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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXVIII

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9 July 2014

gratuitous image

No. 9,226 (cartoon)

I don’t want to live, but I don’t want to die either.

That’s fine; you’re not very good at either.

10 July 2014

True Texan Patriot’s Critique

“True Lone Star Patriot” sent me a stinging review of my May travel notes from Texas. The critic, who had the courage to remain anonymous, described my stories as, “nothing but whorey clichets and racist Yankee dribble.”

I’m guessing s/he meant “hoary clichés” and “drivel,” not “dribble.” After all, illiteracy and misspellings are common, especially in Texas. (Sorry, True Lone Star Patriot, I couldn’t resist getting your dandruff up.) No, what struck me about the note was the premise that Texans are a separate race. Perhaps that’s one thing on which True Lone Star Patriot and I can agree.

11 July 2014

Gabba Gabba Goodbye

Musical partnerships usually don’t last that long, and I think that’s generally a good thing. One of the reasons I remain fond of Derek and the Dominos is that the group produced only one release, and thus never got around to making a crappy one. And I’m impressed that Robert Plant is exploring new sonic horizons rather than making a bajillion dollars singing what he called “the wedding song” (Stairway to Heaven) all the way to the bank. And so on and so forth.

When bands reunite after disbanding, it’s even worse. I’m thinking of Erdelyi Tamas; he died today. Tamas is perhaps most widely recognized by his nom de pandemonium, Tommy Ramone. Tommy was the last living member of the original group; Ramones don’t live very long.

They most certainly were “all revved up and ready to go,” and now they’re all gone. As Kurt Vonneget so presciently observed, “So it goes.” And/or went.

12 July 2014

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For As Little As a Hamurger

I received a solicitation for burial life insurance; what a great model for a scam! When I die and the company leaves me decomposing by the side of the road instead of burying me, am I going to sue? I am not; I’m just going to rot. Perfect!

Although I didn’t investigate the dubious advertisement, it appeared to be from an anonymous foreign company. A young Asian woman looks skeptically at a five-tiered un-American-looking sandwich with the offer, Burial Life Insurance for as little as a Hamurger [sic]. I hope the charlatans find my typographical errors and misspellings as amusing as I find theirs.

13 July 2014

Not Painting Nature

Julian told me that painting nature is the easiest way for an artist to make money. That was such a stupid idea I couldn’t resist trying it, even though I have all the money I need. I thought I’d start by painting roses, because they’re popular with the hoi polloi, and because the rose garden in Golden Gate Park is just down the street from me.

I didn’t get far.

A policewoman spotted me about to engage in the creative process, confiscated my large can of spray paint, and threatened to arrest me if she caught me again. Just my luck to run into a philistine. I think black enamel roses would be a wonderful sight; I’ll suggest to Julian that he should paint some when the constabulary isn’t around.

14 July 2014

Failing to Resist Temptation

I interrupted Sandra while she was telling me a story that was even more tedious than it was long, or perhaps the other way around.

“What an interesting story!” I lied. “Just tell me how it ends; I can’t wait.”

“How should I know?” She replied. “I’m still making it up. How do you want it to end?”

I resisted the temptation to reply, “immediately.” As always, resisting temptation proved to be a bad idea.

15 July 2014

Hearing Is Disbelieving

Randall told me that he knows less than nothing about audio. I was skeptical about the idea of negative knowledge until I listened to one of his recent recordings; it sounded like coagulated phonic sludge with a faint, irregular pulse. Hearing is disbelieving.

“How can you possibly make something that abysmal?” I asked.

“I have no idea,” Randall replied with a smile, “it’s my gift.”

16 July 2014

Prediction and Attribution Difficulties

A few weeks ago, I quoted Niels Bohr’s remark, “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” That turned out to be a controversial statement, or, more accurately, a contentious attribution. Both dear friends and complete strangers wrote to suggest that the observation should be credited to—in alphabetical order—Woody Allen, Yogi Berra, Victor Borge, Vint Cerf, Confucius, Winston Churchill, Cecil B. DeMille, Freeman Dyson, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Sam Goldwyn, Robert Storm Petersen, Groucho Marx, Will Rogers, George Bernard Shaw, Casey Stengel, or Mark Twain.

When it comes to scholarly accuracy in general and all those damn footnotes in particular, my position remains unchanged and unwavering: I don’t care. Let me be the first to note that attribution is very difficult, especially about the past.

Stare.

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©2014 David Glenn Rinehart

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