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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak IX


26 February 2020

gratuitous image

No. 3,648 (cartoon)

Our love will last forever.

There’s no such thing as forever.

Our love doesn’t exist either.

27 February 2020

Man Ray and Sashimi Knives

Rhonda showed me her new Man Ray chess set when I visited her at her studio this afternoon. Ray didn’t actually make it; he hasn’t done much recently. That’s true of most artists including me, alas, but at least he has a good excuse: he died over forty years ago.

The chess set was lovely and well crafted. And that got me thinking that I’d like a nice chess set, too. The May Ray reproduction was six or seven hundred dollars; that seems reasonable. I play all my chess games over the Internet, but I imagine I’d be a much better player if my chess pieces were hand-carved mahogany, filled with lead, and resting on felt bases. How could I fail to triumph with such elegant warriors?

What an idea! At the risk of being immodest, I think that just may be the stooopidist proposition I’ve ever concocted. Whether I was playing chess with pieces made of solid platinum or dried cat feces, the game itself would be exactly the same.

Maybe I was imagining that playing with a Man Ray chess set would give me supernatural powers to see the battlefield through the eyes of his friend and chess opponent, Marcel Duchamp. And on that same hallucinatory note, perhaps Eve Babitz’s granddaughter might appear out of thin air and use Eve’s brilliant strategy for distracting her adversary.

Meanwhile, back on my favorite planet, I know I shall continue to play chess without even aspiring to mediocrity. One of the great things about being a pathetic chess player who rarely looks more than a move ahead is that I’m always amazed by each and every simple trap into which I cheerfully stumble.

I think I’ll take the money I just saved on a Man Ray chess set I would never have used and spend seven hundred dollars on a Masamoto AMSI902 Japanese Cobalt Steel Fuguhiki sashimi knife. I always wanted to make sushi!

28 February 2020

gratuitous image

Santa Fe de Sans Frisco

I’m back in San Francisco despite being in New Mexico; I shall ’splain ...

I usually refer to the second-largest city in California as Sans Frisco, a contraction of its proper, boring name. Thanks to an egregious typographical error—my favorite flavor!—I just discovered that Santa Fe isn’t the real name of the second-largest city in New Mexico, it’s [deep breath] La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís. (I don’t trust the Internet farther than I can throw it, but the übernetwork translates that as, The Royal Villa of the Holy Faith of San Francisco de Asis.)

I learned that I’m legally in Santa Fe of San Francisco after seeing a story in the news about some Anglo who put the accent mark in the wrong place in the city’s official seal, above the first “s” in Asís instead of over the “i.” (That’s so obviously wrong my computer won’t even let me put an accent over a consonant.)

I may be showing my naïveté, but one of the things I like about English is that I never have to use diacritical marks such as accents, circumflexes, diereses, tildes, umlauts, et cetera except for them fancy imported words that I avoid unless they’re de rigueur.

And with that, it’s awe reservoir from Santa Fe de Sans Frisco!

29 February 2020

32 March vs. 29 February

Once every four years the authorities grant us an extra day of the year, and today is the day. So far so good, but why do we get it now? February is arguably the crappiest month of the year. The medieval English had the right idea when they called the period Solmonath (mud month) or Kale-monath (cabbage month). Whoever came up with the idea of an extra day in February should be forced to spend the twenty-ninth eating cabbage in the mud.

As for the novelty of having twenty-nine days in February, that’s anything but unique since every other month has at least thirty days. Instead, I propose 32 March every fourth year. That would make it the first month with thirty-two days, and a nice setup for Saint Stupid’s Day.

I’m putting that idea in the public domain for someone else to implement; I have less important things to keep me cheerfully occupied these days.

1 March 2020

The Dance Electric

Like me, Roscoe doesn’t dance. Unlike me, he has a plan to address that social and aesthetic deficiency. He’s figured out how to become an incredible dancer before he dies ... about a minute before he expires, give or take a few seconds. His plan is ridiculous bordering on the impossible, but then most of the truly great ones are.

It all begins with a judge sentencing Roscoe to death by electrocution. That’s most improbable since Roscoe has never even been cited for jaywalking or littering. Also, I think the authorities are now killing the condemned by injecting them with drain cleaner, industrial solvents, and whatever else is on sale at the local hardware store.

But let us not be dissuaded by pesky realities; Roscoe certainly isn’t because he had a vision. It’s not really much of a vision as visions go, not even a smoldering shrubbery. No, John “I believe in white supremacy” Wayne appeared to him as if in a dream, but it was just an old movie. The bad actor proclaimed that he was going to track down and capture some nefarious miscreant and watch him dance at the end of a rope, i.e., with a noose around his broken neck.

Roscoe reasoned, to use the term loosely, that if he were to be electrocuted without being bound to a chair, he would give the dance performance of his life, like a cartoon character if not better.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I like the absurd idea if only because that’s probably the only way I’ll ever learn to dance.

2 March 2020

The Lighter Side of the Pandemic

Brian is in a great mood for a most unlikely reason: the coronavirus that’s well on the way to becoming a pandemic.

“I suppose it’s going to kill thousands of people,” he admitted, “so it’s time to remember Winston Churchill’s brilliant advice.”

He wasn’t talking about “We shall fight on the beaches ...” or anything like that; Brian’s not that lofty. He was referring to Churchill’s admonition, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Last Thursday, he got his company to pay for repairing his car’s air conditioner that hasn’t worked in months by having his mechanic create an invoice for “n95 virus filtration system.” On Friday, he put a case of Bunnahabhain—that’s nine liters of yummy Islay whisky!—on his expense account as “hand sanitizer.”

We’re sipping Scotch at his place this afternoon because he’s “working from home” on the doctor’s orders he forged. He sabotaged his employer’s computer network to ensure it’s impossible for him to connect to it remotely; “working from home” is working out nicely.

It’s an ill pandemic that blows no good.

3 March 2020

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas Becoming One

I love Annette’s dinner parties. She’s a mediocre cook, but she more than compensates for her lack of culinary expertise by being a great entertainer. Tonight’s gathering was predictably wonderful.

She provided wilted carrot sticks for the entrée; she added a can of peas and an old jar of pesto to a pan of overcooked noodles for the main course.

She served the meal in a banged-up pan and announced, “The pasta, the pesto, and the peas have become one, just like a three-way orgasm,” she said with a coquetteish smile, “but without the orgasm!”

I’ve had hundreds of great meals, but none of them were served with such a memorable line. I covered my plate with grated cheese the color, texture, and taste off sawdust, and with enough cheap wine it wasn’t inedible.

4 March 2020

Three Old White Guys Walk into an Election ...

The election results are in, and things are now much clearer. It wasn’t that long ago that voters had a bewildering choice of candidates of different ages, races, genders, sexual preferences, et cetera, but now no one will be suffering from options paralysis. The next president of the United States will either be an old white guy, another old white guy, or another old white guy who paints his face the color of freeze-dried processed cheese.

The pendulum has gone full circle; it always does. The song remains the same. There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues. We are getting fooled again, but who cares? I need to stop now with the musical tropes because I’m about to run out of spa


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©2020 David Glenn Rinehart