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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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3 September 2017

gratuitous image

No. 6,233 (cartoon)

How old are you?

I’m approaching fifty.

From what direction?

4 September 2017

The Eclipse

Donald Trump (I’ll never be able to say “President Trump” with a straight face) stared directly into the sun during the recent solar eclipse. No one can tell if he was unscathed by the experience since he’s always been quite scathed.

Other people suffered severe eye damage during the event. I’m talking about the imbeciles who slathered sunscreen on their eyeballs before staring into the sun. I recognized one of those morons this morning; he was stumbling around with tanned scleras.

“Nasty eclipse, eh?” I asked.

“You betcha,” he replied. “I put suntan oil on my eyes but it turned out to be worthless. The next eclipse I’m putting it on my sunglasses.”

It’s like Martin Mull said, “None is so blind as he who cannot see.”

5 September 2017

Terminal Elbows

I wonder where the phrase, “heart-warming story,” comes from? I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’, but I suspect warming my heart significantly would kill me. But who cares, everything is fatal, eventually.

I read a heartwarming—maybe it just heated the cockles?—story about a dying photographer who got his wish to visit Singapore’s first Leica store when it recently opened. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is killing Alan Lee; he’s spending his last days documenting the end of his life in Assisi Hospice.

At first, I thought that was a brilliant idea. If I don’t have the quick death I’d prefer, consciously making my final body of work would be a great final chapter of my life as an alleged artist. And then I thought of Joey Ramone and Warren Zevon.

Both musicians were suffering from terminal diseases when they recorded what they knew would be their final album. Ramone and Zevon covered “What A Wonderful World” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” respectively. I’m sure they sounded like great farewell tunes at the time, but now seem rather schmaltzy and dramatic to me.

If my life ends in a hospice, I’ll photograph my caregiver’s elbows. I’ve always wanted to photograph elbows, and probably won’t get around to it until then.

6 September 2017

Deep Cahoots

Salvador Dali’s daughter isn’t. She isn’t his daughter, that is.

For the last decade, Pilar Abel, a sixty-one-year-old fortuneteller and tarot card reader from Girona, Spain, has waged a tireless campaign to be recognized as the entertainer’s offspring. She wanted Dali’s paternity to be acknowledged and, not incidentally, a few kajillion dollars from his estate.

Representatives of the the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation who feed off the huckster’s exquisite corpse claimed to be relieved at the verdict from the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences.

“The foundation is pleased that this report puts an end to an absurd and artificial controversy, and ... is also pleased to be able to focus again on the management of its extraordinary artistic legacy and in the promotion of the work and figure of Salvador Dali.”

They ain’t foolin’ nobody. The foundation’s fight with Abel gave the dead performer more press than he received since he popped his clogs in 1989. I’m sure they were in deep cahoots. Dali will now return to languishing in the purgatory of art history until someone discovers yet another truckload of forgeries.

7 September 2017

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Real and Idealized Golden Gate Park Trees

There’s a miserable plant that’s half tree and half shrubbery growing next to the entrance to an underpass beneath the six-lane highway that bisects Golden Gate Park. This grim site is visually discordant with the bucolic image the urban park’s gardeners try to present.

The solution: Sans Frisco city workers mounted a sign featuring an idealized, stylized depiction of a California forestscape. I prefer the overgrown weed against the dreary concrete over the tired visual cliché, so I’m glad visitors have both options.

8 September 2017

Bengal and Georgia Tigers

A Bengal tiger recently escaped from its transport truck and its miserable life as a circus performer. The execution was perfect, but the timing was off and it ended up wandering through an Atlanta suburb. Police shot and killed the cat just as it was about to turn Brittney Speck’s dachshund into a snack.

The pussy’s provenance was initially unknown, but Gerri Yoder, director of Henry County Animal Care and Control, had an expert insight: “Tigers are not an indigenous species to Georgia.”

I’m not a biologist, but even I know that. Bengal tigers are indigenous to Bengal and Georgia tigers are indigenous to Georgia; they are completely different species. A Georgia tiger would have been smart enough to steer clear of Atlanta.

Poor kitty. Still, I think I might prefer being dead to being in Georgia and/or an imprisoned circus prisoner.

9 September 2017

There Is a Group of People with Dreams ...

Freedom of speech is threatened or nonexistent around the world. It’s always been that way, and always will be. In the United States, the constitutional amendment protecting free speech has been under attack ever since it was ratified in 1791. And in China, the situation is desperate as usual.

In addition to the authoritarian repression of political speech, Chinese autocrats have also put a limit on the length of corporate names. Their latest move was in response to a condom maker with a twenty-seven word name, There Is a Group of People with Dreams, Who Believe They Can Make the Wonders of Life Under the Leadership of Uncle Niu Internet Technology Company Limited.

I’m baffled by Chinese culture in general and this ruling in particular. How could they print that many words on a condom? And who would ever read it?


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart

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