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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak I


1 January 2018

No. 5,651 (cartoon)

I can’t believe I’m such a failure.

What’s not to believe?

2 January 2018

Pajama Theory and Practice

I was enjoying coffee with Molly this morning when a woman walked into the café wearing pajamas and a jacket.

“What a ridiculous outfit!” she sniped.

“Don’t start the year by being a flibbertigibbet,” I replied. “It looks pretty comfortable to me.”

“It’s just stupid,” she protested.

“If it’s stupid and it works then it’s not stupid,” I concluded.

She harumphed a mighty harumph, and that was that. 2018 is a new year but Molly remains adorably and consistently cranky.

3 January 2018

Layman’s Lesson

Lindy Lou Layman may as well have had “I HEART METHAMPHETAMINE” tattooed on her face. Or she already probably has if one knows how to read the telltale scabs on a twenty-nine-year-old woman’s face.

Tony Buzbee, a Houston attorney, was apparently medically illiterate when he took her home on their first visit in December. There, Layman appeared to be channeling the Tasmanian Devil when she “tore paintings off the wall with her hands” then poured wine on the Warhol canvases, threw other artwork thither and yon, and generally wreaked havoc consistent with methamphetamine abuse.

Buzbee has more money than brains; what other explanation is there for his quarter million dollar donation to Trump’s presidential campaign? On the bright side, I think he got a valuable and unforgettable lesson about how to read faces and scabs.

I’d love to see the red wine Warhol paintings with a good story on how they got that way; that’s close enough to a happy ending to a cautionary tale for me.

4 January 2018

Cover You Head!

A violent earthquake woke me up near the middle of the night. (I’m not really sure when the middle of the night is since my nights don’t have a clearly defined beginning and end. And aren’t the hours after midnight technically morning?)

The damage was immediate and obvious; a plastic carton fell off my tower of precariously stacked empty food containers.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin had some sage advice on how to deal with such a natural disaster. “In the event of an earthquake while sleeping, stay in bed, cover you [sic] head ...”

That’s exactly what I’ll do when the predictable aftershocks hit. Knowing how these things work, I bet the next tumbler will strike during my mid-afternoon nap, if there is such a thing as mid-afternoon.

5 January 2018

Two Misses

I find labels worse than useless, but, if I had to cram myself into an aesthetic pigeonhole, I’d call myself a conceptual artist.

The problem with that is that I’m not a true conceptual artist. If I was, I’d create the concept, then never manifest it physically and/or document it and/or tell anyone about it.

I used to think coming up with an idea and documenting it—if only in my notebook—was sufficient. Later I came to agree with Donald Judd, who observed, “You can think about it forever in all sorts of versions, but it’s nothing until it’s made visible.”

I was reminded of that today when I made a couple of different photographic versions of an idea and didn’t like either one. On a positive note, I see what I need to do to create the right fabrication so it’s back to work.

6 January 2018

The Libman All-Purpose Bucket

For over one hundred and twenty years, the Libman family has made quality their utmost priority. We make the finest brooms, brushes, mops, and cleaning tools. (I didn’t write that; some public relations flack paid by the Libman Company did.)

I’ve been thinking about all things Libman ever since I spotted a Libman All-Purpose Bucket in Polly’s bathroom after lunch. I’ve never owned a bucket or even shopped for one, so I was fascinated by the concept of specialized buckets. The existence of an all-purpose bucket suggests that there are single-purpose buckets. I haven’t been on a farm in decades, but it’s not hard to imagine one type of bucket for water, another for feed and grain, one for slaughterhouse entrails, and a fourth for soaking potatoes and/or feet.

Compare those to the Libman All-Purpose Bucket: “Convenient dual-pour spouts to easily remove water. Comfortable ergonomic handle. Fits all standard sponge and wet mops. Also carries household tools like sponges and rags.”

Wow, that almost makes me want to buy my first bucket. But only almost.

7 January 2018

Sixty-One Down

Catherine of Aragon died four hundred and eighty-three years ago today. Nikola Tesla of New York died seventy-five years ago today. It’s early afternoon on my birthday, and I haven’t died. Yet.

I am no longer sixty-one, and thus no longer in my prime, or, more accurately, no longer in a prime number of years, chronologically speaking. I will be in my prime again in half a decade, but until then I’ll be visible, mostly, and not indivisible until 2023.

(That’s the first time I’ve typed that number; I look forward to doing so many more times in the future.)

8 January 2018

The Inevitable Embarrassing Lifestyle Choice

I stopped writing book reviews a long time ago, so this ain’t one. Instead, I’m just going to cite a couple of lines Laurie Kilmartin wrote in Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed.

Sex is one of our major cultural food groups, but death? Death, we treat like it’s some embarrassing lifestyle choice.

That’s better than anything I’ve come up with this year. Perhaps it is possible to die from embarrassment after all.


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©2018 David Glenn Rinehart