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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak I


1 January 2024

No. 838 (cartoon)

Isn’t it too early to start drinking?

Am I not awake?

Don’t get all Cartesian on me.

2 January 2024


Polly has the disturbing ability to worry about the most improbable problems, and today it’s the omphalolith (or omphalokeratolith, omphalith, or umbolith; take your pick). That’s the hard, nasty little pebble that forms when dirt, sebum, hair, et cetera accumulate in your umbilicus.

In lay terms, it’s a navel stone, a smelly and unpleasant rocky growth in the belly button.

As far as I can figure, you’d have to go without bathing for so long that a navel stone would be the least of your problems. That hasn’t stopped Polly from fretting about such an ailment; she feels she’s susceptible to every known medical malady except hypochondria.

Polly is infatuated with herself, so navel-gazing should come naturally.

3 January 2024

Mediocre Redwood

I was out with my camera and a tripod working on a project when I spotted a redwood tree. I wasn’t being extraordinarily perceptive, the massive column was by far the largest object around.

I used my sharpest lens to photograph the trunk, and the results were predictably incredible. I liked the blur of a utility box in the upper right-hand corner indicating that the tree was in an urban environment. Nice touch!

After a couple more sips of wine, I took a long, thoughtful look at what I’d done and fully appreciated what I had just created: another crappy photograph.

It didn’t take long to realize where I went wrong. It’s rare for me to take the lens cap off before I’m ready to make the photograph I have planned. I’m usually satisfied after making the photograph I’d envisioned. In this case, though, I was wandering around with a loaded camera and shot something on a whim.

How stupid can I be?

Here’s one example: I can be so egotistically stupid as to think that every exposure I make with my seven-thousand-dollar camera has to be a brilliant photograph because I’m the genius who pressed the shutter release.

The secret to being a good artist is the same as being a good doctor: bury your mistakes. Having published the redwood photograph here as a cautionary tale for myself, it will never be seen again.

4 January 2024

Stopping Thinking About Drinking

“My doctor suggested that I consider not drinking for the entire month of January,” Melanie reported.

“I guess we know how that worked out,” I replied.

“I thought about it and decided to stop,” she continued.

“Then why are we drinking cocktails?” I asked.

“I decided to stop thinking about stopping,” she explained.

That makes sense; Melanie never was a quitter.

5 January 2024

No More Lunar Eclipses

I noticed that the moon looked smaller that it once did, and I wasn’t hallucinating. I just learned that it’s drifting away from earth about four centimeters every year. That’s easy to visualize; that’s how fast my fingernails grow. Do the math and the conclusion is obvious: in six hundred million years or so the moon will be so far away that it will no longer cause solar eclipses.

But fear not.

Every day a planet eclipses the light of the sun and plunges us into darkness. In lay terms, it’s known as “night.” Those eclipses should still be a daily (nightly?) event in a billion years, long after the last lunar eclipse.

6 January 2024

I’m Not My Fault

Lara misspoke and said “I’m not my fault” when she meant to say, “It’s not my fault.” I thanked her for a most fortuitous slip of the tongue and told her that I was going to steal it and own it. Unfortunately, I soon learned that Don Haury beat me to it in 1995 with his book, I'm Not My Fault: The Why of Shame and Codependency.

What a shame to waste such a good title on shrink talk. I can’t complain (even though I just did); I’m my own fault for not thinking of it sooner.

7 January 2024

Thirty-Five on My Birthday

On 28 December 2022 I won thirty-four games of Monopoly in a row, and today I won thirty-five consecutive games. That personal record makes for a very happy birthday indeed.

But, on the other hand, I just ran the numbers and things ain’t adding up. How can I be this old and this young at the same time?

I’m not concerned. I run the numbers; they don’t run me.

8 January 2024

Intentionally Blank (Claremont Canyon)

I often set out to make a series of images but rarely make a second one. That’s why I’m pleased with Intentionally Blank (Claremont Canyon); it’s the third photograph in the series that I started in 2020.

This is new territory for me; how will I know when I’m done?

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2024 David Glenn Rinehart