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Sunday, December 1, 2002
(2:10 pm)

Another month, another $7.77 -- that's what the hosting for this site costs. I've found all sorts of other, cheaper hosting deals, but none I've been more comfortable with than this one: http:/

It now looks like Notre Dame, losing bigtime to USC yesterday, may have knocked West Virginia out of the Gator Bowl. That would be a shame. What gives Notre Dame the privledge of being included in the Big East's bowl formula when they don't even belong to the conference? West Virginia was an independent until they joined the Big East conference and they got no such dispensation. Fair's fair, people. If Notre Dame wants a bowl game, let them come by it legitimately. Besides, WVU finished second in the Big East. They beat Boston College, who beat Notre Dame!!

Monday, December 2, 2002
(4:26 pm)

Whatever happened to common sense? Common decency? I was taught in elementary school to take turns and to treat others fairly. I guess the majority of people were absent that day. . .

You think there's nothing wrong with talking on your cell phone while driving? You think you're different, that you can handle the phone and the car? So did 2600 people last year who killed others because they were distracted by their cell phones.

Quote of the Day: "If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative." -- Woody Allen

West Virginia finished the regular season at number 16 on the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, and 15 in the Associated Press poll and the BCS standings. Not too shabby for a team that finished 3-8 last year. I think that had a few things gone their way this year, WVU could have beat all three teams that they lost to: Wisconsin, Maryland, and Miami. They held the lead in the Miami game until the fourth quarter. Good season guys!

Tuesday, December 3, 2002
(8:34 am)

This journal is not a record of my deepest, most personal thoughts. Were it so, John Ashcroft would have come and hauled me away long ago. It's not an intimate diary of my daily activities and a retelling of my family or professional life (such as it is). It's merely a blog (from weB LOG) of those things I choose to share with the world at large. I'm not even sure why I do it. It may just be something to keep me busy and away from less constructive activities.

If this was a diary, I'd have been telling you about my pain and depression because of the pain and how I'm trying not to take narcotics every day, and how people call wanting me to do work, then never follow through and piss me off and dishearten me. If this were about my family, I'd tell you how my wife has been having back problems that may well turn out to be kidney stones and how my son is having problems with his ear, the one he's already had several surgeries on. Did I mention my daughter is preganant with my second grandchild? Due sometime around Hannah's second birthday, I believe. No ultrasound yet. Sean says he's not going to have kids. I don't blame him, but that makes me sad too. No one to carry on the family name. I was the first son of the first son for many generations. I guess it stops with him.

Quote of the Day: "Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat." -- Anais Nin (1903-1977)

I know life.

(3:43 pm)

Happy Birthday, Ann.

Wednesday, December 4, 2002
(12:30 pm)

I'm finishing up Dean Koontz's From the Corner of His Eye. Toward the last quarter of the book, it seems like he gets more lyrical with his writing. One descriptive passage that stood out was, "The ship of night floated over the city and cast down nets of darkness, gathering millions of lights like luminous fishes in its black toils."

Isn't that nice? Earlier in the book he made a comment I applied to George W. Bush: "Evil and stupidity often go together. . . and arrogance is the offspring of their marriage."

It should be illegal to use e-mail to advertise anything. Text with links to a site would be okay as long as it was a mailing list that you explicitly sign up for, but nothing else. I get between 30 and 40 e-mails every morning first thing, and I'm lucky if 15 of them are ones I expect and have done anything to solicit. It's lucky if 8 of those are useful information and not advertising sent by someone who runs a mailing list that I've subscribed to or something similar.

Television is now putting commercials and promos on the screen DURING the shows, running scrolls on the screen and keeping their logo on the screen at all times, even if it interferes with something in the programming. It's gotten completely out of hand. I call it the NASCARing of America. Soon, everything will have ads plastered on it, even silverware and plates in restaurants, police cars, public buildings, hillsides, buses and sidewalks (already happening), maybe even the sky itself. . .

Quote of the Day: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." -- Albert Einstein

Thursday, December 5, 2002
(2:36 pm)

Woke up this morning to a white-coated world. We had two to three inches of snow/slush/ice on everything. It was quite a task cleaning off the car and clearing the driveway and sidewalks. The snow/slush/ice was of sufficient wetness that it coated the tops of tree limbs and frosted a lot of other surfaces, providing the beauty that only it can. There was one tree over next to Piedmont Elementary School that was magnificent. The streets were slushy/icy and driving is a little dicey. I had fun fishtailing around a few corners.

Saturday, December 7, 2002
(1:51 pm)

It's the last weekend of college football. The big games today will decide the bowl pictures for a lot of teams, including West Virginia. Miami should easily beat Virginia Tech to qualify for a berth in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State for the national championship. Washington and USC will decide who plays in the Rose Bowl, and the trickle down bowls. West Virginia will place second in the Big East. Pitt has already accepted a bowl. West Virginia may have to settle for the Continental Tire Bowl, which is for the 4th or 5th place Big East team. What a rip, and it's all because of Notre Dame's prestige as a college football power, and not because of their record. Have you noticed, this creeping elitism pisses me off?

It seems that every time I get on a roll, start producing art, get to thinking I'm doing something reasonable, someone, something, or some event comes along and knocks me off my props.

Quote of the Day: "The artist, like the idiot, or clown, sits on the edge of the world, and a push may send him over it." -- Osbert Sitwell (English author)

Which am I -- the artist, the idiot or the clown?

Sunday, December 8, 2002
(11:09 pm)

I've been working on designs for Christmas cards. I like to send handmade cards out every year to a few people I think highly of. This year I've been doing trees. So far this is my favorite one:

Water soluable oil pastel on w/c paper

Monday, December 9, 2002
(5:53 pm)

Here's a piece I put together using a photo my friend Sharel Brown took and a scan I did of a nice plump red bell pepper.

Two peppers doing what peppers do.
"Christmas Colors"

Tuesday, December 10, 2002
(8:33 pm)

Most of the Christmas lights are up now. The big blue spruce tree still needs something, a little more "sprucing up," so to speak, but we're getting there.

Quote of the Day: "Keep away from the people that belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." -- Mark Twain

I used to contribute regularly to a few avant garde magazines and online e-zines. I participated in mail art projects all over the world. Lately I've done very little, if anything. I don't know where the impetus went, but it went. Whenever I try to create the same kind of works I used to have published, it turns out flat and forced and stilted. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled and I still haven't found my bearings again.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Question Everything

Thursday, December 12, 2002
(11:59 pm)

Quote of the Day: "My evil genius Procrastination has whispered me to tarry 'til a more convenient season." -- Mary Todd Lincoln

Friday, December 13, 2002
(6:10 pm)

Trent "The Worm" Lott has wriggled out of another one. I suppose that's to be expected. Bill Clinton was assaulted for everything he said or did, whether there was anything wrong with it or not, but the Republicans can say or do anything and it gets sloughed off like it doesn't mean anything, whether it does or not. Nice double standard. I think some democrats need to stand up for themselves and against the Bushwhackers. One good thing, Kissinger the war criminal has stepped down as the head of the independent commision investigating 9/11.

Quote of the Day: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" -- Patrick Henry

I just finished two books by Ken Follet. One was a fairly pedestrian mystery/thriller about cloning humans, rape, murder, and subterfuge. The other, Dangerous Fortunes was an excellent historical novel set in London in the late nineteenth century. It involved the high society and the banks who financed the Westward expansion in the United States. It had the feel of reality about it and the characters were entirely believable, from noble Hugh to scheming, social-climbing Augusta. I recommend it highly.

Saturday, December 14, 2002
(11:14 pm)

Long day, but enjoyable. Poetry group. Christmas tree shopping. Dinner at IHOP. Christmas party. Long day, tired.

Quote of the Day: "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowman. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Go and study." -- Rabbi Hillel

Sunday, December 15, 2002
(11:09 pm)

This is the third try to make a journal entry today. The first two times, my computer locked up and I lost all the entry. I give up!

Quote of the Day: "I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance." -- Thomas Carlyle

I'll try to recreate the lost entry tomorrow. I'm too tired tonight.

Monday, December 16, 2002
(10:05 pm)

Well, I'm too tired again. Had a nice evening, though. Dinner at Rio Grande. Sean helped me and we got the rest of the lights on the blue spruce out front, plus the other four 100mm ornaments and the snowflake ornaments. It looks pretty good.


Tuesday, December 17, 2002
(3:35 pm)

I've been looking back over the past few months of this journal. To be honest, it's lost something. I think breaking my leg was a turning point. The fact that I've been in a lot of pain over the course of the last four, nearly five months might have something to do with it, maybe not. Whatever the reason, I've lost my impetus. Perhaps it's just the season, or any number of things. Regardless, I think I'm going to close this project down at the end of the year. Whether I continue with a web page at all is still in question. I'm pretty sure I'll keep it up until my contract for hosting expires on July 1, 2003, but after that depends on a lot of things.

I might even keep a Journal alive, but it won't be daily entries or even anything close. I might not even date the entries. I've gotten no meaningful comments, either in e-mail or on my guest book for months. No one has inquired about art or photographs or anything else in over a year. I know this page isn't a hard sell, but I'd expect to hear something!

Happy Solstice!

This is my official online Holiday card this year. Enjoy whatever winter solstice holiday you observe.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002
(10:55 pm)

Quote of the Day: "I had no love for the death's-head Hussars, nor for the mortars with the girls' names on them, and when at last the glorious days arrived, I unobtrusively went on my way." -- Hugo Ball, 1915

Thursday, December 19, 2002
(9:29 am)

I have one thing to say to the anti-war protestors. Where were you in 2000 when George the Usurper stole the election? Voting for Ralph Nader, perhaps? Maybe sitting it out because you didn't like any of the choices? The simple truth of the matter is that any Democrat would be better than Bush. He is a criminal, a drunk, a coke-head, a moron, and a dangerous lunatic. He is the product of and beneficiary of an elitist, corrupt political and secret society system that allows people to ascend to power because of their parentage and not because of any capability or potential. Just be sure that you do everything possible to assure that the little thief doesn't get reelected in 2004. Otherwise any protestations you make now are hypocritical.

Friday, December 20, 2002
(6:31 pm)

Quote of the Day: "The secret of 'fusion' is the fact that the artist's eye sees in nature . . . an inexhaustible wealth of tension, rhythms, continuities, and contrasts which can be rendered in line and color." -- Suzanne K. Langer (Philospher)

Saturday, December 21, 2002
(4:00 pm)

The whole world is run by the people who have black ties and black helicopters. It's in the hands of those who have always "owned" it. It's like Thaddeus Rains, President of the Union Pacific Railroad, told Jesse James, "The right sort of people will always run things." There's no hope for the rest of us. The only way to power is to become power. The only way to wrest control from those who have it is to become exactly like them, and they know this. That's the reason for the smug looks, the arrogant attitudes, the patronizing, the condescension.

There's a new ward in the City of Charleston, Ward 21. It's in the Quarry Creek/Foxchase part of town. The houses up there run to seven and eight figures. There's one, owned by the heiress to the Charleston Gazette publisher's fortune, that reportedly cost between $12 and $18 Million to build. The woman is married to a French airline pilot and only stays here three or four months a year. They have a villa in France too, and apartments in Paris and New York. I can see this house from my library window. It must be nice to live on top of Mount Alpha and look down on the rest of the riff raff.

The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences is nearly finished. The inaugural events will all feature music. They will broadcast Mountain Stage from there. Tickets are $35 and $25 for this one-time show. Normally Mountain Stage tickets are $10 at the Cultural Center. They were $7.00 or $8.00 when the show was broadcast from the Capitol Theater. The other concerts are one featuring Roberta Flack and Kathy Mattea, which costs $125 and $85, and the symphony concert, invitation only, black tie optional for $100 and $75 -- Guess those prices and requirements should keep the riff raff out. They should change the name to the Clay Center in the Valley for the People on the Hill, or perhaps. The Head of Gold and Feet of Clay Center for the Well-to-Do. I hear it's going to cost $15.00 to get in the building to see the art. The Sunrise collection contains one etching by Rembrandt and some minor paintings by second and third tier painters from the past two centuries. The Art Institute of Chicago costs $10.00 for an all day pass and contains more magnificence that brings tears to your eyes than can be seen in a week. Yep, keepin' the riff raff out. . .

Quote of the Day: "What we need is hatred. From it our ideas are born." -- Jean Genet

Winter begins at 8:15 this evening. Is today the shortest day or the year, or is it tomorrow? Is that a full moon up there, or does it just seem that way? Wars and rumors of wars. Christmas, the solstice, the holiday season holds little joy this year. The lights are nice though.

It started with a scan of the canvas I've had on my easel for weeks now. . .
"something leaves tracks in the snow"

Sunday, December 22, 2002
(10:08 pm)

I really want to win the Powerball jackpot on Christmas day! It's the only way I'll ever get out of this hole. . .

Speaking of holes, I wrote this poem recently. I read it at the last poetry group meeting. It's only a first draft, and I'm not sure it will ever go beyond that, but here it is:
The Effect of Environment on Human Development
I was born in a hole
it had streets and traffic lights
stores signs and houses
it had a name and thirteen
hundred souls
but it was still a hole
a place to be climbed out of
No matter how I tried
no matter how far I got
out of that hole
somehow it managed to hang on
clinging to my ankle
holding tight to me
being dragged along
an inescapable thing
an anchor weighing me down
holding me back
making me self-conscious
of the stares of people
looking at that hole
I drag around with me
Sometimes I close my eyes
and see that hole
bluer than black
a glowing darkness
radiating rage and shame
fringed with the light
of promises broken
potential wasted
a life not lived
to its fullest
Had I been born some place
else not in that hole
maybe things would be different
maybe I'd be a doctor or a
lawyer from a flat place
like Indiana or Kansas
maybe I'd be teaching at
the University of Oklahoma
or making movies in California
maybe I'd be a stock broker
in New York or Chicago
or a junkie dead from an
overdose in Seattle
The weight of that hole
is considerable and
sometimes it seems that
it gets heavier with each
passing year
it grows like a giant fungus
spreading and reaching new
parts of my life
the stink of it
swirling like cigarette smoke
in my nostrils making
me pull back and try to
avoid it
but I can't
I was born in a hole

Quote of the Day: "'Painters and poets,' you say, 'have always had an equal license in bold invention.' We know; we claim the liberty for ourselves and in turn we give it to others." -- Horace

Monday, December 23, 2002
(12:28 pm)

My cable Internet connection is down. It has been for the past 2-1/2 hours. I can't find the phone number for tech support, so I don't even know if it's just me or if the whole system is down.

Last night I taped another of the movies about artists that I like -- Robert Altman's "Vincent and Theo." I got a really good copy. Along with "Crumb," and "Surviving Picasso" this is three out of five that I want to have copies of. The two remaining ones are "Basquiat" and "Pollock." There may be others eventually, too. I'd love to have a definitive film about Warhol, but I'm not sure one exists. There are plenty with people assoicated with him as the central character that are good, but I don't know of one that focuses on him and his life that does the man or his art justice. I'd love to find films on Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Jasper Johns, Chuck Close, de Kooning, Motherwell, Rauschenburg, Duchamp, Dali and others. So far the only ones I deem worthy of keeping are the five in my list. If anyone knows of any other good films about artists' lives, send me an e-mail (there has to be an e-mail link around here somewhere).

(1:17 pm)

Well, Charter has the Internet connection back up. Now if they could just sell some more advertising so we wouldn't have to watch their promotional spots all the time for services we already have or don't want. Their idea of interactive television (". . . that's because I am I and that's what I do!") is really pathetic. They only have about 25 cities on their "interactive" weather channel i-tv thingie, and the closest ones to here are Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Pitiful.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002
(7:45 pm)

It' been a long 38 hours. I woke up yesterday at 6:30 AM. I didn't get back to be until 10:00 this morning. I slept until 1:30 this afternoon and got back up and back into it again. All night last night I was wrapping presents. I did some interesting things with ribbon, twine and other things to tie them up with. Ann and her sister Kris went shopping at two am last night. Ann and I went out again this morning, picking up a few last minute things. I made a medium sized batch of deviled eggs a while ago. They're pretty, almost too pretty to eat -- key word being "almost." I'm tired, I hurt, and I'll probably sleep late in the morning, since there are no kids at home anymore.

Sean, Margaret, Jerry and Hannah will be over for Christmas dinner. We should have a good time. I'll be glad to see it come to its conclusion, though. The holiday season wears me down and packs a few extra pounds on me. This year we were good and didn't make or buy any cookies and candy. I'd like to thank Jack, our neighbor across the street for the beautiful coconut custard pie. It's delightful.

Next year I'm getting a red tee shirt and sweat pants to go with my Santa hat.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002
(7:01 pm)

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 26, 2002
(4:30 pm)

Bah! Humbug! Someone from Scott Depot, who says his life will not be altered by the $111 Million dollars after taxes, won the Powerball jackpot. Let me tell you, if I won that much money, my life would substantially change. So would a lot of other people's.

Christmas was okay. I'm tired though. I need to get more exercise, but I'm so tired and my leg hurts when I'm active for any length of time. I can't win.

Okay, Santa, I've had it with you. I didn't get one single thing on my list. Not one! Zero! Zip! Zilch! Nada! Not even the socks. I did get a bowl from Emily and a cup to match from Ann. I got a shillelagh and a barrister's lamp. I got some nice things from Pat in California. But nowhere under the tree was a single thing from Santa, nor was there anything on my list (See November 15 entry). I don't know what I did that makes you think I was a bad boy, Santa, but let me assure you that I have not had my day in court. The Summons should reach you later this week.

Saturday, December 28, 2002
(2:47 pm)

Today has been a terrible day. West Virginia lost bad to Virginia in the first ever Continental Tire Bowl. We were ranked 13th in the country with top 10 hopes. Not anymore.

I sliced off a bit of my middle finger on the left hand with my chef's knife, chopping onions for my (soon-to-be) world famous bean soup (see April 24, 2000 entry). The soup turned out pretty good. Not my best ever, but pretty good.

We took the Christmas tree down. The lights outside are still up. I'll have to wait until my son or one of his friends stop by to get on the porch roof to help me. With my bum leg, I can't get out there.

Molly Ivins had a selection of quotes from her "quote box" in a recent column. I'd like to share one with my reader(s).

Quote of the Day: "We honor ambition, we reward greed, we celebrate materialism, we worship acquisitiveness, we commercialize art, we cherish success and then we bark at the young about the gentle arts of the spirit. The kids know that if we really valued learning, we would pay our teachers what we pay our lawyers and stockbrokers. If we valued art, we would nor measure it by its capacity to produce profits. If we regarded literature as important, we would remove it from the celebrity sweepstakes and spend a little money on our libraries." -- Russell Baker (1987)

. . . and in a logical world, men would ride sidesaddle.

Sunday, December 29, 2002
(11:08 pm)

I've been thinking what form this web site will take after the first of the year. I still haven't decided. I may try some writing experiments or do something artsy or interactive. I just don't know. I'd like to continue with it in this form, but I feel like it's worn out. I've pretty much scanned all the paintings, drawings and the like that are small enough to fit on the scanner. I've gained enough expertise with the camera to continue to put photographs up, but money is so tight I can't afford to process the five exposed rolls I already have. Somehow it will continue at least until July. After that, I really don't know.

Monday, December 30, 2002
(11:48 am)

Well, my car is licensed for another year and has a full tank of gas, so what does it do immediately after filling it up? It starts cutting out, backfiring and spitting out black smoke. I had to coax it and nurse it to get it the two miles back to the house, and that took over half an hour. Not good.

I think I figured out why my mental processes have come to a halt, why I can't think straight anymore. It's because of my leg. Usually when I'm creating, when I'm generating ideas, I'm pacing. I also pace when I talk on the phone. Now since it hurts to walk, I don't pace. Therefore, I don't think, can't come up with ideas, and can't wait to hang up the phone.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002
(8:49 pm)

The End

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