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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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2 July 2016

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No. 4,567 (cartoon)

Thinking is a waste of time.

Is that what you think?

I’ve never really thought about it.

3 July 2016

The Best Rubber Sandwich Ever

A few months ago I noted that The Los Angeles Times ran an article of dubious journalistic merit, “How to boil an egg.” I’m still not sure whether that was a better idea than the piece that appeared in The New York Times, “How to Make the Best Sandwich Ever.”

I suppose Sam Sifton should be commended for doing something more ambitious than writing a dissertation such as, “How to slice bread.” Sadly, Sifton’s idea of the “best ever” sandwich is based on oily, rubbery eggplant.


The problem with eggplant is eggplant. Whether you coat it in salt, soak it in oil, bury it under sauerkraut, or smother it in cheese, it’s still stringy, mealy eggplant.

Yecch redux.

This ridiculous feature is an embarrassing mistake for such an august newspaper. I suspect that a junior editor or headline writer is responsible for this debacle, and that the correct title was, “How to Make the Worst Sandwich Ever.”

4 July 2016

Ben Patterson

I wasn’t shocked or saddened to hear that Ben Patterson died last week because I never knew he existed. Had I known the first thing about the history of contemporary art I would have certainly heard about an innovator like Patterson, but art history and I ignore each other.

Marcel Duchamp had a wonderful insight into yesterday’s art.

“No painting has an active life of more than thirty or forty years—that’s another little idea of mine. I don’t care if it’s true, it helps me to make that distinction between living art and art history. After thirty or forty years, the painting dies, loses its aura, its emanation, whatever you want to call it. And then it is either forgotten or else it enters the purgatory of art history.”

I have enough lethargy as it is without getting lost in purgatory, so Patterson’s obituary was enough information for me. That’s where I read about his insight into aleatoric and/or random and/or chance-based music.

“Only much later did I realize that what I had discovered was a ‘method’ ... and of course, a ‘method’ is not ‘music’.”

Aha! Now I understand why I love John Cage’s music but have never listened to it.

5 July 2016

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End of the Line: Al Weber 1930-2016

I went to Charles Gatewood’s memorial service a couple of days ago, where Jello Biafra gave a stirring rendition of Die Toten Hosen’s song, “Dirty Pictures.” It was great to see his life reflected in the lives of his friends. It was a touching remembrance, and an unexpectedly sad one as well when I learned that Al Weber died on 27 February. I wasn’t surprised at the news. His health had been declining for years, and the foreshadowing was obvious last fall when he said he wasn’t accepting visitors.

My last visit with him was on 13 December 2011; I had no idea it would be my final visit. I photographed his darkroom sink with the bumper sticker, “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.” It’s a good way of remembering him.

I met Al in the context of photography. That was a common thread in our relationship over the nearly forty years I knew him, but photography is not the first thing that comes to mind when I remember him. That’s in large part because Al, as a very smart guy, knew art wasn’t the most important or rewarding part of his life. I’m thinking his marriage to Suzie. I’ve never seen anyone more in love, more committed, or more satisfied.

I had my fourth meditative can of the Rainier Ale: The End of the Line series looking back on a rich life and a rewarding friendship.

6 July 2016

I, Loafer

Helena told me that Mabel, her mother, thinks I’m a loafer. Mabel’s within spitting distance of her ninetieth birthday, and I find her quaint vocabulary both amusing and charming.

“I’d rather be a loafer than a heel,” I replied.

“They’re not mutually exclusive, you know,” Helena observed.

“Please do me a favor and pass along James Thurber’s advice to your mother,” I asked. “It is better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all.”

“She’ll like that,” Helena agreed. “I can already hear her saying that only a loafer would quote someone else instead of thinking of something to say.”

7 July 2016

Universal Expansion

The European Space Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced that the universe is expanding from five to nine percent faster than scientists previously guesstimated.

In other news, Europeans and Americans are getting from five to nine percent fatter. Coincidence? I think not.

8 July 2016

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The Periodic Table of the Periods

As an artist with a minimal grasp of science, I’ve always been baffled by the periodic table of the elements. Why are they arranged like that? And why the zany numbering system?

I know next to nothing about chemistry, but I do have a naïve appreciation of typography. And so, I created The Periodic Table of the Periods, also available as a PDF file. I quite liked it, so I made The Periodic Table of the Commas. Before I could go on to colons, semicolons, et cetera, I realized I was repeating myself. I destroyed The Periodic Table of the Commas, and decided to instead start on my next project as soon as I figure out what it is.


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©2016 David Glenn Rinehart

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