A Picture is Worth 1,144 Words

by Calendar Hacksaw

Hey, this is another one of my periodic "three-dimensional" columns, requiring that you hoist yer butt off the couch and go look at something in the "real world." I do this as a community service, because I know how much you like to be entertained. I'm also aware of your short attention spans, so I'll waste no more time than absolutely necessary because I'm sure you have chores to finish. I apologize to those readers who are no longer living in the region, Wayne, but perhaps this will give some of you an excuse to visit. And, if this danged drought in the great southwest goes on much longer, we'd best get prepared for another invasion of Okies.† Let's treat 'em right this time, damn it.

I've always believed in reintardation and so I'm convinced that in at least one of my previous incarcerations I was a famous art critic, because I can look at a painting or sculpture and see things no one else would notice.†

This month's case in point is the lithograph/watercolor adorning one wall of the dining room down at the Sand Canyon Bar & Grill:† "The Wake of the Boat."† It's on loan for 30 days from Hacksaw's Emporium of Pretty Fine Pictures & Stuff.† Go take a look if you don't believe me.† It's best viewed over dinner.† Might I suggest Robert's peppered Chateaubriand chased with Rita's alternating sips of coffee and wine?† Heck, if I was Robert and Rita, and I'm not, I'd hike up the menu prices for the month of October and maybe set a cover charge or limited viewing hours, cuz this is bound to draw an overflow crowd.

And, although you might be reading this column without having first viewed the painting, I would encourage you to re-read it while at Sand Canyon so you can agree or disagree with my insightful analysis on a point-by-point basis.† Besides, you look like you could use a beer and a good meal anyway.† And, Paul & Ilsa might show up, too.† Do you need more reasons?

At this point, let me lapse into "art critic speak."

What we have here is a watercolor by "Robert," who apparently obtained his penmanship skills from a dying physician, making his surname indecipherable.† If you can figure it out, let me know.† Robertólet's call him "Bob"ówas commissioned by a well-known, but now defunct, restaurant chain in the 1970s to depict Southern California's leisure time pursuits, and turned out a series which included beach volleyball, water sports and the like.† Hence, here we are presented with Bob's artful depiction of the joys of salt-water fishing, aptly titled "The Wake of the Boat."

At first glance, one might think that the title refers to the churning water trailing from the props, but I think otherwise.† The fact that these three individuals have been unceremoniously cast adrift on the righteous stern of indifference leads me to conclude that it is indeed they who are to be considered in "the wake of the boat."† The have been isolated from the crew and their fellow anglers for some indiscretion, perhaps snacking on sushi from the bait well, or "chumming" inside the galley.

In this epic display, Bob introduces us to three anglers toting rental rods, commanding our collective attention.† Let's get to know them.

First and foremost is the young white fella with the skinny fingers, whom we will call "Dave," looking for all the world like a walking advertisement for Nike from hat to shoe.† Next to Dave is the south end of the blonde bombshell known as "Debbie," ("Does this sweatshirt make me look fat?").† Debbie is in the company of "Alex," a graying gent of obviously Portuguese ethnicity who met up with Debbie via an Internet dating service where the pair deceptively exchanged really old photos of Nick Nolte (sober) and Anna Nicole Smith (pretty).†

From this point on, ol' Bob's painting pretty much falls apart, for all of the following reasons.

First of all, Nike-clad Dave has his foot up on a storage locker of some sort, which appears to span the entire stern, port to starboard.† I have never seen any boat with such an impediment, as it would render the entire area useless for fishing.† The stern is widely regarded as the best place to be; a coveted spot.† Could you imagine hooking up and trying to burn the rail with that damned box in your way?† No way!†

Now let's look at the rail itself.† Rather than rectangular wood with notches for the poles, this one is tubular steel.† I have encountered such rails before, and they are truly the "rails from hell," in that it is impossible to lean a rod against one without it constantly falling over.† And, yet, here we see Dave's unsecured pole leaning on the rail, perfectly still, while the boat is underway.†

And, not only that, but Dave has already managed to break off the tip of his rod, rendering it useless.† So, unless he paid the optional LDW, he's out $60 when the boat returns to dock, and he doesn't appear to have even done any fishing yet.

The time of day escapes me in this painting.† The shadows cast by Dave suggest that the sun is low in the sky.† Is this the beginning of the trip, or the end?† Dave's pants and shoes are still dry, the hand towels unused.† No gulls or pelicans are trailing the boat.† If this is the end of the day, we must assume that the entire boat got skunked.† So, where are the beer cans in this painting?

But if it is early morning, and the visible mainland is the Southern California coast, we must ask ourselves why the sun is rising in the west.† Is this what's known as "artistic license?"† If so, I'd like to see it, Bob, so please remove it from your wallet.

What we have here is something generally pleasing to look at, but with a whole lot of excess baggage and a hidden agenda, not unlike Mack Wimbish.

It's widely held that art is in the eye of the beholder just as dust is in the eye of a dry farmer, so if you would like to own "The Wake of the Boat," the bidding war begins at $500, or will trade for good land near Twin Oaks.† You don't think I write these columns for free, do you?


Calendar Hacksaw burns the rail just for the halibut at calendarhacksaw@highdesert.com, and he knows you're curious about the answers to last month's quiz.† The answers are:† the I-5/99 interchange, the junction of 14 and 395, the California Aqueduct (including Edmonston Pumping Station), Edwards AFB, Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve and Isabella Dam.

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