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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XIX


7 May 2014

gratuitous image

No. 2,073 (cartoon)

I’m leaving you.

You were never here.

8 May 2014

Drumming with Oatmeal and Bacon

Abbie has a secret way of tuning her drums. It’s not really a secret, though, because I know what it is: oatmeal. She prefers her instruments to make a dull thud instead of a crisp thwap when she hits them, so she puts a bowl or two of oatmeal in the bottom of every drum. It sounds simple, but it’s not.

After a while, the oatmeal in her drums starts to grow mold or mildew. Or, more accurately, it did before she added ammonia to the mix. Still, evaporation is a constant problem; she needs to water her drums daily to keep them in tune. In spite of all the maintenance, she still has to replace the oatmeal concoction every month.

She uses a different technique to mute the high frequencies of her cymbals: strips of thick, raw bacon. Her innovative approach to percussion provides a unique sonic experience, but so far she has yet to find an ensemble willing to tolerate the olfactory side effects of her aesthetic innovations.

9 May 2014

How Embarrassing

Byron and Cecelia’s tempestuous relationship has become tempestuouser and tempestuouser. Cecelia’s increasingly irrational tirades have gone from hurling insults to hurling wine glasses; she’s gone from throwing dishes to throwing punches. Very sad.

I shook my head in disbelief as Byron recounted the latest altercation. And then, I had a disturbing realization: I had a sexist response to his story. It took me a long time to reach this understanding, since the sexist aspect of the situation didn’t fit a familiar scenario. Had some man treated a female friend of mine the way Cecelia abused Byron, I would have urged her to flee, call the police, take out a restraining order, et cetera. But since a woman attacked Byron, I just shrugged my shoulders and wished him good luck.

This empirical evidence suggests that I don’t believe in gender equality; that’s most embarrassing. Oh well, at least I’ve never been a perfectionist.

10 May 2014

Fourteen Lenses Too Many?

I have four working cameras (not counting the dozen plus film cameras in purgatory) and fifteen lenses ranging from eight to five hundred millimeters. I think I’ve only used the latter lens once in the last quarter century when I needed to photograph a Mexican fruit bat sleepng under the Internet Archive’s great dome. That’s the point of having virtually every possible lens: I have all the tools I could possibly need.

I use a “normal” zoom lens for ninety-some percent of my work. Nevertheless, I always seem to have the wrong lens on my camera when it’s time to make a photograph. I remembered that paradox when I saw Kyle taking photographs.

Kyle has one camera and a fifty-millimeter lens. That’s it. He never has to think about what lens to use; he never wastes time considering optical options.

I’m envious.

11 May 2014

Constipated Administraitors

Today’s edition of the San Francisco Comical features an article about how administraitors at Stanford University are funding “an enormous push to advance the arts.”

Constipation is the first thing that comes to mind; that may or may not be appropriate. And then there’s Man Ray’s relevant observation, “There is no progress in art, any more than there is in making love.”

12 May 2014

How to Spot Crooks and Racists

“I’m not a racist,” Donald Sterling née Tokowitz protested.

Only a racist would say that, and cringeworthy evidence suggests that Sterling certainly is one. Recently, a recording surfaced of the eighty-year-old bigot ordering his mistress (who, as a gossipy aside, is half a century younger) not to be photographed with black people or bring them to watch the basketball team he owns.

“It’s a terrible mistake, and I’ll never do it again,” he said before going on to make more racist comments about black people having too much sex, contracting sexually transmitted diseases, not wanting to help anyone, et cetera.

He continued to use the “putting out fires with petrol” approach to public relations by falling back on the great American excuse: it wasn’t his fault. “When I listen to that tape, I don’t even know how I can say words like that. ... I don’t know why the girl had me say those things.”

Everyone knew Richard Nixon was a crook when he said, “I am not a crook.” Anyone who’s not a racist needn’t announce it; just ask Donald Sterling.

13 May 2014

Dog Attacks Toddler, Cat Kills Cur

Last month I lamented the lack of good news stories. That’s why I was delighted to read about Jeremy Triantafilo and Tara. The four-year-old was riding his bicycle in his driveway when a vicious dog stalked and attacked him. The monster sunk his fangs into the kid’s leg and dragged him off his bike. Before the fiend could finish the job by chewing through the boy’s jugular vein, Tara the cat sprang into action to protect her human.

The murderous canine never saw what hit it: four flying kilograms of feline fury packing twenty razor-sharp claws of doom. The video I watched shows Tara flying through the air and knocking the befuddled beast to the ground. There’s no audio for the confrontation, but the kitty’s lighting attack had to have been accompanied by a bloodcurdling shriek that would terrorize the hounds of hell.

Et voilà! The hunter became the prey, and Tara chased the frightened bully away.

The dog escaped the cat, but not its fate. Since the savage has developed a taste for human flesh and blood, it must die. I think the quickest and most humane way of dispatching the brute would be to leave it in the same room with Tara for a couple of minutes.

Good kitty!

14 May 2014

I Think I’ll Take a Nap

It’s almost thirty-five degrees outside, and I’m suffering in the record-breaking heat wave. It’s too dang hot to think for myself, so I’ll be lazy and recycle what others have said, starting with Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno.

Zappa was important to me because I realized I didn’t have to make music like he did. I might have made a lot of music like he did if he had not done it first and made me realize that I did not want to go there. I did not like his music but I am grateful that he did it. Sometimes you learn as much from the things you don’t like as from the things you do like. The rejection side is as important as the endorsement part. You define who you are and where you are by the things that you know you are not. Sometimes that’s all the information you have to go on. I’m not that kind of person. You don’t quite know where you are but you find yourself in the space left behind by the things you’ve rejected.

I think that’s an erudite and/or long-winded way of restating Michelangelo’s explanation of how simple sculpture is. “It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”

It’s now time to come up with an idea of my own. I think I’ll take a nap, therefore I am asleep.


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©2014 David Glenn Rinehart

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