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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXI


21 May 2020

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No. 6,354 (cartoon)

All you ever talk about is you.

All you never talk about is me.

22 May 2020

Shilly versus Dilly

Helena told me that her mother Mabel accused her of shilly-shallying. She protested that she was dilly-dallying, not shilly-shallying.

Mabel walked right into the simple semantic trap and asked Helena what the difference was. Helena shot back with a nice bit of sophistry: her mother shouldn’t accuse her of something she couldn’t define.

“So which one was it?” I asked, “dilly-dallying or shilly-shallying?”

“That’s the funny part,” she replied. “I did neither; I was just screwin’ around.”

Take a bow, Helena!

23 May 2020

After the Bow

After rereading yesterday’s notebook entry, I was reminded that taking a bow has replaced the handshake during Coronarama. Bowing could be a problem for me, since it seems increasingly likely that the coronavirus will be around long after I’m not.

I can make a decent bow, but sometimes decency isn’t enough. For example, I never could bow deeply enough when in Japan, especially when the person greeting me was rubbing his forehead on the carpet. I’m generally relentlessly positive, and I see my difficulty in mimicking a contortionist as an opportunity, not a problem.

And that brings me to curtseying: it’s the perfect excuse for me to get the kilt I’ve been talking about for at least a decade or two. While other guys are throwing out their backs bowing themselves into the shape of a pretzel, I’ll be relaxed and curtseying like a ... well, like a man in a kilt who’s cheerfully curtseying.

24 May 2020

Nothing to See Here

Julian and I were discussing the things we keep secret from many of the people we love. I was enjoying the conversation until he blurted out that he’s never shared his sexual fantasies with anyone, even his wife.

“Please don’t start now,” I interrupted as soon as I heard him mention sexual fantasies.

“You don’t have to worry,” he replied. “They’re so embarrassingly boring and unimaginative that no one else will never know.”

I’ll never share Julian’s confidential admission. Perhaps Benjamin Franklin was wrong when he posited, “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

I never really thought about this until now, but I suppose that’s why my private life is just that: it’s of no interest to anyone, including me.

Move along folks, move along; nothing to see here ...

25 May 2020

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Hair Chicken

Sandra was cooking a large chicken leg when I showed up at her place. I made a quick snapshot after noticing it was garnished with a long piece of hair.

I sent the photograph to several friends under Coronavirus house arrest to distract them, and I was surprised by their strong, visceral reactions. The complainers—most of whom were carnivores—were appalled at the sight of part of a skinned bird being fried for human consumption. The whiners were disgusted by the thought of human hair touching something they might eat, and almost apoplectic at the thought of ingesting even a millimeter of it.

Randall provided the only interesting comment when he asked where the phrase “bone dry” came from when they’re clearly covered in muscle, fat, and cartilage.

That may or may not be an etymological question; does etymology only apply only to single words? In any case, etymology is not my department.

And that brings me to entomology. Since so many people had such a perfervid reaction to a single human hair on a piece of chicken, I bet a dozen cockroaches would provide much more shock entertainment value. Why heck, I bet that might even make a nice little short film.

26 May 2020

Dad and Roger Harry Daltrey Revisited

I reread what I wrote last month on what would have been my father’s hundredth birthday. I now have a different perspective after recalling May Sarton’s remark, “I suppose old age begins when you look backward rather than forward.”

I’m thinking of people in their thirties who remember college as being the highlight of their lives and can’t imagine anything better. I doubt that was what young Roger Harry Daltrey meant when he sang, “I hope I die before I get old,” but I hope that I don’t get old (using Sarton’s definition) before I die.

I don’t watch many movies, but I’ve seen enough of zombie flicks (two) to know I don’t want to be one the living dead. I see them everywhere I go, and they give me the heebie-jeebies.

27 May 2020

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Intentionally Blank (Potato)

I remember when I was first reading about making art way back in my early teens before I knew any better. I remember learning about the concept of “white space.” Having learned about it, I forgot about the designation since a label was redundant in the same way that I never think about consonants and vowels when I talk and write.

After all those decades I thought it would be fun to mislabel white space with the statement, THIS SPACE LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK. With Intentionally Blank (Potato), the type is the visual focus and negates the spud’s negative space status. It’s a passable example of how two aesthetic wrongs make a right, right?


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©2020 David Glenn Rinehart

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