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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak IV


22 January 2023

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No. 6,612 (cartoon)

I feel like I’ve lost my mind.

Did you look under the couch?

It’s not worth it.

23 January 2023

Worth and Value, Priceless or Worthless

I just read a brilliant observation Sean Kelly made about Rebecca Horn, an artist he represents at his gallery, “... who knew the difference between your worth and your value.”

“Worth is something that somebody places on you and is prepared to pay. Value is about the way you pass through the world.”

And then I reread what Kelly wrote, and realized that it was nonsense since “worth” and “value” are synonyms. No wonder he’s a successful gallerist; he talks utter sophist bollocks fluently.

When it comes to worth and value, I thought of Dorothy Parker’s remark, “Art is either priceless or worthless.”

I asked the Internet to confirm that I quoted her correctly and the Internet said that I too was talking bollocks: she never said that. From now on, I shall preface the priceless or worthless line with, “As I’ve always said ...”

So where does that leave me? The indisputable answer, in a word: done.

24 January 2023

Businessy Baggage

Penelope’s apartment looked exactly as I remembered it when I visited her this afternoon. That unnerved me, because she told me in December she had to move before the first of February.

“You told me a month ago that you needed to be out of here by the end of the month, but it looks like you haven’t started to pack,” I observed.

“You arty types don’t know the first thing about project management, do you?” she asked. “It’s best to get way behind early, that way you have a lot more time to catch up.”

I disliked being dismissed as the arty type, but at least it’s better than being the business type. And since I have no major projects, who needs a Gantt chart or any of that businessy baggage?

I am again reminded of Barry Humphries’ observation, “Most of my contemporaries at school entered the World of Business, the logical destiny of bores.”

25 January 2023

Rabbie Burns Night

Today is the twenty-fifth day of January, and that means it’s time to celebrate the birth of Robden of Solway Firth, the Scottish poet who famously described haggis as, “great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race.” Traditionally, Burns Night is celebrated with haggis, neeps and tatties, whisky, and readings of the bard’s impenetrable work.

I’m having a minimalist commemoration tonight, and am in a good humour after rather a lot of tatties (manifest as crisps) and Scotch. I’ve also come to appreciate Burns’ work more than I have in the past.

The Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries in Fife is exhibiting most of a copy of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, the first edition of Burn’s poetry. As for the “most of it” remark, fifty pages are missing, but we know where they went. A barber in Shrewsbury in Shropshire ripped them out and used them to clean his razors.

There’s a lesson there for all of us. As Burns demonstrated posthumously, poetry isn’t completely worthless, especially if you have razors to clean.

26 January 2023

Ireland Attacks Italy!

Confederazione Nazionale Coltivatori Diretti, the organization of Italian farmers, has announced that Ireland has launched a “direct attack” on Italy. With so many wars going on these days, the assault was easy to miss.

The Irish are attacking Italy with a perfect example of asymmetrical warfare: putting warning labels about the dangers drinking on all bottles of alcohol, including Italian wine.

“This is like some redheaded gnome defecating on a big steaming plate of my own mother’s cacio e pepe potato gnocchi,” spokesman Giovanni Punto never said.

The Italians have a point: once the Irish see the cautionary stickers on every bottle of beer and whiskey they’ll probably stop drinking anything with alcohol in it, including Italian wine.

I’m too bored with this nonstory to pull the other one, so it’s time to go.

27 January 2023


I have a friend who’s a passionate ornithologist. I’ll refer to him as “Logan” since that’s his name. He’s something of an enigma to me. He’s clearly brilliant, but yet I know things about our feathered things that he doesn’t. I’ll provide a couple of examples.

I stumped him when I asked him why birds have two wings. He agreed the answer was obvious when I told him: so they can fly.

He couldn’t explain why, when geese fly in a V formation, one line is longer than the other. He had to concur when I pointed out the reason: the short side has fewer birds in it.

I asked him to tell me something about birds that would astound me. He thought about it for what seemed like a long time, scratched his beak, and told me that there’s a bird that flies over the ocean for three years without ever touching down.

That I did not know. I was impressed until he couldn’t answer my followup question: how does it taste?

How could he not know that all birds taste like chicken, and all mammals—including you (if you’re a mammal) and me—taste like piggy pork?

28 January 2023

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The Salt and Pepper Chip Scam

My friend Joe owns a chain of grocery stores eponymously named Trader Joe’s. I called Joe the other day to alert him to a scandal I uncovered whilst doing an investigative report into the tuber industry.

I presented him with photographic evidence of the hanky-panky going on right under his virtual nose in his Salty Fatty Foods Division. I uncovered a perfidious fraud that’s so heinous and venal that it will shake the very foundation of the potato chip business.

Joe’s company sells two types of ridge cut potato chips, or crisps: Potato Chips [with] Salt & Pepper, and Kettle Cooked Potato Chips with Sea Salt. The delicacies are sold by the pound, an archaic avoirdupois weight concocted in the thirteenth century. Now here’s where things get scandalous: even though both bags are supposedly equal, the label on the sea salt chips says that they weigh a gram less than the salt and pepper version.

I’ll skip the details of my investigation and cut to the bombshell. As I explained to Joe, he really only sells salt and pepper ridge cut potato chips; the “sea salt” potato chips are the same except they’ve been processed through a Bulgarian depeppering machine; that’s why they weigh a gram less.

Joe was so grateful that I handled this privately and discretely and didn’t sell my lucrative exposé to the tabloid press that he gave me a gift certificate for ten bags of chips and three cases of beer, since one really can’t fully appreciate the former without the latter.

29 January 2023

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Swiss Cheese Hole

I was noshing on some cheap “Swiss” cheese—the kind that usually costs around six dollars for a one-liter block—made in Barstow, California, when I spotted an interesting hole left by the industrial gas used at the cheese mill. I gnawed around it, then photographed the result to make Swiss Cheese Hole.

I thought of making a better version using cheese from Switzerland, but changed my mind when I realized good cheese wouldn’t have the rubbery, plastic texture and appearance that makes factory cheese so visually appealing.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2023 David Glenn Rinehart