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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak LII


24 December 2023

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No. 3,859 (cartoon)

You’re just a shitgibbon numpty hellbeast.

Stop spewing obscenities.

I enunciated them quite clearly.

25 December 2023

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The Christmas Spirit!

I discovered two piles of cat feces and a hairball when I woke up; that’s the Christmas spirit!

26 December 2023

Duplicative Language

A few weeks ago, I clicked on a news story and my jaw dropped. It dropped because I was trying to insert into my mouth a big fat bratwurst smothered in butter-sautéed onions.

That’s a pretty good line, if I do I say so myself. (And I just did.) Gene Weingarten wrote those exact words before I did, but I didn’t plagiarize him. Instead, I merely used duplicative language. Ain’t no big deal.

“Duplicative language” is the new weasel words phrase for plagiarism. For example, Claudine Gay, the president of Harvard University, would never stoop to plagiarism, but scholars found “duplicative language without appropriate attribution” in Gay’s doctoral dissertation.

If that doesn’t make your jaw drop, then perhaps you too need a big fat bratwurst smothered in butter-sautéed onions.

27 December 2023

Thinking About Thinking

An erupting Icelandic volcano is drawing spectators like tourists to a flame. The police have cautioned anyone considering making the dangerous trek to the active volcano to “think four times.” And that solid advice brings up an interesting question: how often should one think?

Good carpenters measure twice and cut once; that’s accepted practice. How many times should one think about marriage before committing? Lunch? A trip to another continent? Getting out of bed?

All this conjecture hurts my head; I’m obviously thinking about these questions too many times. Oh well, at least I know how many times to think about cutting a piece of wood and getting close to an Icelandic volcano.

28 December 2023

Extremely Bad Character

The Agence France-Press story began, “The world of Chinese chess is in uproar ...” Let’s stop right there: Chinese chess?!

I played Chinese checkers when I was a boy; we all did. But Chinese chess? I never heard of it, but I just learned that xiangqi, as it’s known there, is the most popular board game in China. How can a billion and a half people keep a secret?

Well, thanks to Yan Chenglong, formerly the Xiangqi King, they can’t. (Note the use of the word “former.” That’s what my litterary friends call foreshortening.)

The Chinese Xiangqi Association withdrew the champ’s title and prize money after he won the national tournament, and also banned him from competition for a year. It seems that he disrupted public order and displayed extremely bad character when he “overdid celebrations” and “celebrations went wayward.”

To translate that polite Chinese press release into plain English, Yan defecated in the hotel bathtub. He’s also under investigation for using vibrating anal beads to cheat his way to victory.

I now understand why I never heard about Chinese chess before: the game is too defecatious for export.

29 December 2023

Devo Devolved

I was upset when the four members of the Beatles metamorphosed into separate acts. How could they do that to me when I was still in high school?! Half a century later, I’m not at all surprised that the band disbanded, but I am shocked that they stayed together that long.

Thusly and proportionately, I am shockingly shocked to learn that the members of Devo have agreed to permanently devolve the group after half a century together. Mark Mothersbaugh, one of the five members of the ensemble, had a succinct explanation.

“Imagine you had four wives and you worked together. It’s tricky being in a band.”

Or maybe it’s not. The Rolling Stones have made billions of dollars doing the same thing over and over and over again for sixty-some years; nothing tricky about cashing in.

Perhaps the longevity of any group of creative people depends on whether the goal is to make art or money.

30 December 2023

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Digital Malarkey

Mark Collard and his archaeology mates at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, noticed that lots of hands depicted in paleolithic cave art were missing a finger or two or more. They also noticed people around the world had fewer than ten digits in every epoch of human history from the olde olde times to this very day.

Well spotted, lads!

So far so good. Having noted that people everywhere are always a few digits short of a full house, Collard then bizarrely concluded, “There is compelling evidence that these [paleolithic] people may have had their fingers amputated deliberately in rituals intended to elicit help from supernatural entities.”

I know that even good minds can fester in Canada where people lose fingers to frostbite, but that sounds like the sort of conjecture and irrational rationalization that would require rapidly drinking at least one bottle of Newfoundland Screech Rum.

I’m missing a finger, and so far no supernatural entity has rewarded me for my sacrifice. Of course, it wasn’t a sacrifice at all. My cousin accidentally smashed it with a sledgehammer when were boys in an innocent, secular farm accident, and it just came off. (Actually, it didn’t come off; it was just reduced to a meaty human pulp that looks like ketchup and oatmeal with bone fragments.)

It happens all the time, just ask Collard. But whatever you do, do not ask the Yakuza.

31 December 2023

My New Year’s Resolution

“What’s your new year’s resolution for 2024?” Jacob asked.

“Nothing’s changed, so it’s the same as 2023,” I replied.

“What’s that?” he continued.

I thought that was an incredibly stupid question coming from another technically accomplished photographer. I’m using the best sensor Nikon makes, so my resolution remains the same: forty-five megapixels.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2023 David Glenn Rinehart

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