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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak IX


26 February 2024

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No. 9,392 (cartoon)

Promise me that you will never leave me.

I can’t.

I’m long gone.

27 February 2024

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Irregular Pizza Remnant

I don’t know what prompted such an unusual variation from my predictable behavior, but I decided to cut my pizza into unusual shapes instead of the usual slices. The pizza tasted the same, but I was rewarded with a visually pleasing remnant after lunch. I photographed it and then ate it well before anyone else could plagiarize it.

Yep, the life of an artist is the life for me!

28 February 2024

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Aerial Maneuvers in the Dark

It’s time to go on an overnight flight, and that means it’s time to pack my portable liquor cabinet. I bought some hundred-milliliter bottles for just that purpose; I can legally carry four at a time which makes even the crappiest airline tolerable. Every flight attendant announces on every flight that federal law prohibits me from drinking my own alcohol on the plane, but no one seems to care what’s in the bottles.

My new bottles came with labels if I wanted to disguise the whisky as face wash or hand sanitizer, but I decided not to use them. Everyone ignores me sipping Scotch, but I might not be so lucky if someone reported that I was drinking bubble bath. Come to think of it, I think that’s one of the telltale things the Secret Airplane Police look for when trying to spot miscreants and ne’er-do-wells.

Epilogue: I survived the trip; the booze did not. Mission accomplished.

29 February 2024

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A Century of Surrealism

Andre Breton published Manifeste du surréalisme in 1924. Some people say that’s when surrealism was born. Some people say surrealism died along with Breton in 1966. Some people say surrealism is a hundred years old this year. Some people say the damnedest things.

Marcel Duchamp, who lived long enough to enjoy a life beyond -isms, said everything there is to say about surrealism in a single paragraph.

“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’m not going to opine whether surrealism is dead or alive, but now that it’s a century old it smells funny and it ain’t movin’.

1 March 2024

Tower of Power Anecdote

The Tower of Power band first performed when I was twelve, and it took this long before I finally saw the grizzled musicians perform. They were good, and “What Is Hip?” remains unanswered. That concludes my insightful review, so now it’s on to the anecdote.

Emilio Castillo, one of the two original members still playing in the eleven-person ensemble, made an announcement a half-hour into the show.

“We’re going to slow things down, now. [pause] Do you know why? [pause] We’re old.

After the audience stopped laughing, he followed up on his setup with the punch line.

“We’re old, but you’re older.”

Hilarity ensued.

And that concludes the only Tower of Power anecdote I’ve ever heard.

2 March 2024

Alcoholism’s Toll on Language

Juanita sent me a dubious article claiming that the Brits have five hundred and forty-six words for being drunk. The implication is that they have more slang and synonyms for inebriation than any other culture, but that isn’t true.

Alcohol is expensive in England, so your average bloke can only afford a couple of drinks a night. The next morning they brag about how crapulous, sozzled, and legless they were the previous evening.

In the United States, a liter of cheap vodka costs less than a couple of beers in Old Blighty. That’s a good arrangement for alcoholics, but it’s not conducive to increasing the American vocabulary. A Yank may indeed get plastered, bombed, sloshed, stinko, and worse, but, unlike a Brit, s/he probably won’t remember any of those colorful words in the morning.

Why, just the other night I heard some drunk slur that she was “flibbertigibbeted up past my coccyx.” I spent over a decade in England and never heard anyone say that. When it comes to getting gazeboed, the English are all hat and no cattle.

3 March 2024

Shoddy Research

Sherri is lending her old Leica M2 for a historical museum exhibit, so she gave me the serial number and asked me to find out when it was made. I did a bit of shoddy research (maybe I should start a consulting group called Shoddy Research) and told her it was manufactured in 1951. She told me that was most improbable since that model wasn’t introduced until 1957.

She went on to politely explain that a six-year margin of error was not acceptable since the curators would be annoyed if a visitor chastised them for the mistake. And like most things in life, that reminded me of a story ...

I was fascinated by tropical fish when I was a boy, and read Exotic Aquarium Fishes, the Innes Book, cover to cover many times. I visited the Shedd Aquarium when I was twelve or so and pointed out to a staff member that the brass plaque below one of the tanks had the wrong Latin name for the fish on display.

And I was right.

I’ll never know why the representative nodded politely instead of grabbing an impudent kid by the ear and dragging him out the back door.

That was a long time ago. I’m glad I escaped the tyranny of facts to be an artist; Shoddy Research is the way to go!

4 March 2024

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Three Black Holes, Flint, Michigan (Triptych)

Everybody’s been jabbering on and on and on again about the Black Hole of Calcutta since 1756, and do you know what I say? “Pish-tosh,” that’s what I say.

I’m in Flint, Michigan, which boasts of not one, not two, but three black holes. Wait; that’s not exactly true. Calcutta boasts and Flint doesn’t; that’s why I made Three Black Holes, Flint, Michigan (Triptych).

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2024 David Glenn Rinehart