Saturday, April 18, 2020

Yay: Book Delivery!

It was cooler yesterday morning and there was a light overcast sky overhead as I started schlepping wood from the driveway to the shed. I started off by doing six loads and then my back was screaming for a rest; it was just nine-thirty. Oh…How I enjoy the rests! During rests, I change my shirt because I get so sweaty; a clean shirt for each shift gives me a boost.
I went back to work to do ten more loads before stopping to clean up for my Zoom chat with long-time friends from my Arts Club days at eleven. It felt good to have so many loads done, but my poor old body is certainly feeling its age.
The Zoom experience was lots of fun. It’s kind of like long, long ago when we had party lines (shared telephone lines), but now you can see the people with whom you are sharing a line. Then it was time to walk Sheba and to go into town to get my decal and prescriptions and as I drove—raindrops. You could count them, there were so few. But at least there was humidity in the air. 
The clouds and moisture put me in the mood to relax until it was time to go to Rollo Park with Anna and Minjou to meet Gunther and Zooey. And when I got home, I just took it easy for the rest of the day and night. I made good progress on the wood and there’s no deadline, so a slow pace is fine with me.
Six books arrived today in the post (including one that is over 900 pages of small print): Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts; Circe by Madeline Miller; Pachinko by Min Jin Lee; educated by Tara Westover; The Dog in the Chapel by Anthony McDonald and The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I am set for the summer. But first I’ve got to finish stacking all the wood—that’s what I plan to do today.
I watched a documentary about art fraud Thursday night. It was an incredible story about how a Spanish fraudster used his Mexican American partner and a Chinese master painter to defraud American museums and collectors. They achieved their goals by duping a dealer, Ann Freedman, who directed the renowned Knoedler art gallery in Manhattan. 
Before being exposed, the Knoedler and Freedman sold eighty million dollars of fraudulent American expressionist art to unknowing, gullible, greedy, art loving collectors. It was quite a tale. The director and gallery claim innocence; they say they believed that the art was legitimate, but the film makes it pretty clear that they did not due their due diligence. 
What surprised me was that the Knoedler was owned by Hammer family—as in the Armand Hammer Museum. American magnate, Armand Hammer’s grandson, Michael, owned the gallery during the time of the sale of forgeries. He had to close the gallery and pay massive settlements to defrauded collectors, but he and Freedman avoided jail time. No one, except the Spanish fraudster’s girlfriend, served any time.
It’s a sordid tale. And what surprised me is that Michael Hammer is the father of actor Armie Hammer (The Social Network; Call Me By Your Name).

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