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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXI


21 May 2011

gratuitous image

No. 4,738 (cartoon)

This space intentionally left blank.

For official use only.

22 May 2011

Probable and Improbable Predictions

Harold Camping, a psuedo-religious charlatan, has been warning his ignorant followers that the world would end yesterday and promising that true believers would be sucked into paradise by a heavenly vacuum cleaner. A lot of the idiots believed him, and got rid of all their money and other worldly possessions.

Camping is a mountebank, but he’s not stupid, so he kept his multi-million-dollar religious propaganda empire intact. That was a savvy move, since he needed it to announce why we’re all still here today.

The flimflammer explained that his prediction suffered from a small math error, so the apocalypse will occur on 21 October, six months later than he originally predicted.

I wonder how many more people will believe the crafty codger and donate their money to help publicize Armageddon? Lots, I predict. Stupidity is a growth industry.

My prediction is that Camping and his cronies will have a lot more money in the bank in six months than they do today. I’m betting on me; I always do.

23 May 2011

Fill as Desired

Amy, along with the vocal ensemble Solstice, gave a great performance of her Fill as Desired song cycle yesterday. I liked the music as well as the venue: Amy’s basement cum recording studio cum very intimate recital hall.

I claim that I don’t believe in a hierarchy of artists, but I’m being most economical with the truth, i.e., lying, when I say that. I actually suppose that I’m better than the vast majority of artists. I say that not because I’m so good, but because they’re so bad.

The many other artists who are much better than me fall into two categories. The first group includes the rank I’d be in if I was less indolent and worked more assiduously. I’m not going to give up my slothful pursuits to join them; that’s too much to pay for an irrelevant promotion.

And then there are people like Amy. Even if I worked without interruption eighteen hours a day, I’d never be as good as she is. That’s fine with me; I find my life and my work more than adequately rewarding as it is. I’m only competing against what I did yesterday, figuratively speaking, and not Amy or anyone else. I agree with Bela Bartok’s observation, “Competitions are for horses, not artists.”

24 May 2011

On Getting Old

Franz has been a friend of mine for almost forty years. I think he likes me because I never ruined his daughter’s life by marrying her. Franz is almost ninety, and has outlived almost all of his friends and family. At least he’s fortunate that he still enjoys the company of his wonderful wife Eva.

I don’t want to outlive most of the people I love, so I’m not particularly worried about the extra slice of pizza I had for dinner, or whether the next bike ride will be the one where I get hit by a drunk driver.

“I loved downhill skiing and sailing,” Franz recently wrote. “Now I can only dream of it.”

I’m not worried about being unable to enjoy my favorite pursuits, either. Skiing and sailing are physically demanding, but talking, eating, drinking, writing, and making the odd art piece using a computer are not. When I’m unable to do those things, I figure I’ll be dead regardless of whether my heart is still beating.

25 May 2011

A Modest Photographic Epiphany

I had an insight today. An epiphany, if you will, or even if you won’t. The problem with photography is that everything is visually interesting; it’s hard to make a bad photograph. That’s the amazing thing about photography: so many people make so many bad photographs when it’s actually rather difficult to do so.

I blame the sad phenomenon on bad education. Small children, in their innocence, almost always make good photographs. Photographs that are supposed to look like good photographs aren’t, and I blame the dilettantes as well as the educators who encourage them. As my learned fried Al Weber noted over a decade ago, “According to a recent estimate, there are some 200,000 unqualified teachers in the United States. I think most of them teach photography.”

26 May 2011

Milton’s Gone

I was saddened to learn that Milton died today.

I can’t say that Milton was a close friend; I don’t even know his surname. Also, I haven’t been in contact for some fifteen years or so, even though it would have been easy to sent him a note through a mutual friend.

Nevertheless, I remember him fondly from my Edinburgh days. I figured I’d meet with him again; the planet’s not that big. I figured wrong, since I failed to remember that there’s a last time in one’s like for everything. And so, my last time for talking with Milton was in the last millennium.

I wonder who else I’ll never see again?

27 May 2011

Not Warhol

Dr. Wahlberg’s in Paris, and asked if I had any advice on what to do there. I did, of course. (Everyone always has advice about everything; it can’t be helped.)

“Make Louvre, not Warhol,” I suggested.

“I thought you liked Warhol,” Dr. Wahlberg replied.

“I do,” I confirmed. “If you were in New York I’d have suggested the opposite.”

I went on to advise him to ignore my advice. Dr. Wahlberg’s a perceptive hombre, and Paris isn’t hard to figure out. Just as New York is a theme park on the theme of New York, Paris is a theme park on the theme of Paris.

Awe reservoir!


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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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