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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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18 June 2016

gratuitous image

No. 8,757 (cartoon)

I’m abhorrent.

And self-aware!

19 June 2016

The Happiness on Her Jacket

Miscreants robbed my home almost forty years ago. They didn’t touch my cameras; they stole my beer and television. I wish I could find them today; I’d break their fingers and thank them for freeing me from the electronic yoke of television. I haven’t owned one since.

Sid wasn’t as fortunate, and told me about some stupid program he recently saw. It involved “reality television,” a brilliant idea studio executives came up with to avoid paying writers as well as lowering quality a few more notches. The episode that steamed Sid’s dumplings featured Chi Tahani, a twelve-year-old dancer.

Paula Abdul, a judge on the show, failed to heed W.C. Fields’ advice, “Never work with children or animals.” When Abdul hugged Tahani, the adorable little girl vomited all over her.

“All the happiness came out on her jacket,” the charming wee tyke explained.

Adorable indeed!

20 June 2016

Nine Eighths of a Pizza

Gerrit has an amazing ability. I’m reticent to say this about someone who shares the planet with seven billion other people, but it may be a unique skill: he can cut a pizza into nine slices, with each piece equal in weight, volume, and surface area to one-eighth of a pie.

I know that is physically impossible; that’s what makes his prowess so impressive. You can’t argue with a pizza. Well, I suppose you can, but the pizza won’t listen.

21 June 2016

The Right Occasion

I discombobulated Alicia by confirming that the “pretty darn good” bottle of wine she gave me in appreciation of a favor was, in fact, pretty darn good.

“I thought you said that you were going to save it for the right occasion,” she replied.

“I did, and I did,” I confirmed.

“I just gave that to you this morning and it’s late afternoon, so what was the occasion?” she asked.

“I was powerful thirsty at lunch,” I explained.

And that settled that very tastily.

22 June 2016

gratuitous image

More Trees

I looked at a batch of recent photographs and there they were: more trees against a wall. Dang; I just can’t resist taking pretty pictures of trees. As I’ve noted before, Alfred Barr’s question remains unanswered, if not unanswerable: “Why do all photographers have to photograph bushes?”

When life gives me lemons, I add a citrus twist to my martini. And so, I created a purgatory file to bury my shrubbery photographs in one scenic hole.

23 June 2016

Another Good Book I’ll Never Read

I’ll almost certainly never read Tom Vanderbilt’s new book, You May Also Like. That’s not because I think it’s worthless; I’m sure it’s a fine publication. I know this because the review I read contained some great insights, like this one by Frank Chimero.

Let me let you in on a little secret. If you are hearing about something old, it is almost certainly good. Why? Because nobody wants to talk about shitty old stuff, but lots of people still talk about shitty new stuff, because they are still trying to figure out if it is shitty or not. The past wasn’t better, we just forgot about all the shitty shit.

And then there’s Timothy Wilson’s observation that we repeatedly imagine that the present is a “watershed moment at which they have finally become the person they will be for the rest of their lives.”

And so on. I’m sure I’d get a more nuanced appreciation of Vanderbilt’s perspicacity if I read his book, but I doubt I will. A few tasty morsels of wisdom from the reviews plus whatever I glean when he’s interviewed should be more than enough for me.

24 June 2016

A Mangled Apricot Hellbeast

It’s becoming increasingly difficult not to write about the five-hundred kilo, orange-haired buffoon in the room, so I won’t. At least not today. Instead, I’ll write about the richness of the English language.

Scots reacted derisively after the American embarrassment congratulated them on their decision to “take their country back” by leaving the European Union. He was, as usual, lying. The vast majority of them had voted to remain in Europe rather than be exiled to a grim little island in the cold, grey Atlantic among hordes of xenophobic English people.

I’ve always complained that English isn’t a very good language for cursing, but the Scots proved me wrong when they called Drumpf, “a clueless numpty,” “a tiny-fingered bloviating fleshbag,” “a Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon,” and, obviously, “a mangled apricot hellbeast.”

25 June 2016

Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham died today. He was a well-known photographer; there’s no other possibility when your work appears weekly in The New York Times for almost four decades. He tirelessly and passionately documented what New Yorkers were wearing on the streets of Manhattan, providing an unparalleled visual history of the city’s fashion zeitgeist over the years.

I love his work, although I’ve never seen a Bill Cunningham photograph that I’d describe as exceptionally good let alone great. But that wasn’t the point. Cunningham didn’t play the art world game of producing a series of masterpieces, each better than the one proceeded it. He only made one piece: his entire body of work.

My perception of Cunningham is skewed by my admiration for the way he lived his life: extraordinarily simply, even by my pseudo-Bohemian ideals.

“Money’s the cheapest thing,” he declared. “Liberty and freedom are the most expensive.”

Bill Cunningham was a free man when he died. There may be more to life than that, but I can’t imagine what that might be.


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©2016 David Glenn Rinehart

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