Saturday, February 1, 2003
It's such a sad day. We should never name another space shuttle with a name beginning in "C." Sometimes in times of great sorrow, I come up with the most ridiculous things to say.
Sunday, February 2, 2003
In all the activity or a normal Sunday, my granddaughter coming by for a visit, and some art activity and some quiet reflection on the Columbia disaster, the threat the Bush junta poses to the world, and other things to occupy my time and mind, I didn't notice -- did that stupid groundhog see his shadow or not?
Here's a recent picture of my granddaughter, Hannah. you can see the "terrible two's" starting to leak out around the eyes. . .
Tuesday, February 4, 2003
The weather has been nice the past couple of days, so naturally I feel like hell. It was in the mid-sixties yesterday and I only got outside twice for less than half an hour. I think not having a working car is weighing on my psyche, too. Before, when I was feeling a little down, I could get up and go somewhere. I could go browse the clearance rack at Michael's, visit my friend, Jack, at Pro-Art, go cruise the stalls at the flea market, drive up to Sunset Park and just sit and look down at the city. Now when I'm feeling low, I just sink into it.
I have a birthday coming up at the end of the month. Is there a birthday fairy or does Santa handle requests or how does that work. No one ever told me. I guess that's why my birthdays have been so sparce in the past. . .
I just got back from seeing Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine." I can't say enough about this movie. If you haven't seen it and have the chance, by all means, do go see it. It's been called "the greatest documentary ever filmed" and, while I wouldn't say that unequivocally, it is in the top two. While he investigated why we in the United States have more gun killings by a factor of 10 than all the other industrialized nations of the world combined, he really never got to any answers other than fear, the media, and politicians. I think the problem is too many churches. On thing that seems to amaze Europeans who visit here for the first time is how many churches there are. They don't quite understand the necessity for them. To tell the truth, neither do I, unless it's to keep us cordoned off into little groups, denominations, cliques, to keep us afraid of each other. I think the innate rudeness of unbridled capitalism has something to do with it, too. These two things and the unwillingness of the powers-that-be to accept differences in people all combine to create an alienation, a frustration, a desperation that can only be expressed as muzzle flash.
Thursday, February 6, 2003
This magazine business is turning out to be a bigger task than I had at first imagined. Today I found another stack of mail art material, most of which go into the first three issues. There is a considerable stack of entries for the "Cash 'n' Carry"" project that I had already scanned 85 pieces for. I think there are probably another 35-50 yet to be added to this total. This will be a rather large assortment of pieces for your perusal. I'm not sure how to present the magazine yet. As soon as I have it worked out, I'll start the file transfers and coding necessary to make it all work. Bear with me (or bare with me, as the case may be. . . ). I'll be making the pictures a little larger than the ones I usually put up here in the journal pages. It is art after all.
I have been revisiting some older art that I've done. I'm thinking about whether I'm done with certain styles and phases of my art, or whether I want to explore some things a little further -- things I had previously left behind.
I've also been writing (elsewhere) a little about the end of painting as an art form. It seems to me that painting has just about been exhausted as a legitimate means of artistic expression. The twentieth century seemed to wrap it up and put a bow on it. Is there anything else to do as far as painting goes? Or will art continue in other directions and painting end up like drawing, as a handmaiden to collage, film, construction, and other collaborative and multiphasic works of art? It's something to think about.
Friday, February 7, 2003
AT the beginning of the Julian Schnabel film, "Basquiat," the narrator, Rene Ricard, intones over the opening scenes,
"Everybody wants to get on the Van Gogh boat. There's no trip so horrible that someone won't take it. The idea of the unrecognized genius slaving away in a garret is a deliciously foolish one. We must credit the life of Vincent Van Gogh for really sending this myth into orbit. How many pictures did he sell? One? He couldn't give them away. We are so ashamed of his life that the rest of art history will be retribution for Van Gogh's neglect. No one
wants to be part of a generation that ignores another Van Gogh."
"In this town one is at the mercy of the recognition factor. One's public appearance is absolute. I consider myself a metaphor of the public. I am a public eye. I am a witness. Part of the artist's job is to get the work where I will see it. When you first see a new picture, you don't want to miss the boat. You have to be very careful because you may be staring at Van Gogh's ear."
It may well be that Jean-Michel Basquiat has paid all the retribution for Van Gogh. I'm not sure there is a lot of similarity between the two men. Vincent was interested in humanity, whereas Jean-Michel was interested in being famous and getting high. His arrogance had an edge of innocence to it, or perhaps ignorance, and was very charming, but it was still arrogance. Vincent was the most self-effacing of men. He was convinced of his talent and his purpose, but he was not arrogant in the same way as a drug-saturated Basquiat.
Anyway, the investors have taken over the art world, and they care not a whit for great art. They only care for what they can create a market for, and the advent of Basquiat and others of the same era and ilk have made it easy for them to tout whatever they care to as "great" and demand high prices, while anything innovative is likely to be overlooked or outright rejected. And forget any real value being assigned to art now until the artist has died of an overdose, self-inflicted gunshot wound, or tuberculosis or AIDS. I predict it will be more and more difficult for artists to gain recognition in their lifetimes now that the bean counters and hucksters have gained almost complete control of the art world.
Sunday, February 9, 2003
I've been busy in an artistic sense the past few days. I've been making gift boxes for birthdays and general giving. I've made faux textured leather boxes, covered boxes in mica. I built a small pyramid and will cover it in mica as well. I have a plywood panel on my easel (such as it is -- it's an old rickety student easel and I really wish I had something better, since Santa didn't see fit to bring me the Winsor & Newton radial easel for Christmas) primed and sealed and ready to paint. I've been keeping sketch books close at hand, but not really drawing much in them. I've also been writing thoughts about art in a nice notebook I got for Christmas a few years ago -- just hadn't decided what to use it for until now.
I babysat with my granddaughter, Hannah for a few hours Friday. What I wouldn't give for that kind of energy and wonderment at the world! In a few months I'll have two granddaughters to teach me wonder and innocence again.
I want to thank Holly for the B. B. King tickets for my birthday (Holly's my son's sigoth (my shortened version of "significant other")) -- nested parentheses, you'd think I was writing a LISP program. . . Holly asked me this evening why my brushes and knives, other painting tools, and the general area where I work isn't coated with paint. Her mom is an artist as well, and when she paints she gets it on her implements and the immediate area. I have gotten paint on several pairs of shoes, most of my tee-shirts and the floor covering I put down to protect the hardwood floor. Many other artists I know also get paint all over the place, too, particularly on their brush handles and knife handles and the like. I don't know why I don't. I'm just a little fastidious with my tools. It's probably admonitions from my grandfather to always keep my tools clean, and a keen awareness that every brush I ruin by not keeping a close eye on its cleanliness will be one that probably won't get replaced in a timely enough fashion. I really don't know why. Something else to think about.
Monday, February 10, 2003
In 1938 ninety percent of the American people wanted to stay out of the war in Europe. Today, nearly an equal number are wrong about war, too, but in an opposite way. The last I heard, 70% were in favor of war with Iraq. Something needs to be done about Saddam Hussein, but I don't think raw aggression is it.
I never thought the United States would become a right wing Fascist state. I guess I was wrong. All the news media have been taken over by right wing and fundamentalist concerns. The Supreme Court was packed with conservatives in the 80's so they could give the presidency to their boy in 2000. Will we remember Bill Clinton as the last elected president? Welcome to the new Roman Empire.
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
I'm not sure why I didn't present this collage as soon as I had finished it. I think I wrapped it up around the same time as the one I posted the detail of on January 15 (see Archives).
It might be that I really didn't like that collage much at the time I finished it. I suppose it's kind of grown on me -- an acquired taste, so to speak. Now, I wonder what I did with it and if I have a frame of suitable size. . .
Thursday, February 13, 2003
Never have I been prouder to be a West Virginian. Following is a speech made yesterday on the United States Senate Floor by the Senior Senator from West Virginia, Robert C. Byrd.
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Reckless Administration May Reap Disastrous Consequences
To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war.
Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.
We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war.
And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world.
This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future -- is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN Charter. And it is being tested at a time of world-wide terrorism, making many countries around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our -- or some other nation's -- hit list. High level Administration figures recently refused to take nuclear weapons off of the table when discussing a possible attack against Iraq. What could be more destabilizing and unwise than this type of uncertainty, particularly in a world where globalism has tied the vital economic and security interests of many nations so closely together? There are huge cracks emerging in our time-honored alliances, and U.S. intentions are suddenly subject to damaging worldwide speculation. Anti-Americanism based on mistrust, misinformation, suspicion, and alarming rhetoric from U.S. leaders is fracturing the once solid alliance against global terrorism which existed after September 11.
Here at home, people are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur. Family members are being called to active military duty, with no idea of the duration of their stay or what horrors they may face. Communities are being left with less than adequate police and fire protection. Other essential services are also short-staffed. The mood of the nation is grim. The economy is stumbling. Fuel prices are rising and may soon spike higher.
This Administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be judged on its record. I believe that that record is dismal.
In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion over the next decade and taken us to projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This Administration's domestic policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition, under funding scores of essential programs for our people. This Administration has fostered policies which have slowed economic growth. This Administration has ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health care for our elderly. This Administration has been slow to provide adequate funding for homeland security. This Administration has been reluctant to better protect our long and porous borders.
In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to find Osama bin Laden. In fact, just yesterday we heard from him again marshaling his forces and urging them to kill. This Administration has split traditional alliances, possibly crippling, for all time, International order-keeping entities like the United Nations and NATO. This Administration has called into question the traditional worldwide perception of the United States as well-intentioned, peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the patient art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling of the sort that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our leaders, and which will have consequences for years to come.
Calling heads of state pygmies, labeling whole countries as evil, denigrating powerful European allies as irrelevant -- these types of crude insensitivities can do our great nation no good. We may have massive military might, but we cannot fight a global war on terrorism alone. We need the cooperation and friendship of our time-honored allies as well as the newer found friends whom we can attract with our wealth. Our awesome military machine will do us little good if we suffer another devastating attack on our homeland which severely damages our economy. Our military manpower is already stretched thin and we will need the augmenting support of those nations who can supply troop strength, not just sign letters cheering us on.
The war in Afghanistan has cost us $37 billion so far, yet there is evidence that terrorism may already be starting to regain its hold in that region. We have not found bin Laden, and unless we secure the peace in Afghanistan, the dark dens of terrorism may yet again flourish in that remote and devastated land.
Pakistan as well is at risk of destabilizing forces. This Administration has not finished the first war against terrorism and yet it is eager to embark on another conflict with perils much greater than those in Afghanistan. Is our attention span that short? Have we not learned that after winning the war one must always secure the peace?
And yet we hear little about the aftermath of war in Iraq. In the absence of plans, speculation abroad is rife. Will we seize Iraq's oil fields, becoming an occupying power which controls the price and supply of that nation's oil for the foreseeable future? To whom do we propose to hand the reigns of power after Saddam Hussein?
Will our war inflame the Muslim world resulting in devastating attacks on Israel? Will Israel retaliate with its own nuclear arsenal? Will the Jordanian and Saudi Arabian governments be toppled by radicals, bolstered by Iran which has much closer ties to terrorism than Iraq?
Could a disruption of the world's oil supply lead to a world-wide recession? Has our senselessly bellicose language and our callous disregard of the interests and opinions of other nations increased the global race to join the nuclear club and made proliferation an even more lucrative practice for nations which need the income?
In only the space of two short years this reckless and arrogant Administration has initiated policies which may reap disastrous consequences for years.
One can understand the anger and shock of any President after the savage attacks of September 11. One can appreciate the frustration of having only a shadow to chase and an amorphous, fleeting enemy on which it is nearly impossible to exact retribution.
But to turn one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely destabilizing and dangerous foreign policy debacle that the world is currently witnessing is inexcusable from any Administration charged with the awesome power and responsibility of guiding the destiny of the greatest superpower on the planet. Frankly many of the pronouncements made by this Administration are outrageous. There is no other word.
Yet this chamber is hauntingly silent. On what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of the nation of Iraq -- a population, I might add, of which over 50% is under age 15 -- this chamber is silent. On what is possibly only days before we send thousands of our own citizens to face unimagined horrors of chemical and biological warfare -- this chamber is silent. On the eve of what could possibly be a vicious terrorist attack in retaliation for our attack on Iraq, it is business as usual in the United States Senate.
We are truly "sleepwalking through history." In my heart of hearts I pray that this great nation and its good and trusting citizens are not in for a rudest of awakenings.
To engage in war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always be a last resort, not a first choice. I truly must question the judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked military attack on a nation which is over 50% children is "in the highest moral traditions of our country". This war is not necessary at this time. Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put ourselves in a corner so quickly. Our challenge is to now find a graceful way out of a box of our own making. Perhaps there is still a way if we allow more time.
The preceding is the text of a speech by U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, delivered on the U.S. Senate floor February 12, 2003. See above for fair use declaration
Friday, February 14, 2003
It just occurred to me that I could have been putting labels on every single entry here all along, so that my reader(s) could access any individual entry by using the date, i.e., http://www.ide-a.net/current/index.html#2003feb14, http://www.ide-a.net/nov02/index.html#2002nov22, and so on. Then it occurs to me, that making this retroactive and ongoing would require a complete restructuring, since November and December 2001 entries live in directories (folders, for the new arrivals) called "part4" and "part5" respectively. Also, the months subsequent to those are in directories named appropriately, "jan02," "feb02," "may02," etc., but August of 2002 is named "august02" while September's entries reside in "sep02." No mention is made of the fact that the entries prior to November 2001 live all the way down in http://www.ide-a.net/archives/new/catch23/diary/december00 and similar abodes. This is so because I was lazy and in a hurry when I was restructuring my site and I tried to accommodate the relative addressing already inherent in the html files.
"And all of this means what to me?" you ask. . . Never mind.
In case you hadn't noticed, there has been some progress on my magazine page. The 23 on the main page now points to
which is my personal web space on the Charter server. Setting it up this way will allow the magazine to operate as a more-or-less independent entity, as well as being tied directly to this site. The main page link that used to read "Other Places" and pointed to the links page now reads "Potpourri" and points to the page that "23" previously pointed to. The link to the links page is now on that accumulation of miscellaney. I hope this isn't too complicated for you. . .
If you want a look at what the main page of the magazine will look like, you can (for the time being) Click Here. The information on this page has nothing to do with the magazine or its contents. The text is just there to give an idea what the finished product will look like. There will likely be changes before it arrives at its final form. I'm not sure whether the first issue will be March or April. Like I said in on a previous day, there's more work involved that I had at first assumed. Thanks for sticking around.
Saturday, February 15, 2003
I've been working hard all day, trying to get my new magazine page put together. I have the main feature finished. Now I have to decide what else to include and put those pages together and build the main page to tie it all together. It looks like it should all be ready around the first of the month. I'm still looking for someone to write an introductory essay about mail art. Any volunteers?
Sunday, February 16, 2003
Normally, we get a few appreciable snowfalls every year. This year has been no exception. However, we do not normally get any appreciable precipitation in the form of ice. Today we have at least 3 inches of ice on the ground. The governor has issued a state of emergency. What will we think of to have fun next?
I guess the B. B. King concert is off for tonight, since the state of emergency bans vehicles other than emergency vehicles, and there's no way either I or B. B. will walk to the Municpal Auditorium.
It's a good day to thaw out some of that bean and ham soup in the freezer.
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
The weather has created a mess around here. In Jackson County, there are about 60,000 people without power for the third day in a row. I understand that entire runs of power poles have snapped under the weight of ice. There are broken trees, flooding, ice, and thanks to George Dubya, the 1092nd Engineering Battalion that usually helps us take care of these disasters is not here. They're on the way to fight a needless war against Iraq. And, again, thanks to George Dubya, the communities are out of money, the economy is as big a disaster as the weather, and state money will be diverted to disaster relief and away from the other necessary social programs.
We need a regime change. But not in Iraq. Impeach Bush now!
Thursday, February 20, 2003
It's been a long, strange day. I've been helping my son put together a presentation package including a demo CD of some of his musical compositions appropriate for film or video soundtracks. It's been fun, but a little crazymaking, too.
I've been doing some artwork, too. I've mostly been doing some little thing, more craft than art, and working out what to do on the plywood panel I have on my easel. I really want to get downtown sometime soon and pick up a few things, too. I need a few colors and some other things. I've been reviewing materials for my magazine site, too. I think I have a couple of poetry submissions that I'll use and maybe an essay or two.
I got a nice book as an early birthday present from a dear friend today, too. That was a nice surprise.
Saturday, February 22, 2003
I would have sworn I made an entry here yesterday. Thursday, I accidentally stepped on the cat with my bad leg and hurt it again (leg, not cat). So, yesterday I broke down and took pain pills, so I guess my perception of things were a bit skewed. I have my poetry group scheduled for today, but I really don't feel up to going. In the nearly two years it's been going on, this is only the third one I've missed, and all three have been because of injury. Katonya, the group's founder, called a while ago. She's not going to be there, either. Apparently she had to stay at the college to teach a second session of whatever it is she's teaching today because they had more people show up than one session could accommodate.
I had planned on going by a friend's house today too, to deliver a late birthday present and some other things, but I was going to ask Katonya for a ride, since it's really too far for me to walk right now. Damn! I guess it's pajamas in the daytime and coffee spoons, CNN and hydrocodone. . .
I need to call down to Pro-Art. Actually, I need to go by there. Maybe my son can accompany me one day next week. Life in the slow lane, without a car, really sucks.
The magazine page is coming along pretty well. I'm sorting through submissions and trying to decide what additional materials to include. I've not uploaded any changed pages in about a week. I got tired of people e-mailing me, telling me this link doesn't work, or the text on that page is the same as on the index page, or your index2.html needs to be changed to index.html. People! I know all this. It's under construction. If you go to index.html it will tell you this and redirect. If you're looking at anything through any route other than through the index file, expect glitches. It ain't ready for prime time, yet.
Sunday, February 23, 2003
I only wish I'd thought of it myself:
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Birthday's coming up quick, so's March. I haven't felt well the past few days so I haven't worked on the magazine. I have a lot of material but I can't decide what to use. I don't want to start out with low standards. I have some poetry to include that I think is pretty good, but I'd like to get more to choose from. Oh well, maybe once it's going, I'll get a larger contribution base.
Birthday wish list: Car, Canon EOS-1Ds, a leg that doesn't hurt, original Van Gogh painting. . .
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Today is my first girlfriend's birthday. She is two days older than me. Our love affair took place mainly before grade school. Vickie had rheumatic fever and missed a whole year of school. She spent most of the year in bed. I visited her often. I remember feeling so helpless just sitting there. If you're still living, Vickie, Happy Birthday.
I laid awake most of last night. I composed long passages concerning my early childhood to put here to share with my reader(s), but now that I sit here, fingers on keys, none of it comes back to me. I don't think the Vioxx is working as well on me as the Celebrex did. Once I run out of Vioxx, I think I'll check to see if it's okay to switch back. The myriad little aches and pains are a large part of the reason I can't sleep lately.
It snowed again. It's still coming down, in fact. A while ago while I was out clearing the sidewalks, a young woman walked by. She had the prettiest eyes.
Friday, February 28, 2003
What with a lot of eyestrain and conjunctivitis, I've not been able to use a computer screen much over the past week or so. The launch of 23 Magazine will therefore be delayed somewhat. I'll say March 10 as the launch date just to give myself a little cushion. I have only notified a few of the contributors whose material I'm using, but I will notify everyone prior to going "live" with the magazine.
Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday greetings, whether by mail, in person, via e-mail or online cards. They were all great!