Black crowned night heron © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, November 23, 2009


Neither a borrower nor a lender be;  
For loan oft loses both itself and friend, 
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day, 
thou canst not then be false to any man.  
 Hamlet Act I, Scene III

My wise old father once told me never to lend money or books - you seldom get either back.  I committed a cardinal sin this month. Grumpy brought a rare cd that he had checked out from the library over for me to burn. I frankly forgot about it.  Last week I got one and then another terse emails from monsieur grumpster informing me that the recording was long overdue and that he was in hot water with some very angry librarians. I wrote back and promised him that I would take full responsibility and even write a letter to whom it may concern concerning his generally splendid record in such matters and to his fine character but he said no, just return the disk, and lickety split if possible but I was in San Francisco so I couldn't and besides amnesty day is the last friday of the month and we were approaching nine bucks. Grumps emailed that forget the fine just get the darn thing back because he couldn't check anything else out, probably pretty steamed by this point and maybe getting a scarlet letter and his picture up on the wall as a social miscreant.

I walked into the library this afternoon with my wrists bound together shouting "I am a criminal, arrest me" to the bemused looks of the assorted spectators and librarians. Perhaps it was my dramatic entrance, I don't know, but the matron decided to have mercy on me and waive eight dollars of the fee. They said that they wouldn't even tell him if it would help me play the guilt card.

Grumpy is sort of the Ed McMahon of the blog, that's right Johnnie - he had posting privileges once but he got his hands slapped when he tried an old fashioned palace coup. I love his enthusiasm and smarts but sometimes he can be a bit reactive and I have to limit his comments occasionally.  But I am glad that he cares and has been such a loyal contributor, even if he often rubs Mr. Anonymous the wrong way. Grumpy occasionally works at the episcopal thrift shop and has brought me incredible shirts that he has picked up for a dollar. His grandpa was a very famous california plein air painter in the twenties and Grump has excellent taste in music. Used to be in the comic book world in L.A., if my info is right.  So I want to publicly apologize to my whole cyberfamily for not getting the compact disk back to the library promptly and for sullying Grump's good name.

At the risk of sounding overly self congratulatory, I am amazed by the number of people I meet who are reading the blast. Regular readership around the globe. It makes me feel really good. Interestingly enough, people often tell me they like the more personal stuff (except for New York Stan, who thinks I'm a bit of a drama queen.)  Had dinner with a couple of lady friends after the show that are not only regular readers but have friends in Hawaii that are now tuning in. I feel really good when people tell me that it is the only blog they read or the best thing on the web. Thanks for reading and listening. Of course, some only come for the music, and Dave Gunther told me the other day that the blog was kind of corny.

My friend Brian says that his mother is reading me back in Norfolk and that I should write something about him. Sorry Brian, no go. Do something interesting like rob a bank and I'll give you some ink.

My friend Trace, who I supped with yesterday evening, is doing some amazing genealogical research, swabbing relatives mouths for genetic markers. Charting Y-DNA for males and mitochondrial DNA. Connecting with other folks in cyber groups that share similar genetic indicators. I am eager to get involved in the process. Very cool. Supposedly her husband came from an african jewish subgroup with priestly connections, relatively recently. Fascinating stuff.

I was on the phone for three hours today with the credit card company that processes my shop transactions. There were like 4 to 8 thousand of dollars of transactions that never properly batched and we were trying some forensic pathological tricks to save the transactions. Pain in the ass but Jacoby, the guy on the other end who lived in Cassius Clay's hometown in Kentucky was pretty cool.  Almost managed to make everything right.

Been getting a slough of spam on the comments form of the blog - buy phentermine, the usual garbage. The insidious spam engines are like termites, they get into everything eventually.

Show was a washout. Not only  the lowest gross in fifteen years but I managed to break something in someone else's booth that I had to pay for. A porcelain.  So it was basically very expensive advertising.

One of the cool things that happened was that my old teacher G.D. "Doug" Durrant and his charming wife Susan showed up and chatted. Took watercolor classes from him 30 years ago and he was the best teacher I ever had. We talked a lot about food in class. He is an ex Rodeo coach from Sul Ross College in Texas many moons ago and a fine painter. Always nice to see them.

Had a guy walk in who is a client of a good friend and competitor. He looked at my wares and sniffed that none of them was up to the level of his collection. Which is bullshit. I asked him what he thought my stuff was, chopped liver? and he sadly shook his head in the affirmative.  I may not have the greatest paintings in the world but they are pretty darn good. I have learned that you can work in this life with some people and can't work with others, no matter what you show them. So Mr. A, please take the liberty to kiss my tuchas.

I also had a nice dinner at the Fish Market with Marty from Papillon Gallery. I had wahoo and he enjoyed the fresh long lined Alaskan halibut that everyone was raving about. Nice to share a meal with an old hand in the business.

 Did meet some nice folks and took my whipping and beatdown like a man. Late.


grumpy said...

i dig the way you altered my photo; sounds like a bravura performance you staged at the library, wish i coulda witnessed it; anyways thanks for giving me my Good Name back, as if i ever had one; so the holidaze are here and yours truly is clearly into his emotional Danger Zone; a closing time at the shop yesterday, a customer drove me right to the Brink; plus about 25 relatives are descending on Casa Grumpy for dinner tomorrow night; i need to go smash tennis balls, get my soul right...

Anonymous said...

YES!!! With you saying your not going to write bout me, you wrote about me. I am now a legend. Thanks Robert