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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXXIX

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24 September 2011

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No. 1,569 (cartoon)

You said you’d never leave me.

I’m not leaving; I’m fleeing.

25 September 2011

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Whalewatching

Stewart wanted to go whalewatching yesterday, so we did. We enjoyed classic regional weather: dense fog, intermittent drizzle, and choppy seas. We survived for over eight hours on nothing but sandwiches, carrots, and beer. I suppose it was like being on the Mayflower, except that we had a naturalist to provide a running description of what we weren’t seeing. He began many of his observations with, “You can’t see it now because of the mist, but over there ...”

Stewart failed to appreciate the wide variety of moisture we encountered during our hundred-kilometer cruise; he wanted to return to port with a trophy photograph of some majestic, krill-breathed leviathan. Since he provided the beer, I thought it was only fair that I provide him with his prize.

When it comes to photography, there’s a big difference between a hobbyist and an accomplished artisan. The former returns from a foggy trip with excuses, the latter returns with a photograph of a goddamned whale. And so, I borrowed the naturalist’s plastic humpback and posed it against the grey horizon.

After adding some unconvincing photoshoppery, Stewart had his cliché.

26 September 2011

King Didn’t Say It

Veronica and Brandon enjoy (?) a mercurial relationship. The latest dramatic installment involved Veronica calling Brandon, “a lazy, no-good bum.”

“That’s not very imaginative,” I said. “How did you respond?”

“I didn’t,” he replied.

“Good response,” I commented. “As a great man once said, ‘It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.’ ”

“Who said that?” Brandon asked. “Martin Luther King?”

I evaded the question for as long as I could before admitting that I was quoting W.C. Fields.

“I’m going to tell Veronica that King said it,” he responded.

I didn’t question the wisdom of responding to an insult with a lie. I suppose that’s as good of a strategy for keeping their relationship volatile and dynamic as any.

27 September 2011

Elbow Licking

Not only do I appreciate obscure, useless knowledge, I enjoy sharing it with my friends.

“It’s impossible to lick your elbow,” I told Anita during a lull in the conversation.

“Not necessarily,” she replied. “You can lick mine if you really want to.”

“I didn’t mean it that way at all,” I responded.

“You need to relax,” she advised. “You’re not the first guy with an elbow fetish.”

Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear.

28 September 2011

Another New Camera

It's funny; film cameras haven't improved much in ten or fifty years (depending on how you look at it), but digital cameras keep getting better. And so, I just bought a new Nikon, mostly because of the quality of the sensor. I miss the mechanical quality of my perfectly machined old Leicas and Hasselblads, but this small box of Japanese plastic is definitely superior to its predecessor.

It’s also light enough to live in my backpack. I’m considering giving myself a quota of making a good photograph every week. Between chance and probability, that approach might even result in some very good photographs, but that’s not the point. Even though these daily entries are nominally part of an artist’s notebook of sorts, there’s too much filler and not enough purported art here.

I tried making a weekly snaportrait a dozen years ago, but I wasn’t happy with the results. Looking back at them now, some were better than I remembered them. I wonder what I’ll get from my new experiment? I won’t know until I find out which of the dozens and dozens of buttons, dials, and levers control the shutter speed and aperture.

29 September 2011

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The Freewheelin’ Plagiarist

Bob Dylan, née Robert Zimmerman, created some interesting work when he was young. But that was a long, long time ago. When he “wrote” Chronicles: Volume One, the 2004 memoir featured lines lifted verbatim from Robert Greene, Jack London, and Archibald MacLeish among others.

Many of the lyrics on his 2004 and 2006 albums came—without attribution—from the American Civil War poems of Henry Timrod and from Junichi Saga’s Confessions of a Yakuza, respectively but certainly not respectfully.

Not content to rest on someone else’s laurels, Dylan mounted an exhibition of paintings allegedly based on his travels in Asia, “firsthand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture, and landscape.” In fact, the paintings are hackneyed, pedestrian copies of old photographs by Léon Busy, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Dmitri Kessel (above) for starters. The photographers have at least two things in common: they actually saw something in Asia, and they’re dead, thus avoiding a lawsuit for the creatively bankrupt Dylan.

Dylan is neither defensive nor embarrassed. Protected by an army of sycophants, he’s completely shameless.

30 September 2011

Franz Michael Kraler

Franz died today after quite a life. As a boy in Tyrol, the Nazis conscripted him to fight. He was smarter than that, and cleverly sped east in order to be captured by the Americans instead of the Soviets. He moved to the United States with his sweetheart Eva, where they enjoyed a wonderful, prosperous life. Franz achieved many things, but one towers above everything else: he spent virtually al of his adult life with the woman he adored.

Stare.

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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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