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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XLI

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9 October 2014

gratuitous image

No. 6,889 (cartoon)

I hate nature.

That’s natural.

10 October 2014

Spreadable Beer

Paul Westerberg’s lovely composition, Beer For Breakfast, perpetuates the common misconception that the adult beverage is primarily a breakfast drink. And now, some Italians who should know better are trying to capitalize on that; they’re selling spreadable beer.

Birra Spalmabile is ridiculously expensive: one hundred and eighty dollars a kilogram. That’s enough for over sixty-five liters of Rainier Ale! Of course, one can’t spread Rainier Ale on toast, but that’s still a lot to pay for what is essentially a novelty item. And so, I shall continue to dip my toast in Rainier Ale and leave the exotic silliness to the Italians.

11 October 2014

No Debate

Herbert told me that he’s in love with a woman named Wilma, adding, “I’ve never fallen in love like this before.”

“You say that every time,” I noted.

“If I didn’t,” he replied, “then it wouldn’t be falling in love, would it?”

Who can debate an infatuated man? Not me, that’s who.

12 October 2014

The Secret of Masochistic Fulfillment

Vivian has a strategy for landing a job that’s so successful that she’s always employed. I don’t know why anyone would spend most of her or his daylight hours as a wage slave; I’ve been too polite to ask if she’s a masochist.

For anyone interested in wage bondage, here’s Vivian’s secret that is now no longer a secret. When she sends a résumé that no one will ever read, she does so with a one-sentence cover letter, which I shall cite in its entirety.

If you’re looking for someone like me, I’d be perfect!

Poor Vivian; she’s too busy making money for someone else’s business to enjoy the fruits of sloth and indolence that I savor.

13 October 2014

Pop’s Curious Parenting Advice

Iggy Pop, née James Newell Osterberg, Jr., gave a speech today. An address, a lecture, really, not to confused with breathless patter between songs during a musical performance. He didn’t shy away from addressing the age-old question of money and the arts.

“When it comes to art, money is an unimportant detail. It just happens to be a huge unimportant detail.”

He also urged the distinguished members of his audience to, “stay away from drugs.” I’m guessing Mr. Pop ignored his own advice as he’s been wont to do, for he then provided some most curious parenting advice.

“If you’ve got a kid and you can trick them into playing the French horn for a year, that is a good thing.”

I wonder if there’s any possibility, any possibility at all, that playing the French horn as a teenager had something to do with my charmed life? I get unnerved when Iggy Pop starts makings sense.

14 October 2014

Ferenc Berko

Ferenc Berko was born in 1916 in Nagyvárad, Hungary, moved to Aspen, Colorado when he was thirty-four, and never left. Well, I suppose he did leave when he died in 2000, but that’s a different discussion.

He was an accomplished young photographer; his early work compares favorably with contemporaries such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and André Kertész. So why has almost no one except the cognoscenti heard of such a fine photographer? The answer, in a word, is Aspen. Had he lived in a major city where the leading photographic galleries and publications are based, he’d probably be enshrined in the photographic pantheon. Instead, he lived a wonderful life in the Rocky Mountains in relative obscurity.

I met him around a decade before he died. He impressed me as a satisfied person who enjoyed a wonderful life. At the same time, though, he lamented that his work had not received the recognition it deserved. He wasn’t bitter or resentful; he just realized that his decision to live in the middle of nowhere—or at least not too far from there—had made him all but invisible to curators, collectors, publishers, and the other de facto art historians.

He accepted my invitation to visit me in San Francisco. We spent a few days together designing a book featuring his remarkable photography. A few years later I saw a handsome volume of his work; I have no idea if it had anything to do with what we designed. I lost touch with him after our collaboration. I only noticed today that he died almost a decade and a half ago; that’s how close we were.

I wonder what would have happened if he’s settled in New York or Paris? My guess is that he would have enjoyed greater fame at the cost of the rich life he enjoyed with his family and community in the mountains.

Stare.

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©2014 David Glenn Rinehart

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