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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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9 July 2024

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No. 1,036 (cartoon)

The joke’s on you.

No, the joke is on you.

Then why is no one laughing?

10 July 2024

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Seeing Without Rectangles

I’ve always been fascinated by photography in general and photography equipment in particular ever since my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic 100. (I wonder when flashbulbs disappeared?) Ever since then, I’ve always looked for interesting photographs and have made quite a few, if only because of the imaginary law of probabilities.

I was strolling on a stroll last night and, as usual, was projecting imaginary rectangles on my surroundings when I had what for me was a new idea: what if I looked at everything in its everythingness without looking for hypothetical photographs I’d never make?

I was visually overwhelmed. I saw an old car with a flat tire, a crooked tree, a storm drain, a crumpled box, and much more, but instead of isolating each one as a subject to be framed, I saw a three-dimensional montage that shifted subtly with every step.

I didn’t reach any conclusions from my little experiment. It seemed like a lot of work, but was it? Or did it just seem difficult because I had to intentionally disconnect from the perceptual autopilot I’ve been on for years?

I think I’ll go back to my rectangular visual world; infinity gives me a headache.

11 July 2024


I was enjoying a lovely afternoon until a guard at the Adler Museum in San Francisco approached me.

“What are you doing with your camera?” she asked.

“Weight training,” I replied. “Lifting it up to my eye repeatedly is how I developed these biceps.”

“Didn’t you see the ‘NO PHOTOGRAPHY’ notice?”

“I did notice that; good catch! You should change it to the ‘PHOTOGRAPHY IN PROGRESS’ sign now.”

“We don’t have a ‘PHOTOGRAPHY IN PROGRESS’ sign.”

“I suppose that makes sense. It’s like Man Ray said, ‘There is no progress in art, any more than there is in making love.’ ”

She scowled.

“Don’t worry about not having a ‘PHOTOGRAPHY IN PROGRESS’ sign,” I concluded as I put the lens cap back on the Noctilux. “I’m done for the day.”

That wasn’t exactly true; I just did that to get off the slippery downhill slope of talking about art theory.

And that was that.

12 July 2024

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There’s Always a Catch

You know what the problem with computers is? Of course you do, everybody does: liquids. You should also know that I’m not talking about spilling a little wine on the keyboard; that’s just one of the occupational hazards of being an artist and a writer I take in stride.

Nope; I’m talking about urination.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been close to completing a complicated thingamajig or solving a problem in progress when I’m interrupted by a Code Orange from my bladder. Then there I am: heading to the train station toilet while my thought locomotive steams away without me.

This morning I glanced at the 11 July edition of Frontiers in Space Technology and heard the (in)famous bird foretell “nevermore.” There’s a new spacesuit under development that converts urine into potable water. No more interruptions!

I was fantasizing about spending hours at my computers without getting out of my wonderful chair when I discovered the gotcha. I’d have to wear a box the size of a dorm room refrigerator on my back. Goodbye comfy chair, hello standing desk.

I’m sorry, but won’t stand for that.

I’m not terribly disappointed. I studied the engineering drawing and realized there’s no reason the suit couldn’t have a built-in still as well as a reverse osmosis unit. I’ll wait for the next iteration; each new version will certainly be smaller. And what’s more ...

Never mind nevermore, gotta run!

13 July 2024


Okay everybody lissen up and lissen up good; the Japanese word of the day is “kodokushi.”

A lot of Japanese people are dying unnoticed. Eight million people live alone in Japan, and some sixty-eight thousand Japanese elders are expected to die in isolation without anyone aware of their solitary demise. That’s kodokushi, a lonely death.

If the vomitous stench of a decaying corpse crawling with maggots doesn’t attract attention, the cadaver can remain undiscovered for months, or even years when bills are paid automatically.

I suppose I could lament the ignominy and absence of community, or perhaps encourage people to befriend their elderly neighbors, but I won’t. The whole kodokushi riff was just an excuse to write, “the vomitous stench of a decaying corpse crawling with maggots.”

14 July 2024

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Bottomless Zebra

I spotted a bottomless zebra in McLaren Park this afternoon. I really did, although I couldn’t have since the San Francisco Zoo is ten kilometers away as the bicycle cycles, and even less as the Pelagornis sandersi flies.

The zebra was a painted zebra, (E. aestheticus), native to murals around the world. This sad specimen in the children’s playground had no bottom, but why? Was it edited so as to avoid offending anyone? Defaced? Or did the muralist use shoddy materials?

I like photographs that provide more questions than answers, and this is one of them. It may or may not be art (that’s up to you), but it’s not my art (that’s up to me). In this case, I was just a fortunate documentarian.

15 July 2024

E. Presley Picasso

Everyone wants to own a Picasso original, right?

No, wrong, but that’s of no concern to E. Presley Picasso, a young artist in Los Angeles who’s doing quite well marketing and selling his crappy paintings as, “A Picasso you can afford.” Some may pooh-pooh his work, but I think it’s great.

The olde money collectors can and do have their paintings authenticated, appraised, and locked away in climate-controlled rooms. Thanks to E. Presley Picasso, now the hoi polloi can have a Picasso signature on their walls for less than the price of a politician.

The art business is a circus full of conniving, pernicious clowns; it needs more entertaining ones like E. Presley Picasso.

16 July 2024

Luca and Me

I have no interest in genealogy in general or anything that happened before I was born in particular. I don’t understand how anyone can take pride in the purported fact that a distant relative invented the baked potato, as if some of the credit for the achievement had been passed down to them over many generations.

Having said that, I just learned that I could trace my ancestry all the way back to the Hadean Eon over four billion years ago. I know this to be true because I just read it in Popular Mechanics. (Oh yes I certainly did; look it up in your Funk & Internet.)

My distant relative was named Luca. (Surnames weren’t invented until the Archean Eon). That’s an acronym, Last Universal Common Ancestor. Yep, that means all life on this planet is related to ol’ Luca. That means that I too am related to the person who invented the baked potato, nice!

Why, I do believe that I shall celebrate by popping a spud or two in the oven for dinner tonight, then slather the steaming tubers with garlic and pesto. That was my idea, but since we’re related I suppose it’s your invention as well, sort of.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2024 David Glenn Rinehart

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