollix it up now by turning an unblind eye toward los chicos malos.

No, the jagged edge that caught my attention was the premise that any medium could show reality in its entirety. I was reminded of one of Thom Hogan’s prescient observations.

I’ve written this before, and I’m sure I’ll write it again: back when I taught filmmaking at Indiana University one of the things I had to correct in every student’s mind was that documentary films are a reflection of the documentarian’s decisions, not reality. Why? Because you had so many choices you were going to make, including but not limited to when and where to put cameras, whether the cameras would be visible to the ones being recorded, and which clips you decided to put in your final edit. Hundreds of decisions go into every image capture or film recording.

I’m not concerned about such arguments; reality is a crutch for people who can’t deal with art.

27 September 2023

Before I Become Extincted

Hoo boy, things just keep getting worser and then some. I just read that the continents may join to form Pangea Ultima, a supercontinent that will result in the loss of lots of oceanfront property. That, and mass extinctions as well. I’d only just come to accept that the sun will run out of hydrogen fuel in five billion years, but now we’re looking at an inglorious end in only two hundred and fifty million years.


I’m usually relentlessly positive, so I’m looking forward to witnessing mass extinctions before I become extincted hundreds of millions of years before we’re all (not) living on a single megamaxicontinent.

They don’t call me the good humour man for nothin’.

28 September 2023

Antigravity Skirts and Pants

I was jubilant as a mojito to learn that Cern researchers have determined that gravity affects antimatter.

“So what?” you may or may not say.

As an esteemed scientist, I know that, if gravity affects antimatter, then it follows that antigravity affects matter. Ergo ipso facto cum laude, I figure that means that we’ll all be getting from here to there in antigravity skirts and pants sooner than we anticipated; how exciting!

29 September 2023

Why? Why?

I received a curious note from Mr. Oscar Carter Junior from the United Bank of Africa based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Attention Dear.

We wish to inform you that we are no longer comfortable the way you are handling this matter by keeping silent. Now we want to ask you some Questions.

   (1) what do you have in mind by keeping silent and refusing to take your funds.?
   (2) Ho w long shall we continue to protect your funds for you.?
   (3) Do you want the authority to confiscate your funds.?
   (4) Do you still receive my email and after reading it you keep silent, why? my friend?

Your Irrationalism may lead you to loose your Funds, why are you behaving this way?why? why?

And there you have it: Exhibit 801, typos and all.

Why, why, why I don’t know. My Funds are pretty tight now, but I suppose I could loose them with Mr. Oscar Carter Junior’s help. All the grownups in the room agree that will never happen; this is just the latest iteration of the classic Nigerian scam that’s been running for decades.

I’m amused by a fictitious banker writing like a ghosted lover, but what I find most interesting is the claim that the operation is based in Nigeria, since that’s the reddest of red flags for anyone but the stooopidest and most naive of chumps. I appreciate that that’s a rather clever filter; anyone who is ignorant and gullible enough not to immediately recognize the letter in broken English is a fraud is the desired demographic.

30 September 2023

Interminable Drum Solos

It’s a factual fact: it takes some twenty-five years for the male brain to develop if it ever does. I’m not saying that I did some profoundly dumb things when I was a teenager (even though I did), but I will confess that I did show incredibly poor judgment, especially when it comes to music.

I’m thinking of the boxed, four-album set, Chicago At Carnegie Hall. I quite liked it when I was in high school, but I now suspect that my critical faculties may have been adversely affected by alcohol and marijuana. I took a rare glance in my rearview mirror this afternoon by trying to listen to I’m a Man. I couldn’t. I was initially annoyed by a member of the band who kept yelling “Boogie!” I turned off the music after suffering through minutes of an interminable drum solo.

And speaking, er, writing about drum solos reminds me of why the abomination was conceived. First, it’s an obvious way for an insecure drummer to get in the spotlight, figuratively and literally, while the other band members are off the stage. While the drummer is pounding away, the other musicians are backstage with the groupies. It’s an efficient way of scheduling recreational sex: they don’t have to get to the show early and they can leave as soon as the last song is over.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2023 David Glenn Rinehart

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