2001 Notebook: Weak XXIV
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11 June 2001
A Bad Trade
My very dear friend, the late Morrie Camhi, told me a trillion great stories. I shall repeat one of them, more or less.

Morrie once found himself in the company of the singer Jan Peerce. It may have been on an airplane flight, or perhaps a long ferry ride. I don’t recall, and, sadly, I can’t ask Morrie.

Anyway, Morrie and Peerce were talking, and Peerce asked for some of Morrie’s prints. Morrie politely explained that his prints were of some value, a point Peerce acknowledged. Peerce said he’d send Morrie “something of great value” (or words to that effect) in exchange for a set of Morrie’s photographs. Morrie, forever generous and optimistic, agreed.

Some time later, Peerce honored his promise and sent Morrie a package.

If I recall our conversation correctly (an improbable proposition after no small amount of Bunnahabhain), Morrie said he thought he might receive a collection of Peerce’s recordings.

Well, no.

After Morrie opened the package, he found an eight-by-ten inch, black-and-white photograph of ...

Jan Peerce!

But this wasn’t any eight-by-ten inch, black-and-white photograph. No, Jan Peerce hisself had apparently signed it:

To Morrie Camhi
Best wishes
Jan Peerce

Morrie was duly unimpressed. He posted Peerce’s photograph on the wall of his studio in order to remind him of the perils of trusting people who may not be worthy of such trust.

My dear friend Morrie’s gone, but the eight-by-ten inch, black-and-white photograph of Jan Peerce is still tacked to the wall of his studio.

12 June 2001
An Abysmally Hot Day
This cannot be, yet it is. Today is an uncomfortably hot day in San Francisco.

This unfortunate turn of climatic events has, of course, led my learned laboratory colleagues to discuss strategies for keeping cool. And that’s when Nelson amazed us all by reminiscing about his childhood in the Bronx.

“We didn’t have much money when I was a kid,” Nelson explained, “so we just sucked on frozen rats.”

I’ve never seen anyone terminate a conversation so quickly.

13 June 2001
What the Wife of the Wealthy Clothing Magnate Saw When She Walked into the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Store
Here’s what the wife of the wealthy clothing magnate saw when she walked into the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art store. She saw a museum employee wearing a Hawaiian party shirt.

And that’s the exact moment when the wife of the wealthy clothing magnate had a five-alarm hissy fit.

As it turns out, the husband of the wife of the wealthy clothing magnate has contributed a large amount of money to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The husband of the wife of the wealthy clothing magnate’s largesse gave the wife of the wealthy clothing magnate a great deal of clout with museum administraitors.

The wife of the wealthy clothing magnate wielded her power like the blunt instrument it was. And that’s why the employees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art store now wear uniforms. And not Hawaiian party shirts, never ever.

Never trust people who try to market art and/or fashion.

14 June 2001
Listening to Something Perfect
I assumed I’d have a great dinner with Arthur and Sandy tonight. After all, that’s the only kind they serve. When I walked in and saw a piece of salmon the size of a large baby, I knew I would not be disappointed.

After Sandy poured me a drink suitable for a professional, she asked Arthur what kind of music he’d like to hear.

“I should like to listen to something perfect,” Arthur replied.

And so we did.

15 June 2001
Almost all of the beautiful women I know don’t wear makeup. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I think they’re beautiful.

On the other hand, makeup is not without some merit. I fondly remember attending a wedding at a castle in Germany with Sabine and Thomas. It was such a festive and loving event that by midnight I felt very festive and loving indeed. I borrowed Sabine’s lipstick, and smeared more than a little on.

I then proceeded to kiss every frŠulein and frŠu I could catch. (That wasn’t very hard; they weren’t moving very fast after drinking even more wine than I’d enjoyed.) I was quite pleased with the visual and visceral pleasures of lipstickissing.

16 June 2001
(Probably) My First Art Buy
One of the very few disappointments about getting older is that there are increasingly few things I can do for the first time.

I thought of this today when I met Barbara Schubert. Barbara impressed me as a remarkable artist for two reasons. First, she does remarkably good work. And second, she’s one of the few artists I know who’s even more clue-free about business than I am.

I visited her at her studio, where she was selling framed reproductions of her drawings—under glass—for twenty dollars. I told her that her prices were ridiculously low, and that she should at least quintuple them. (I wanted to advise her to charge six times more, but I wasn’t sure whether “sextuple” was a real word.)

Barbara shrugged and told me that’s what everyone told her. I liked her even more after that; ignoring good advice is always a good move for an artist.

I bought one of her prints as a gift for a friend without thinking twice. (For twenty dollars, I rarely even think once.) On the way back to the laboratory, I realized that this was the first time in my life that I’d ever bought art.

(I won’t get into the semantic morass of discussing whether or not Rainier Ale is art.)

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17 June 2001
Two Radishev Lines
Tanya was amazed that I’d never heard of Alexander Nikolaevich Radishev.

“There’s not a Russian who hasn’t heard of the great author,” she said. “Surely you must have heard about From St. Petersburg to Moscow?”

“I must not be a Russian,” I admitted.

Tanya then went on to tell me all sorts of things about Radishev, who died a couple of centuries ago. Tanya, being Tanya, told me much more than I’d ever want to know. Nevertheless, I did manage to remember two of his great lines.

“The slower you go, the farther you get.”

“I went to bed with an empty head.”

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©2001 David Glenn Rinehart