July 1, 2000 (Saturday)
With the end of this month, there will be a year's worth of these diary pages. Whether that has any significance or not remains to be seen.
July 2, 2000 (Sunday)
The newspaper is full of news of American society's decline and demise. Contrary to popular belief, it's not the leftist agenda that's screwing things up, making the country immoral and degenerate. It's the right wing agenda, the reduction of taxes and the increasing importance of the stock market.
Because of decreasing tax base, schools are being consolidated. The school districts simply can't afford to maintain the same number of schools. Therefore, the sense of community that comes from having an area's social life pretty much centered around a school in the community has become a thing of the past. People are tribal by nature. When a tribe is diminished by something as simple as consolidating the high schools in a county, the people in the different communities look for something else to bind them into realigned tribes. Often times, in the less affluent neighborhoods and towns, these new tribes are things like gangs. There's no outlet for the inter-tribal competition like the football rivalry of two neighboring towns once the students attend the same schools.
I could say something about the proposed elimination of the inheritance tax. But I won't. Only this -- both the inheritance tax and the progressive income tax were implemented to prevent Bill Gates from happening. They were put in place to assure that economic dynasties were not created and perpetuated to the majority's detriment. Slowly, over the years, the Republican extremists have chipped away at these measures until we are now on the verge of giving our democracy away to the highest bidder. Don't think even for a minute that it won't happen. It will. It's probably too late to do anything about it. But I'm recording this here to establish my credentials as a prophet. And you know what they say about prophets: ". . . A prophet is not without honour (sic), save in his own country, and in his own house." -- Matthew 13:57
July 3, 2000 (Monday)
I'm so tired of fighting with doctors, HMO's, pharmacists and everyone. I'd move to Canada, but I don't have the thousand bucks and probably don't have any "usable skills" that would qualify me to emmigrate. It's pathetic that the United States spends far more on health care than any other developed country and still only ranks 37th (37th!) in terms of quality of care.
The domain names are being gobbled up at an incredible rate. Pretty soon there won't be a .com name worth having. There has been talk of instituting some new designations. I don't recall right off what's been tossed around, but I do have my own ideas. Currently we have a couple hundred two letter designators for the various countries: .us for United States, .ca for Canada, .uk for The United Kingdom. .ch for Switzerland (ch? ::shrug::), and so on. Then we have the broad strokes: .edu for schools, .com for commercial sites (in theory), .org for non-profit organizations, .gov for government sites, .net for ISP's and various network sites, and probably a couple to several hundred others I'm missing.
The 3wc (World Wide Web Consortium), who determines such things, has it under advisement to add some additional ones. I think someone proposed that ISP's and OSP's like Earthlink and AOL have their own special designation of .isp -- makes a kind of sense I guess. There were other three letter combinations offered as suggestions as well.
I'd like to offer my own ideas on the matter. Why limit it to three letters? We could have both .inc and .corp for corporations, relegating the .com back to partnerships and sole proprietors. How about a .art designation for artists, musicians, and the like? There could be a .club designation for things like the Rotarians, the South Hills Rose Association, and even Yale's Skull & Bones. We could even do designer designations for those willing and able to pay for them. And what about the plethora of pornography sites on the web? They could call themselves something like foragoodtimecall.porn, or no, even better, how about sockitome.cum?
July 4, 2000 (Tuesday)
Well, it's actually past midnight on the fifth as I write this. Happy Independence Day. We're independent, but are we free?
July 5, 2000 (Wednesday)
Late again, and very little to say. I hate long holiday weeks.
July 6, 2000 (Thursday)
No Entry Today
July 7, 2000 (Friday)
"Longing To Be Free"
July 8, 2000 (Saturday)
Surely someone out there has a nice old 35mm SLR TTL camera with a macro/zoom lens they want to find a good home for. . .
I've been feeling the urge to paint lately. I have not idea what I want to paint, but I want to get in there and put colors on canvas, board, or paper. I'd like to do sopme more with my oil sticks and some other things, too. I'm tired of this "virtual" painting I've been doing. True, I can display it to the world much easier than I can the larger things I do with real materials, but somehow the satisfaction of being able to touch and see and smell a finished piece far exceed only being able to look at it.
I've been thinking about getting a selection of colors from the Grumbacher MAX line -- it's a soap and water clean-up oil color. Some people have told me that they're pretty close to traditional oil colors in the way they work. I might like them. I've also been thinking about actually doing some work in actual oil paints. The only problem there is a space to work. Oils tend to get messy, especially the way I paint.
I still want to do some large scale works, but I dont' have the space to work on a large scale. I also don't have the cash for materials or a place to store the finished work, since no one seems to want to buy anything I do.
July 9, 2000 (Sunday)
I just finished up typing in a paper I did 23 years ago for an independent studies philosophy class in college. The only copy of it I have left is a bad photocopy made on a machine that was invented before Xerox came up with the machines that will copy on plain paper. The paper is getting pretty brown. I can't imagine having to do a paper like that now using nothing but note cards, bookmarks, and a typewriter.
The paper is on one of the central concepts of Buddhism, the Chain of Interdependent Originations. I can see where my thought processes have improved over the years from reading it again. I'd write it completely differently now. I might tend to ramble on a bit more, too. If you want to read it, though heaven knows why anyone would, you can find it here in PDF format. You have to have Acrobat Reader installed to view PDF files, but then nearly everyone does, so it's no biggie. If you don't, however, you can download it from Adobe's web site.
Pardon the "watermark" on the PDF file (assuming you're going to read it, or attempt to, anyway), but I can't afford the version of Acrobat that allows you to create PDF files, so I'm using a trial version of a print driver that makes PDF's from any Windows™ application. It's only fifty bucks, so I might spring for that if I determine I have the need to create PDF's more often than once a month. You can download it from the ZDNet site. Also at the ZDNet site is another similar program called Win2PDF. If anyone would like to download it and give it a test drive, I'll be pleased to publish your comments and opinions of it here. It's only $35 if you decide to keep it beyond the test period. It doesn't mention any watermarks or time outs or anything, so I don't know what the coercion, er, ah, incentive is to purchase it.
July 10, 2000 (Monday)
I had a problem (among others) last night with my fonts all disappearing. I first noticed it when checking to see if I could get the wheel on my mouse to scroll the Acrobat window from inside MSIE. It works with everything else except Internet Exploiter. I have no idea why. Anyway, I noticed that all my special characters (many of these are used in the transliteration of Sanskrit) like the 'a' with a horizontal line over it or even something as common as 'ñ' were showing up as black dots. I also got a message telling me that Acrobat couldn't find WP Times Roman International Character font or somesuch.
One would think, that something called .PDF (Portable Document Format) would either carry the fonts with it, or render the pages like Postscript does or in bitmap form so that having the font tag along wouldn't be necessary. Maybe it's just this PDF print driver I'm using. I think I'll try the other one.
Well scratch that notion. It seems that Win2PDF is only for Windows NT or Windows 2000. I don't really know why I'm becoming so concerned with PDF files. Anyway, the new Word Perfect Office 2000 does PDF files. I'd really like to get that.
On nuts, another storm. Sayonara.
July 11, 2000 (Tuesday)
In between thunderstorms the past couple of days, I've been scanning in a few things from some of my old notebooks. Sketchbooks are next, assuming I can find them. Here is something from my "Sex & Absurdity Journal, Vol. 1":
I guess you'd call it a collage.
I saw an item on the Nightly Network News last night about protesters organizing in Los Angeles, planning to demonstrate at the Democratic National Convention. What are these people thinking?! The Democratic convention? Okay, in Chicago in 1968, shutting down the Democratic Convention made a kind of sense, but today, I don't get it. The only thing shutting down the Democratic Convention is likely to accomplish is getting George Dubya Bush elected to the presidency. I can't believe the anarchists and the people who demonstrated, yea, even rioted to stop the WTO goings-on in Seattle would want that outcome. Maybe I'm thick, but I don't get it.
July 12, 2000 (Wednesday)
This is another one from the pages of my old journal. I'm not quite sure what you'd call it, but here it is.
July 13, 2000 (Thursday)
Well, I started a new painting today. I've already gotten past the splashing sloppy wet paint and the blow-torch stages. But I've lost interest in it now. I had a lovely decorative grape vine climbing the fence next to my back gate. The guy who cuts the grass for us thought it was a weed and cut it to shreds. The only thing left is a stub on the outside of the fence about 4 inches high with half a dozen tiny leaves. I'm sick.
That grape vine meant a lot to me. It was one thing I could work at and tend and admire and take pride in, and now it's dead.
Here's more from Sex and Absurdity Journal, Vol. 1:
"The Communist Manifold"
July 14, 2000 (Friday)
Happy Bastille Day.
I recently read the first three chapters of a book called, Meaning: The Secret of Being Alive by Cliff Havener (ISBN 189067349). I'm quite impressed, so much so that I think I'm going to buy the book myself. It's a quick, easy read. I read the first three chapters waiting in a doctor's office. The whole book is only 176 pages (or thereabouts). It goes into what makes human institutions, or any kind of system or organization, work, and why they fall apart. It covers why companies and countries eventually die, and why religions trudge on over the millenia. It's a pretty well-reasoned book, with its arguments supported by, if not painstaking research, delightful anecdotes. I recommend it.
"Eye of the Storm"
July 15, 2000 (Saturday)
Here's something from a 1992 sketchbook:
July 16, 2000 (Sunday)
From the same sketchbook as yesterday's picture. This time it's a pen and ink and prismacolor pencil sketch.
I tore into my painting again yesterday (between storms). This time I attacked it with oil bars. I've been looking at it on and off today (between rain showers) and I don't like it. I need to do something 'dramatic' to it, I just don't know what yet.
July 17, 2000 (Monday)
I just finished lunch. I'm supposed to be watching my cholesterol and sodium, so I thought I'd try some Healthy Choice Vegetable Beef soup. It's only 120 calories, negligible cholesterol and 480 mg of sodium (seems a lot to me, but then regular soup has close to or over 1000 mg).
Anyway, I was perusing the ingredients. . .
Water, dehydrated potatoes, carrots, cooked beef (beef, hydrolyzed soy protein, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt), celery, green beans, corn, tomatoes, lima beans, peas, Less than 2% of modified food starch, tomato juice, beef broth, tomato paste, sugar, flavor, salt, autolyzed yeast extract, potassium chloride, garlic powder, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, caramel color, calcium chloride, citric acid, spice.
Okay, when's the last time you saw a recipe that called for hydrolyzed soy protein, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, autolyzed yeast extract, or disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate? What is the purpose of most of these things? The modified food starch is probably to thicken the brew. And what's the deal with BEEF containing soy protein? I thought Beef was Beef. Period. It seems to me they have a lot of this backwards. I think the beef would be relatively insignificant except for flavor -- which they list as an ingredient???? And the texture of this so-called BEEF -- well, it's not as hard as rubber or as crumbly as chalk. I suppose somewhere in the dried up cheese range would get it.
That's Con-agra for you. I think the Con in their name sums it up. They're the ones I had the big tiff about Orville Reddenbacher's popcorn with. I guess, to have healthy foods with the proper amounts of sodium and a lack of these mystery ingredients, I'll have to move to a farm, grow my own crops organically, feed the livestock only the things I grow, grind my own flour, bake all my own bread. . . Sheesh. I thought modern, urbanized society was supposed to take us away from all that. I guess it is if you're willing to sacrifice your health, taste, and ethics to the god of commerce. Viva Roquefort!
July 18, 2000 (Tuesday)
I finally watched The Blair Witch Project a couple of days ago. All I can say is I'm glad I didn't pay $8.50 to see it in a theater. I'd have written the producers wanting my money back. As it is, I'm thinking about billing them for my time. What a waste of an hour and a half and thousands of feet of film and video tape.
That film took filmmaking to a new low. The production values were mediocre at best. The acting was pitiful, if you can call it acting. The whole thing was utterly predictible and was obviously the work of people raised in suburbia without a clue as to what the rest of the world is like. The scripting (what there was of it) was loose and pathetic. Toward the middle of the film, not only was I wishing the witch would kill the three Yuppie-in-training borderline personality nit wits, but that she might go looking for the filmmakers as well.
Did I mention it was boring, and not scary in the least? Not a good pair of impressions for a so-called horror film. It reminded me of a cinematic version of the campfire story told by the kid with the least imagination. You know the one. . .
July 19, 2000 (Wednesday)
More from my sketchbooks:
July 20, 2000 (Thursday)
The house across the alley behind us here was broken into last night. It was apparently some drunk looking for a dry place to sleep. I've not seen so many police officers in one place since I worked with the police department coordinating neighborhood watches and citizen crime prevention in the city. The house has been empty for over a year. The people who lived there moved, and the woman who owns it lives in Georgia, or somewhere out of the state. There are a number of abandoned or vacant houses in this area. They have weeds growing up around them. People throw trash onto the property. Windows get broken by bored children or, like last night, some reprobate looking for shelter.
What's happened here is that as older people die or move to nursing homes, the properties get inherited by younger family members living elsewhere, like Georgia, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, or Cleveland. These family members generally moved to those other places in search of decent paying jobs and a better life. They've achieved that, but not to the point where they can afford repairs to and management of a piece of rental property here. Yet, because it was passed on to them from family, they are loathe to sell it, if they could find a buyer. So, they let it go. The property deteriorates until it gets to the point where the city has to do something. Then the property gets condemned and eventually torn down, another vacant lot created in a city where reasonable cost housing is becoming a thing of the past. This is playing into the developers' hands. Soon, Charleston will be Yuppie City with a population of 20,000 and an average monthly housing expense of $3,000.00 and the rest of us will have to move to Columbus, Baltimore, or Atlanta to continue to exist.
Absentee landlords and Developers, hand-in-hand they destroy cities and create strip malls that could just as well be Milwaukee as Orlando, Des Moines as Culver City, St. Louis as Concord. Soon, the whole country will look alike, and the differences in locations and people that make the culture here so rich and varied will be reduced to the Lowest Common Denominator. Every store will be Wal-Mart, every restaurant McDonald's, Taco Bell, or Bennigan's, every city Reston, Virginia. I wonder if I can emigrate to England?
July 21, 2000 (Friday)
More from old sketchbooks. . . There's more new stuff coming soon, I promise.
These are preliminary sketches for a rock I painted. I've been looking at them again as possibly a basis for something else.
July 22, 2000 (Saturday)
Long day today, rearranging things. trying to make more workspace. Babysat my niece this evening. Six-year-olds have way too much energy, Michelle in particular.
Here's a four-year-old Dada poem (of sorts). I think this one was in one of the issues of Lost and Found Times. I could be mistaken. . .
July 23, 2000 (Sunday)
Here's a new one. There was a caption on the original picture that said, "The Salvador Dali of Philosophy." If anyone recognizes this person, let me know and I'll post the name here. I'd like to know more about someone with this title anyway.
July 24, 2000 (Monday)
No Entry Today
July 25, 2000 (Tuesday)
Did you know that the richest one percent of Americans have a net worth of more than the poorest 92 percent of Americans? And the congress wants to make it so that when these people die, they can pass this wealth along to their heirs without it being diminished whatsoever? The whole point of inheritance taxes in the first place was to assure that too much capital did not accumulate in too few places. Eliminating the tax will create dynasties that make the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Carneiges look like minor leaguers.
Molly Ivins pointed out in a recent column that these self-same Republican congressmen and senators who want to make it so that the kids of rich people never have to earn a penny in their lifetimes are the ones who think $8,000 a year in welfare checks coddles a single mom with two kids, and saps her will to achieve. The greater the moral inconsistency, the greater the logical inconsistancy to rationalize it. . .
July 26, 2000 (Wednesday)
Sometimes I feel like a sequential access kind of guy in a random access world, like a procedural thinker in an object-oriented environment. Today's one of those days. But then, today I can't seem to line thoughts up one after another either. Maybe I have my paradigm backwards.
This picture is from several years ago. It was one of those that sat around waiting to be finished for a long, long time. I finally figured out what it wanted last year, gave it to it and signed it. This is acrylic, india ink and acrylic inks. I guess you'd call it mixed media. It's on Arches 90 lb. hot press watercolor paper.
As long as I'm on the subject of last year's work, here's a pencil drawing (graphite) I did sometime last year. This is only a detail. The whole picture is 13 X 20 in. and is a full-figure drawing. My scanner only accommodates A4 size paper, and since the drawing is already in a frame behind glass, it would be difficult to scan it in sections and piece it together, so you'll just have to enjoy the top third of it.
July 27, 2000 (Thursday)
I just don't feel like doing this right now. It's not like anyone's going to notice, anyway. See you (if you exist. . .) sometime next month, maybe.
No entries for July 28 through July 31.