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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XVI


16 April 2011

gratuitous image

No. 6,079 (cartoon)

I have it all.

You have it all wrong.

17 April 2011

Ignoring Aaron Siskind

Victor told me about the Aaron Siskind Foundation’s Individual Photographer’s Fellowship; anyone can apply for a ten-thousand dollar grant.

We’d enjoyed some befuddlement that afternoon, so I couldn’t figure out whether his simple, declarative statement had a subliminal message. Did he tell me about the prize because he was so confident about the quality of his work that he wasn’t concerned about competition? Or did he mention the prize to me because he didn’t regard my work as likely to be more highly regarded than his? And then there’s the obvious explanation: Victor’s a nice guy.

I didn’t ponder this question for long. The vapours of befuddlement ascended on us once again, and discussing areas of mutual aesthetic interest were far more interesting than the U.S. dollar, or even ten-thousand of them.

18 April 2011

The Four-Million Pound Fish That Wasn’t

I’m enjoying getting older. I’ve yet to experience any of what my learned friend Doctor Lux describes as, “physical decrapitude.” More importantly, I can spot a stinker seven clicks away.

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have it.”

I’m quoting Ernest Hemingway with some hesitation. I have to question the judgment of a man who used a shotgun to clear his sinuses. Still, the late author has a point.

The crimson lights on my shit detector went off recently when I read this headline: “Fish Worth £4m Seized in Crackdown.”

A fish worth four million pounds sterling? Nope, nope, nope, and nope again. That’s at least a couple of orders of magnitude—adjusted for inflation—than a coelacanth would have fetched in 1937. Even the most expensive tuna in history was bought for less than thirty-three million yen earlier this year.

I shall conclude by saying I’m not at all bothered by the blatant factual inaccuracies. Everyone loves a good fish story!

19 April 2011

Cherry-flavored Bad Idea

“If you’re having a champagne breakfast but don’t fancy champagne, have a beer instead.”

I suppose that’s good advice, albeit rather self-serving. The breakfast beer suggestion comes from Josh Scott of the Moa Brewing Company. His brewery in Blenheim, New Zealand, is selling cherry-flavored wheat lager as a breakfast drink.

There’s nothing wrong with beer for breakfast, as long as one remembers that it’s so much more than a morning beverage. But what an execrable effectuation! Cherry-flavored anything is a bad idea, unless it’s a cherry.

20 April 2011

Paradigmatic versus Syntagmatic

Sarah asked me if I knew the difference between “paradigmatic” and “syntagmatic.”

I recognized that for the trick question it was.

“There is no difference,” I explained. “They’re both big words so obscure that they’re useless.”

Sarah couldn’t come up with a rejoinder to my sophistry, and changed the subject to a more convivial topic.

21 April 2011

Unfit for a Fact-based World

Greg Mortenson is in big trouble. Researchers have documented that the author lied, fibbed, dissembled, and mislead readers of his alleged memoirs. That, and he appeared to have committed many flavors of fraud if not outright theft in his purported charitable work.

It’s an old story. Ostensible paragons of virtue are forever getting caught misappropriating donated funds. Piles of unmonitored cash almost always lead to shenanigans, so no surprise there.

What I can’t understand is why anyone would try and pass off fiction as fact, when fiction is a completely respected and profitable medium. I like to fabricate stories, but I don’t think anyone would confuse my fiction as fact, even though I often do.

I can’t imagine why anyone would try to feign reality, since the imagination is much more interesting and unfettered by small-minded people who insist on living in a fact-based world.

22 April 2011

The French Way

The French riot police are infamous for their free-wheeling clubbing that’s the envy of Newfoundland’s harp seal “hunters.” But now, the infamous Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité is facing some sobering changes. Specifically, the French constabulary is now forbidden from drinking wine with lunch.

Sacré bleu!

Since I try to stay as far away form the dark side of France the CRS represents, I’m not sure what to make of this news. I suppose it all depends on what kind of drunks the French police are. If they’re mean, nasty boozers, then the new temperance is obviously a positive development. Conversely, if alcohol turns the über-gendarmes into sloppy, lovable louts, then tipsy cops could be just the thing to promote liberté, égalité, and fraternité.

Knowing the French, I’m sure this new development will be a step in the wrong direction; that’s the French way.

23 April 2011

A Century of Add

I went to Add’s hundredth birthday party this afternoon. And what a party! She laid out cases of wine and acres of food, yummy nums! I’ve never wanted to live that long, but after seeing how well Add looked sipping on a glass of bourbon, I may have to reconsider. If I can still drink whisky and make art after ten decades, then I may have to think about taking better care of myself.

Maybe tomorrow.


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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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