2002 Notebook: Weak XXXIII
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13 August 2002
No. 3,985 (cartoon)
I’m not awed by your wealth.

And I’m not impressed with your frugality.

14 August 2002
Only High Points?
Many years ago, the Goethe Society in San Francisco presented a series of Werner Schroeter films. I hadn’t heard of Schroeter before or since, but his films were incredible. When I praise Schroeter’s amazing work, I always cite his claim, “There are only high points in my films.”

Julia wasn’t impressed with my commendation.

“Only high points?” she asked. “Sounds tedious to me.”

15 August 2002
A Fatal Retrospective
Larry Rivers would have been seventy-nine years old in a couple of days except for one thing: he died yesterday. Medical experts blamed the death on liver cancer, but I’m not so sure.

Rivers didn’t know he had cancer when his huge museum retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery of Art opened, and he died before the show closed. I think Ed Ruscha had the right idea: Don’t Want no Retro.

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16 August 2002
Huey and Sylvia
I rarely like my photographs as photographs these days, but I’ll make an exception for the portrait I made of Huey and Sylvia on the shore of Lake Tahoe today. Can’t go wrong with reflections and/or a century and a half of vinegar and charm.

17 August 2002
Frozen Ideas
“What are you looking for?” Penelope asked when she caught me staring into the freezer.

“Ideas,” I replied.

“I never knew you kept your ideas in the freezer,” Penelope said.

“I don’t know that I do,” I mumbled.

“Then why are you looking in there?” Penelope inquired.

I haven’t had any ideas in a while,” I explained, “so I thought I’d look in the freezer first. If I find any old ideas in there, at least they’ll be well preserved.”

18 August 2002
Bald-Haired Guy
“What’s Michael up to these days?” Charlie asked.

“I know several Michaels,” I replied.

“I’m talking about the bald-haired guy who makes all the erotic photographs,” Charlie said.

I knew the answer, but I was laughing so hard at the adjective “bald-haired” that it took me a while before I could respond.

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19 August 2002
Stamp of Approved Photographs
My mother, who’s something of a philatelist, sent me a small collection of photographs, Masters of American Photography. Each of the twenty photographs were represented by tiny reproductions the size of a postage stamp. The scale was appropriate, since each of the images was reproduced on a U.S. postage stamp.

A committee of government employees curated the collection, and it showed. The selections were entirely predictable, as if the bureaucrats had hired tired, old John Szarkowski as a consultant. All the photographers had been dead for at least a decade and a half. Like me, all the photographers were chromophobes. And, so as not to offend Americans’ prudish sensibilities, the collection featured no nudes, not even a lonely breast.

That’s ridiculous. Were it not for nudes, American photography would be no more popular than American woodcuts.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart