Thursday, August 1, 2002
Pain, pain, go away.
It's not so much the pain, it's the humility.
Friday, August 2, 2002
I'm sure you're like me -- get AOL CD's in the mail all the time. Recently I got one that was in a small tin. Naturally, the Disc hit the trash, but the tin is nice. If any of you get a similar mailing and don't want the tin, I'd appreciate it if you'd send it to me. I'd love to have several of them.
My mailing address:
J. Michael Mollohan
P.O. Box 5534
Charleston, WV 25361-0534
Saturday, August 3, 2002
Well, I've been home hobbling around on crutches for five days now. I can honestly say it's not my idea of fun. The most difficult part of it, to me, is the inability to carry objects from one place to another. Perhaps a walker might have been a better option, but that would have made negotiation of stairs difficult if not impossible. I need a temporary slave to wait on me hand and foot. Any volunteers?
Sunday, August 4, 2002
I didn't think so. . .
Tuesday, August 6, 2002
Pain, discomfort, boredom. . . I can't sleep, can't stay awake. I hate TV. I can't concentrate enough to read. Forget writing or drawing or painting. Get Well Soon.
Thursday, August 8, 2002
One of the worst things about being infirm is having to put my needs and desires at the mercy of someone else's schedule and motivation. For example, if I want to relocate myself, say, to the porch or back from the porch to my recliner, I have to wait until someone is willing to move such things as my drink, my table, my book, the pillow I rest my leg on. Normally, if I conceived of something I wanted to do, I'd have the mental formation of the notion, then I'd do it. Now I have to formulate the verbal request to acheive what I intend, then wait for whoever I've asked this of to comply. Other people's agendas are not my own. This is very frustrating. I can only imagine what it's like to be completely dependent on others for every need. I think my first request would be my last.
Friday, August 9, 2002
Saturday, August 10, 2002
It's amazing how much better I feel after a shower. It's also amazing how many simple, everyday tasks become difficult and complex when you only have one leg and have to drag crutches around with you. Getting into and out of a car is an adventure. A shower is a complicated, multi-stage enterprise. I go back and forth between being fascinated by the whole thing and being depressed and frustrated by it.
Quote of the Day: " True art can only spring from the intimate linking of the serious and the playful" -- Goethe
If my attention span was a little better, I could take advantage of my affliction and do some serious reading and study, but my attention span is measurable only by high-precision scientific instruments.
Part of today's harvest.
Sunday, August 11, 2002
Regarding my entry of August 2, I suppose that was rather presumptious of me, wasn't it? I mean, Asking for something in return for keeping this journal going. How pushy!
I gave my neighbor, Jack, four of the habanero peppers and four of the super chilis. I gave him some of the first of the super chilis to ripen. He liked them. I hope the "habs" aren't too hot for him. Right!
Quote of the Day: "Beware the fury of a patient man." -- John Dryden, English man of letters.
In order to use my computer, I have had to tape an 18 X 24 inch drawing board to the desk to effectively extend the surface an additional foot. I put a box of printer paper with an cushion on top to rest my foot on. I had to put a solid oak toilet seat with brass fittings on the commode so it wouldn't work its way loose with me putting all my weight on one side of it to get up and down. I've stuffed a bag full of drawing materials so I can sling it over my shoulder and go. Still with all the alterations and adjustments I've made, life is still difficult and I'm not getting a lot of art done.
Monday, August 12, 2002
I either broke my little toe on my left foot today, or I jammed it up really good. All I know is, it hurts. I've been working a little in pen and ink. If I do anything worthwhile, I'll scan it and share it with everyone. By the way, don't hold your breath on that one.
Quote of the Day: "The intellectual is a middle-class product; if he is not born into the class he must soon insert himself into it, in order to exist. He is the fine nervous flower of the bourgeoisie." -- Louise A. Bogan
Louise A. Bogan (1897-1970) was an American lyric poet and critic. She wrote "Body of This Death," 1923; "A Poet's Alphabet," 1970.
I used to have this terrible dislike of the color orange. Now I'm starting to like it a lot better. It seems that at one time I also had an aversion to green. I love green now (in spite of Marshall University and Michigan State). I wonder what's going on there as far as mental processes?
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
Concerning language: Television "personalities" and so-called journalists constantly butcher English. People in the public eye who should be exemplars of proper grammar and usage instead hack the language to bits on a regular basis. I hear major network news people use "impact" to mean "effect," which it does not. If you look "impact" up in a decent dictionary, you'll see, first of all, that the most generally accepted usage of it is as a noun! The definition of the word as a verb is likely to read something like, "to pack or drive or wedge firmly together." This is not the implied meaning in the usage of most people these days. It does not mean "to have an impact on." The widespread use of "impact" in this improper way is evidence of the degenerative effect of mass communication on the way we communicate.
Another particularly bad habit of "journalists" is that of (what I call) verbing nouns. I hear more and more of people "transitioning" between one condition or state and another. I've looked in numerous dictionaries and nowhere to be found is the word "transitioning."
Of course, the worst butchery of English comes from the lips of Geraldo Rivera. While at the scene where the coal miners were trapped underground recently in Pennsylvania, Geraldo, in an inept attempt to think on his feet, and to ad lib intelligent commentary, said, ". . the workers are frantically efforting the task. . ." Oy!
Quote of the Day: "A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. " -- Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM.
I really want to stop taking pain medications, but when I try to go without, the pain is still beyond the point of distraction. I only have seven Endocet left, so that will limit my use of the drug. The unfortunate thing about that is I've been taking roughly two of them a day, and since my next doctor's appointment isn't until next Monday, I'll have to drop back to one a day and live with more pain either in the morning or when trying to sleep, or I'll have to continue my current ingestion rate until Friday and suffer through the weekend sans narcotics. I think perhaps I'll have someone pick me up some industrial strength Tylenol and see if that will help the pain enough to stretch the Endocet until my doctor's visit. Still, it's probably unlikely that he'll prescribe more of the Endocet for me, since it is a narcotic and it is addictive. What's a poor boy to do?
I've attempted to make myself as low-maintenance as possible for the duration of my infrimity. I buzzed my hair so that washing and caring for it is as simple as possible. I've tried to arrange my limited universe so as to make it easy to navigate, aggregating the things I want and need in as few places as is practical. I'm trying to look on the whole thing as an intellectual and physical challenge so as to not get despondent about my condition and limitations. In all truth, however, it sucks!
Since I'm rattling on today and pouring words on the screen at an unusual rate, I think perhaps it would be a good idea to include some non-verbal information as well. This is an ink drawing I did yesterday in one of my many sketch books. This particular book was a Christmas present (Thanks again, Pat!). This drawing was done with Grumbacher Artist's Pens.
"Arshile Gorky's Colonoscopy"
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
I got a set of four stencil brushes (1/8", 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2") today. I've been fooling around with them and water soluable pencil and crayon. I think I may end up with some neat things.
Quote of the Day: "Any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you... Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think is necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question ... Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't it is of no use." -- Carlos Casteneda, from The Teachings of Don Juan
Loads of peppers ripening. We picked a basket full this evening. There will probably be more than that by the weekend. My habaneros are lovely, a rich orange, some tending toward red. The super chilis are tiny, but red as an August sunset, and probably nearly as hot. The foliage on the pepper plants is so lush. The quantity of peppers on each plant is astounding. This looks to be a great year for Michael's IRS Audit hot sauce.
Thursday, August 15, 2002
The echinacea is about finished for this year. So are the black-eyed Susans. Ann pulled up a lot of the cone flowers and replaced them with mums. The whole garden plot looks different now. The purple flowered herb in the hexagonal bed out front is blooming again. The whole front garden is a lot lower. The tallest thing is the sunflower, but it's approaching the end of its cycle. The Russian sage is doing well. The nasturtium in front spread well, but never produced any blossoms past the first few. The peppers, of course, are doing wonderfully.
Quote of the Day: "There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. " -- Louis L'Amour
It sure is lonely being broken.
Friday, August 16, 2002
The Bush administration (and i use the term lightly) is constantly on the offensive in the current spate of class warfare. This assault on the common man started with the Reagan deregulation in the early eighties and has continued pretty much unabated since. There is lip service given to "corporate accountability" and responsibility, but nothing is changing for the better. The current administration (ibid.) is continually dropping regulations that keep corporate greed in check, and encourages "competition" while creating a business culture that increasingly narrows the field.
In just one industry (I pick one I'm familiar with), artists materials, the number of manufacturers has decreased greatly. The company that makes a lot of the products I use has been sold and merged and taken over multiple times. Competing companies have been bought up by a third party, product lines merged, products dropped. Sanford bought Berol and Design, the two major players in the art marker business. Now there is only one -- it's like Highlander: The Graphic Artist -- "there can be only one!"
Every time there is a takeover or merger, 10% of the employees lose their jobs, and 10% of the product lines get dropped. In many cases, the products change to meet the lesser standard of two merged lines. A brand of colored pencil I use is of less quality than it was before. Before, the wood halves of the pencils were matched for density and hardness and had no flaws, the "leads" were consistent and not crumbly, and the paint coating was uniform. Now, I pay over a hundred dollars for a set of pencils and I get pencils that have two different types of wood in one pencil, too soft, crumbly "leads," and flaws in the finish and shape of the pencils. Out of 120 pencils, I had at least 25 that had to be whittled down at least 1/3 the length of the pencil before they would hold a point.
Eventually, all restaurants will be Taco Bells, and contrary to what the movie portrayed, there won't be any differences in them. The kind of food served will be what the majority wants, with no concession made to those who don't like that kind of food. Eventually, like in the game Monopoly®, one player will own it all. That's the natural progression of things in a Laissez faire capitalist system. Regulation and some sort of ethical basis for business is needed if we're to continue to enjoy the diversity and variety of goods and ideas we now have, diminished from what it was already.
Quote of the Day: "In the end it is worse to suppress dissent than to run the risk of heresy." -- Learned Hand, American Judge
Today's heresy is tomorow's orthodoxy. -- © 2002 J. Michael Mollohan (if someone else didn't think of it first. . .)
My thanks to Emily and Pat, and to Robin, their intermediary for the AOL tins.
This is a chalk and pencil drawing I did a few weeks ago. It was done from an online image of a dear Aussie Yahoo chat friend of mine -- Tracy. I had to do some softening once I'd scanned it in, as the texture of the Strathmore Charcoal paper made it a lot harsher looking than it actually was.
Sunday, August 18, 2002
I've been thinking of putting a link on my bio page (Who Am I? on the main page) to a new page featuring photos of my family and friends. While I'm considering this and planning it, here is a recent studio portrait of my children, Margaret, 23, and Sean, 20 (Sean's the one with the facial hair).
"Mags & Buckoid"
Quote of the Day: "There are only two ways by which to rise in this world, either by one's own industry or by the stupidity of others." -- Jean de LaBruyere , French writer, philosopher
I go to the doctor tomorrow for my post-release from the hospital checkup. I have no idea how my recuperation will proceed from there, but I surely am anxious for it to proceed.
The influence of television and popular fiction on the English language is atrocious. The book I'm currently reading (Title and author withheld to protect the guilty) constantly uses "impact," "impacted," and "impacting" improperly. That is the one that drives me nuts. Also, a new McDonald's commercial on the tube touts their "scratch-made" biscuits. Pardon me, but isn't the expression "made from scratch?" To me scratch made would imply something entirely different. Then, again, I suppose my touchiness about the language is just a symptom of my incipient curmudgeonhood. C'est la vie!
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
Yesterday was a busy day, so I didn't get a chance to write anything here. First of all, I had an appointment with my orthopod. He removed my splint, took out the staples from my sutures -- one on the inside of my leg was about 1-1/2 inches and had two staples, the other on the outside was about a foot long and probably had 15 staples. Some of them stung a little coming out. He says I'm doing very well. It turns out I have nine screws and a metal plate holding me together. I now have a baby blue cast for the next three weeks.
My doctor reminds me of Albert Brooks. He, like myself, is an aficionado of Zebra pens. I had my pinkie toe on my left foot, the one I rammed into my crutch, x-rayed. It's broken too. The doctor told me that I should do exactly what I'm already doing for it, pad between it and the next toe with cotton to absorb perspiration, and tape the two together -- buddies! He even gave me a roll of tape to do it with. When I told the x-ray tech that my toe was at right angles to the rest of them and that I pulled it up and set it myself, she said, "You da man!"
I didn't feel much like "da man" later when we went out to have lunch. I went through the door to the restaurant and my crutches skidded on the wet floor and I went down. Fortunately, I don't think I'm injured any further. It was embarrassing and really uncomfortable lying there on a freshly-mopped, yet still not very clean floor while the people behind just walked around me. One guy in a wheelchair nearly ran over me. I'm staying home!
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
I'm not feeling too well today -- scratchy throat, lethargic. I hope I'm not getting a cold or the west Nile virus. I've been sleeping a lot.
The rest of the week, I'm going to do a quote of the day, every day by the same person.
Quote of the Day: "The individual, man as a man, man as a brain, if you like, interests me more than what he makes, because I've noticed that most artists only repeat themselves." -- Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
If you don't know who Marcel Duchamp is, you haven't been following this web page very long. Here's a good site to start your Duchamp education: Marcel Duchamp World Community.
Thursday, August 22, 2002
Quote of the Day: "I don't believe in art. I believe in artists." -- Marcel Duchamp
Friday, August 23, 2002
In a conversation with a friend, I said "Sobriety does funny things to the mind, that's why I try to avoid it
whenever possible." That sounds like a quote from Hunter S. Thompson, doesn't it? Speaking of whom, I'm reading his The Curse of Lono right now. The man's a menace!
I'm not recalling my dreams again. I was remembering them vividly while I was in the hospital on morphine. The poppy has that propensity for facilitation of dreams. In the above referenced conversation, Emily mentioned that the current thinking is that dreams are a filing system. How odd. Ever notice how "scientists" and other purveyors of theory tend to describe the workings of the brain in terms of the current technology?
"Aristotle taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain
persons." -- Will Cuppy
I didn't have a pain pill yesterday, so today I'm suffering the pangs of withdrawal. Pain pills are great things, as long as you have a constant supply and don't ever have to stop using them. I've been addicted to them half a dozen times in my life, and fortunately, it's relatively easy for me to kick the habit-- not pleasant, but easy. I think it's better to suffer the couple or three days of joint pain, nausea, slight headache and restlessness than to suffer the weeks of pain I'd have had to endure without them. I realize that, for some people, it's not a simple matter of putting down the pain pills, or the booze and suffering through the physical symptoms and coming out the other side of it relatively unscathed, but thankfully, for me, it really is that simple.
Now that I think of it, what better author to read when coming off an addiction than Hunter S. Thompson!
Quote of the Day: "The chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chess-board, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem. . . ." -- Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp quit painting for more than 20 years. During this time, he made his living as a chess player and French tutor. He achieved world class ranking in chess.
Another new picture of my kids:
Look at all that hair!
Saturday, August 24, 2002
I have good days, and I have bad days. Today is a bad day. Lots of sporadic pain, upset stomach, no place and no position is comfortable, no one home to help me with things. Lunch was crackers and a banana.
Quote of the Day: "I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste." -- Marcel Duchamp
I tried to draw or something last night. It just didn't work. I did enjoy going back through some old sketch books, though. It seems I never finish many sketch books. I get most of the way through one, then I start a new one. I've decided to pick up all the old, unfilled ones and work on them first. It's a shame to waste paper like that.
Sunday, August 25, 2002
August is quickly coming to a close. I've spent the entire month broken, hobbling around on crutches, probably doing irreparable damage to the nerves in my hand where I had the carpal tunnel surgery a few years ago. The past two mornings I've awoke with my right hand balled up into a fist, the middle finger and ring finger locked and painful. It takes up to half an hour to get them functioning normally and without pain. This does not bode well.
Quote of the Day: "The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act." -- Marcel Duchamp
I finished Hunter S. Thompson's The Curse of Lono. What a wild and marvelous book. Ralph Steadman, the artist who illustrated the book and shares Author credit with Thompson, has a facile hand with a pen. His style is a perfect match to Thompson's literary peregrinations. I love what William F. Buckley, Jr. said about one of HST's books, something on the order of: Engenders the same kind of admiration as would a streaker at Queen Victoria's funeral. What a mensch!
Monday, August 26, 2002
Thanks and apologies are the first order of the day. First, thanks to Trish, who works with my wife, Ann, for the books. I'd be bored to tears without them. Got any more? I've gone through about nine books in three weeks.
My apologies to those people I usually chat with online. I'm not able to sit at the computer for very long at a time right now. Anything more than a few minutes and my leg starts to swell and the cast gets uncomfortable. I'm hoping the swelling will subside soon. The nurse who did the cast told me that it takes up to a year for the swelling to stop for some, and for a few it never goes away. I sure hope I'm not in the latter category.
Quote of the Day: "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method. " -- Herman Melville
The Annual Charleston Sternwheel Regatta is coming up this week, starting Thursday. It lasts through Labor Day. In all truth it only goes through Sunday with the closing symphony concert and fireworks. The only scheduled event on Monday is the car show, which would go on even if the Regatta didn't. Speaking of which, the Regatta this year is taking place Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That's only four days. Originally the festival was 10 days, nine if you don't count the car show. Leave it to the powers that be around here -- any time there's something good, they manage to wreck it, pare it down to insignificance. Back when the Regatta was in full flower, a Beach Boys concert drew a crowd that rivaled Woodstock. Now, the elitist bastards here in town have arranged things so that there are fewer "good seats" and only those who come earliest and/or push hardest can truly enjoy the concerts. The puritans took away beer sales for a couple years, further diminishing the appeal of the festival, and now they've taken it past redemption. I predict that in ten years, it will be no more. More's the pity.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Lots of aches and pains today. I think it's because of the rain. Oh great! Something else to hurt when the weather changes!
Quote of the Day: "If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought - not free thought only for those who agree with us, but freedom for the thought we hate." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice
Yesterday evening Ann picked peppers and I hobbled along and watched, rather like a back-seat driver. We got a big pile of both the chilis and the habaneros. What a lovely bunch of peppers! I munched on a nasturtium blossom while we looked in the front bed. I love those things. I wish they'd bloomed a little more.
I ran across one of my asemic drawings that I don't think I've included here. In looking in the older pages to see if it was used already, I encountered some broken picture links. I guess I'll go fix them as I get the time. Anyway, here's the pic:
"18 August 2001 Asemic Shopping List"
Thanks to Amy from Australia for her one-word comment! I appreciate it.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Next time someone asks you, "Paper or plastic?" they might not be talking about shopping bags. It might be furniture. A great deal of the furniture that most people can afford anymore is either plastic or is some composite material covered with wood-grained paper. We have decimated our forests and not adequately managed our resources so that now only the well-off can afford wood. Guitars are even being made of blended woods or faux materials crafted to respond to vibration in a manner similar to wood. The time is past for conservation. We need to actively and aggressively pursue a course of restoration. Otherwise, wood will be in the homes of the wealthy and in museums, and the rest of us will have to decide: "Paper or plastic."
Quote of the Day: Both of the following quotes are from the same person: "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible." and "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."-- Albert Einstein.
Contradiction seems to be inherent in great religions and great minds. Only in small minds does one find certitude and lack of doubt or contradiction. It's a good time to read Yeats.
The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
-- William Butler Yeats
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Quote of the Day: "New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any reason but because they are not already common."
-- John Locke
I've been rummaging around in my sketch books. I found a few things. . .
Friday, August 30, 2002
On those days when I don't write of things profound, the times when I'm not ranting about inequities or injustices or things that just piss me off, it's not that I don't have things to write about, necessarily, but more likely that I have too much to write about and can't calm the waters enough to weigh anchor and sail into the tirade with cannons blasting.
Quote of the Day: "In my end is my beginning." -- T. S. Eliot
Here's an offering, a recent drawing I did while confined to my bed/chair/porch swing:
You really can't see much in the way of detail at this size, so here's an enlargement of a portion of it:
I came across that T. S. Eliot quote in two different places two days running. I took that as an omen that I should share it with others. Does anyone know where that particular snippet of the master's words is from? I'd like to try to figure out just what he meant by that, but taken completely out of context as it is, it's purely enigmatic. It could be referring to his literary reputation only beginning to soar to the heights it has on his death. It could have something to do with the cycle of birth and death, our becoming as infants in our old age. It could have any number of other meanings as well. I'd like to know what HE meant, though. I guess I could go looking in my books of quotations and anthologies for his poems and essays. That's actually not a bad idea. It's been too long since I read Eliot, Dylan Thomas, too. . .
Saturday, August 31, 2002