Saturday, January 1, 2005
Well, nobody killed me, so I guess no one cares enough to have me "taken care of." That's probably because I pose no kind of threat to anyone. It's nice to be so insignificant. *sigh*
Quote of the Day: "It's never too late to become what you might have been. " -- George Elliot
Well, West Virginia is perfect in Gator Bowl appearances: 0 and 5. Damn! Why can't we win one? We played well. It was just a few lapses and Rashid Marshall playing hurt that did us in. We should have beaten Florida State.
Florida State 30 -- WVU 18
I wonder if Jay Leno is going to have the wrath of the FCC down on him for last night's performance by Motley Crew when Vince Neal yelled out, "Happy Fuckin' New Year!" I love live television.
Sunday, January 2, 2005
I've got chili in mind for dinner. Chili is the one thing preventing me from being a vegetarian -- well, chili and scallops, that is. I love scallops. Would you believe that almost no place in the area serves scallops, other than occasionally at The Southern Kitchen and in "Happy Family" at Chinese places. I'm sure Red Lobster has them, but probably not to my liking and almost certainly too expensive, as are the specialty seafood places. Captain D's and Long John Silvers have never to my knowledge had scallops. Why is that? I love scallops. I'm sure other people do too. It's probably like everything else in this world anymore -- they aren't profitable enough.
Emily tells me that the Fresh Seafood Company locally has scallops either to eat there or to take home and prepare yourself. Yum! Thanks, Em.
I did make chili for dinner. It was good. It was a little vinegary from having to use pickled jalapeños because the Delaware Street Kroger only had sweet peppers in the produce section. I should have gone to Ashton Place Kroger or Foodland. They seem to always have fresh hot peppers.
Monday, January 3, 2005
I've spent my life resisting the efforts of my betters to put me "in my place." I've always believed that intellect and sensitivity should count for something, contrary to the opinion of the people who think I should shut up and "accept my lot." Well, it's not going to be that way, ever. I'll always point out to those who cross my path that what they're doing is rude, mean, ignorant, elitist, or inconsiderate. I expect the same in return. I usually get it, too.
Quote of the Day: "What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? " -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, French philosopher (1712-1778)
I grew up poor in a single-parent household at a time when being a single parent, no matter what the reason, was seen as "sinful." My mom got an allotment check from my dad, who was in the Navy, until I was 15. Then she finally divorced him and got alimony in the amount of the allotment for a few years, until he decided to stop paying it. Mom worked sewing other people's custom-made clothes, prom gowns, uniforms, and other garments that we never wore or saw unless it was on her dressmaker's mannikin. I never had a father around to teach me manly things and to show me how to manage money. Until I was in high school, I never really had any money of my own to manage. Now, this lack of training weighs heavy on me. I still have very little money of my own to manage, not that I'd do so well with it if I did have any. I have been the Treasurer of two small corporations in my time, though and did a competent, if not brilliant, job of it both times. My tenure as Treasurer was short in both instances, though. Maybe I just didn't have enough time to really screw things up.
I was treasurer of my Boy Scout troup, too, and I did manage to screw that up enough to have to take a Grit route to fix the problems. I never kept sufficient records, and the Scoutmaster thought there should be more in the treasury than there was (some people didn't pay their dues, me included), so I had to do the honorable thing and make up the difference. The Scoutmaster acted as mentor and helped me get things straight. The treasury was in good shape by the time I left Scouting.
My childhood was lacking in a lot of areas, but creativity was not one of them. I was very young when I used to watch the Winky Dink and You program, where you put a plastic sheet (which you had to buy from the show) over the television screen, and draw the lines in the color specified as the host put them on the screen. After giving the audience time to trace the line, it would disappear before the next line appeared, leaving what you were drawing a mystery until enough lines were in place. I remember enjoying the thrill of discovery and the pride of learning how to do line drawings, albeit primitive ones. I remember watching "The Jon Gnagy Show -- Learn to Draw" when I was a little older, and getting the kit for my birthday or Christmas. I did the exercises over and over, using the back of old wallpaper when I ran out of the manila drawing stock that came with the kit. Eventually, I got the "Learn to Paint" kit and the "Master Art Studio" from Mr. Gnagy as well. Fast Forward to 1973 -- At WVU, I took an Art Appreciation course, as part of my core requirements for a degree. I probably didn't go to the class a dozen times. I aced the course, primarily because old mid-term and final tests were floating around, and the instructor didn't change much over the years. If I had it to do over, I'd go every day and pay close attention. I've bought and gone through several self-instruction art books, none of them extensively. I've paid more attention to art history, at one time even going through most of the collection from the state library commission library. That is a complete summary of my art education. I suppose, nowadays, like any other "job," being an artist, and being successful at it, requires formal training, a degree, and the ability to schmooze extensively. Guess I'm left out of it again. . .
Wednesday, January 5, 2005
I had to go back to the doctor yesterday. My sinus infection is back. Now I'm on antibiotics again for another 10 days. The PA also prescribed Musinex for me and gave me a nasal injector antihistamine. The antibiotics can't be taken within two hours of a vitamin or mineral supplement, so now i have to take my vitamin at 6 PM instead of with my regular pills at noon. I think it's this house that's making me sick. So cold, damp. Probably has mold growing under the carpet and behind the walls.
Quote of the Day: "It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely. " -- Leo Buscaglia, author & university professor (1924-1998)
I'm trying, Leo. I'm trying.
My son came up with a new use for my chili last night. He made chili cheese nachos using the chili, con queso salsa and chips. Oh yeah, he doused the whole thing with Cholula hot sauce. Positively yummy.
I still haven't gone to the seafood place for scallops. The only time I have had lately to go there has been at the dinner hour, which coincides with rush hour and all the white flight refugees are clogging the Interstate and route 60 trying to get home to their white bread suburban homes. I say, if you're going to work in the city, live in the city. If we had a lot of the middle class people who've fled city taxes and minority presence and parking problems back living in the city, it would be a more vital place. People could take the bus to work from the residential neighborhoods, thereby creating more of a demand for mass transit, lessening the crowding on the streets and highways, and increasing the frequency of bus availability. It would make things nicer for everyone. But, no, they have to live in Cross Lanes or St. Albans or Winfield and create massive traffic problems. This white flight has also caused an anomaly in the demographics, creating a heavier concentration of minorities and poor, although with the price of rent these days, this may be a passing thing. When you have a concentration of poor people, you have an atmosphere of hopelessness, especially when everything ends up costing more for those least able to afford it. Then you get violence in reaction to the desperation, and you get crime, gangs, and all the other ills that befall a decaying inner city. The powers-that-be seem to think that the solution to the problem is gentrification, the building of upscale housing, venues for high-priced events, and other amenities for the well-to-do. I think I heard it called "keeping the riff raff out." This is not the way. All this will do is create resentment and an increasingly smaller population. We're on the verge right now of not having sufficient resident population to call ourselves a city. It's a bad thing when 53,000 people live here, but at any given time in the middle of the day there are 300,000 or more people within the city limits.
Thursday, January 6, 2005
At an early age I was interested in Alchemy, then Chemistry. I got a chemistry set for Christmas before I was ten, and by the time I was ten I'd sold greeting cards of sufficient quantity to earn the biggest chemistry set there was. I supplemented the chemicals and equipment from the stocks in grocery and drug stores. Back then, you could buy quite an array of chemicals off the shelves, things like sulfur, tartar emetic, glycerine, xylene (usually found at hardware stores), sodium hydroxide, and many more. I experimented with different things, keeping detailed logs of what I did. When in Junior High School I got my hands on an old chemistry text and actually learned the theory and mechanics of the subject, along with stoichiometry and the other math I needed. By the time I was allowed to actually take a chemistry class, I was already far ahead of the rest of the students, even in the labwork. I had not had access to full strength reagents like concentrated acids and the like, but I did understand their properties. After one semester in college, I left chemistry behind, but throughout my life I've used the remnants of my knowledge to experiment, mostly with paint formulations. At one point I even worked for a paint manufacturing company and did some research and formulation. Chemistry is both a science and an art and I was at my happiest when I was probing the unknown (to me), manipulating materials, and being amazed at the results.
Quote of the Day:
"The things he writes or I indite, we praise--
For poets, after all, are lonely men
Singing a bit to themselves, but more to each other--
Hoping that fellow there will recognize
A bit of himself in this pale groping brother."
--Alfred Kreymborg; The Lost Sail: A Cape Cod Diary; Coward-McCann, Inc.; 1928.
Poetry has become both a commodity and a rare gem not available to the average individual. The academics claim poetry as their own and exalt it and make it obscure and difficult, not accessible but to those with advanced degrees and positions in schools of importance. Diametrically opposed to this position on poetry is the new movement of DEF poetry à la Russell Simmons and the whole Hip Hop universe. Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes lies a vast body of work written by self-annointed poets of every stripe. Along the edges, with perhaps more claim to legitimacy than any of the others lies the land of the visual and avant garde poets. Although self-annointed, like many of the others, the visual poets keep pretty much to themselves and don't ask that anyone appreciate or even understand their work, other than those already so-inclined to do so. Poety is a vast sea of detritus, with the occasional gem sinking to the bottom where you won't see it unless you look very hard. It's a pile of stinking garbage with the rare bit of gold catching its glint from the sun. Poetry is the most difficult of literary forms, yet so many people make the assumption that they can do it. Most proclaim that poetry is more about feeling than language. Sorry, it's not like that at all, but just try to argue the point.
Poetry can be a common connection among vastly different people, but in most cases it's just the glue and not the substance of the relationships. Nearly all poetry written is shit, pure and simple. Rarely there is a little cleverness and erudition in it, but that just makes it clever shit or learned shit. Even some of the so-called contemporary "greats" of poetry just write polished or painted shit. Poetry is so difficult that I sometimes wonder if I'd recognize it if I saw it.
Friday, January 7, 2005
Since the record of nearly 31,000 hits on this site in November, things have dropped off sharply. Last month there were only around 20,000 hits and this month the pace will yield only about 16,000 hits. I guess I got a lot less interesting around the holidays, eh? Not even my clever little Christmas card drew much in the way of traffic. It didn't even make the top 30 of URL's visited on my site. Go figure!
Quote of the Day: "We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers. " -- Seneca, Roman philosopher (4 B.C.E.?-65 C.E..)
Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, now flooding on the Ohio River near here. Unusual weather all across the country. God's wrath for (re-)electing Bush? He's the most smarmy, inept, arrogant, smirking, ignorant son-of-a-Bush I've ever seen. He can't admit to errors of any kind, since God ordained his Presidency, I suppose. Never has anyone ever so richly deserved impeachment, but that will never happen since he has a majority of like-minded (I use the term, mind, loosely) individuals in both houses of Congress. I wonder who the stupid bastard will nuke before he gets out of office? You think maybe Jeb will make a run for the White House in 2008?
Looking to the future, I really don't see much of one. Work is scarce or non-existent. My wife's jobs are rather tentative at the moment. My son can barely make his car and insurance payments on what he makes. The price of everything seems to be going up. I'll have to stop eating the low-fat deli meats and buy the stuff that costs less and has about 50% fat. I'll have to try to keep my 14 year-old minivan on the road for as long as possible. We'll probably have to move into a trailer out along some flood-prone creek if we're to be able to afford the rent. I'll have to keep the heat off during the day and either go hang out somewhere there's heat or stay in bed all day, wrapped up in blankets and several layers of clothing. At some point I'll have a helluva yard sale. I've tried to get a regular job since 1994, but it seems I'm always the second choice. Know what they call the person who's come in second for over 30 jobs? Unemployed! The last actual job I had was a temporary position. It would have gone to a permanant one, but I didn't have reliable transportation at the time, and I could hardly rely on public transportation or riding with someone. Additionally, the job was in Nitro, and every morning I'd go there and immediately my eyes would water and burn, I'd start sneezing, and I'd get a headache. As soon as I got five miles away, it would all clear up. Now with my bum leg, I can't even consider any low-level positions for most of them require a goodly amount of being on one's feet. What's that leave? Pimping? Drug dealing? Bank robbery? Don't care for the retirement plans there.
Saturday, January 8, 2005
I used to write a lot, mostly journaling, sometimes poems and essays. I used to paint a lot too. There was rarely a time when I didn't have at least one painting in process, and most of the time several. I had idea on top of idea. I had no hope of holding onto them long enough to get around to executing them all. One written passage would bring forth ideas for a dozen more. One painting started on would spawn ideas for a score of other paintings. I kept notes as best I could and brought the ideas to fruition as best I could, but mostly it was a frenzy that brooked little in the way of notation and planning for the future. I created and created and went on about my life.
Now my only writing seems to appear here. I haven't painted anything in well over a year. I've done some small collage work and visual poetry, but honestly nothing much since we moved to this house. This house seems to suck everything from me. It only allows small efforts in keeping with its stature. I can change the light bulbs in the ceiling fans standing flat-footed on the floor. One of my son's friends who's well over six feet tall, has to duck down at every door and under the ceiling fans. Everything in this house seems to be at some scale other than 1/1. Even my ideas come slow and in reduced scale. Most of my books are in boxes in the attic. I have no place to set up my laboratory to experiment with paint formulations and other arcane matters. I don't even have floor space enough for my easel. I have two chairs, one for this computer desk, and one for my drawing table, but the space is so tight that there's only room for one of them and neither will work for the other. I guess I could jack up my computer desk. Our bedroom is small, with barely room to navigate around the queen-sized bed. They probably didn't have queen-sized beds when this house was built (I'm being generous in calling it built -- more like cobbled together). The sink in the bathroom is minuscule and closer to the floor than any place I've ever lived. It's so damp here, too. Must have originally been built for a small colony of dwarves.
Quote of the Day: "Some help others in order to receive blessings and admiration. This is simply meaningless. Some cultivate themselves in part to serve others, in part to serve their own pride. They will understand, at best, half of the truth. But those who improve themselves for the sake of the world -- to these, the whole truth of the universe will be revealed. " -- Lao Tzu (c.604-531 B.C.E.)
I just finished reading Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. It's the first Robert Langdon book, the one before The Da Vinci Code, which I am re-reading now. I have his other novel, Deception Point, too. I like his writing style a lot. His books are scavenger hunts with puzzles at every turn. I enjoy them greatly, much as I enjoyed Poe when an adolescent and Hawthorne when a young adult. I had some profound insight to share with the world earlier just when I'd finished the first book, but now it has receded into that place where great ideas not immediately acted upon go. I know it had something to do with technology and anti-matter and social change. Oh yeah, that's it. The book stated that our spiritual development has been outpaced by our technological progress. I have to agree with that. We are barrelling along at a logrithymic pace, yet our ability to use and understand the technology we create and our ability to place it all in the proper perspective cannot keep pace. By the time we understand the moral, ethical, social, and other aspects of a new technology, it has advanced past the point where this understanding will suffice. I think I've said this before. We have to slow down and allow the human side of things catch up. What good is a new version of something every year to 18 months if the people using the technology can't keep up with it? Is it right to sell version after version to people at inflated prices and them not have the time to figure out how best to apply each version to their own needs? I have bought every other or every third version of some graphics packages, and have still not understood all that I can do with them before the next version I need to buy comes out. It's getting to the point where the most important aspect of technology seems to be making money for the creators of it. This is an ethical non-sequitor. We need to slow down.
Sunday, January 9, 2005
Speaking of slowing down, the hits on this site certainly have. We're down now to a pace that will only net about 15,000 by the end of the month. I've been paying attention to my site statistics closely because I was concerned about some of my readers, particularly those in areas affected by the tsunamis. I've heard from regular, albeit anonymous visitors from the Seychelles and Malaysia so far, but my regulars from the Maldives have not been heard from. I do occasionally get hits from India and Indonesia, and rarely from Thailand, but the island nations are the ones who seem to like my site. I even get hits from the Netherlands Antilles and other little known island nations.
I guess the self-referential material, the autobiographical drivel and the lack of graphics so far this month have probably contributed to the fall-off in viewership. Oh well. I do this for my own purposes, and answer pretty much to myself only, so I'll do what I do and if people are gracious enough to read it, fine, if not, oh well. Still, over 15,000 hits in a "slow" month from over 40 countries is nothing to scoff at. Still, I wish that some of the people would contact me, letting me know who they are and what they like about this site that keeps them coming back month after month. I tried for donations. Well, that went over like a bus bolted to the floor. I've begged for comments before to no avail. I guess I'll have to remain isolated, knowing that people are watching without knowing who or why. That drives me crazy.
Quote of the Day: "If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it. " -- Lucy Larcom, American poet (1826-1893)
I'm already nearly a third of the way through The Da Vinci Code again. It's reads so well that I gobble up large portions of it at a sitting. I can't wait to finish it up and start the next one. I have stacks of books to read.
Last night I did several pages in my small sketch book. I try hard to come up with something, but the ideas just aren't there anymore. I've been out and about more lately, interacting with people, hoping that would stimulate my imagination, but so far, not much. I hang out some at Pro-Art, hoping to have a dialogue with other artists, but mostly I encounter idiots and dilettantes. Every now and then I run into my friend, Robin, and that is always a nice conversation, and sometimes I see old friends, but usually then the conversation leans toward catching up instead of art. I saw an old friend Saturday, and I nearly didn't recognize him. He seemed a more than a little "off" and he'd lost weight and hair and spirit. I suspect either a stroke or Alzheimer's. What a shame. I suppose I should expect more encounters such as this as my friends age. It's funny, my friends tend to be older than me or younger. It's a rare thing for me to have a friend my own age. There are a few, but by and large 'tis not the case.
"Part of the mantel in my studio"
Left to right, you see the edge of paper and board storage atop my filing cabinet, an electric pencil sharpener, an aluminum tube that I painted sometime in the early 90's, two glass vases with my feather/quill collection (the two objects in front are lab scale half kilogram weights, to the bottoms of which I have glued pieces of felt -- these are used as weights to hold things in place while I work on them), a close-up photograph of an eye that I found in a magazine and mounted, behind which is a jar with seed pods inside, a blue candle in a crystal hgolder, and a milk-glass vase with various dried plants. The painting behind is my David Lee, of which there is another view elsewhere in these pages. Some day I'll put the whole thing here. I'd like to sell it, as it is quite vaulable (between $9,000 and $13,000 according to the best estimates I can find on the Internet).
In addition to the Dan Brown books, I've been reading the Taschen book on Yves Klein. The book was a gift from my friend Paul Steele, in appreciation for my help with his haiku mailings. Klein was an interesting character. I think I'll have to finish the book and probably read some more about him online before formulating an opinion about his place in art history. All I can say so far is he seems to have been an individual of extreme and likely destructive intensity. In that respect he reminds me a bit of Modigliani. His 'art' is nothing like Modigliani's, at least on the surface. More to come.
Monday, January 10, 2005
I've been reading more in the book about Yves Klein. I sense a kindred spirit. Some of the things his muse has inticed him to do, mine has as well. I've painted with nude women pressed directly on canvas, done large nearly monochrome paintings and other works, used the forces of nature including fire to create art. We diverge in places but there is a greater congruity there than I would have originally imagined being only cursorily aware of his oeuvre.
Quote of the Day: "One should be like untamed fire, gentle and cruel; one should be able to contradict oneself. Then, and only then, can one truly be a personified and universal priciple." -- Yves Klein
It's a fact, people spell like they speak. So many people are unaware that there are two words: then and than. Many, especially New Yorkers, say things like "I'd rather do this then that." I'd say there are some out there as well who say things like "I'll do that, than I'll do this." English is a dying art. I'll be one of the last to defend her, I suppose. Television and Illegal Immigration are killing English.
"Tools of the Trade"
Two artists who left town to pursue their careers are back. Charlie Hamilton, who used to be a neighbor and friend, was in North Carolina, where he went to school, but is now back, doing his thing in Charleston once more. Charlie's art adorns a lot of public places in Charleston, the most visible being the Drum baffle on Mountain Stage. George Snyder is likewise back in town, exhibiting at local galleries. Some of George's cylindrical works can be seen in various venues about town, including the atrium of Charleston Area Medical Center's General Division. Both are colorful in their art and their personalities. It's good to have them back.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Part of the statistics I have available to me for my site is a list of the top search strings that result in hits on my site. I noticed that "Bus Station Grill Charleston" is one of the things someone was searching for. I'm really sad that it closed down. Rarely did I get the chance to eat there because of the price, but I did get a few comp meals when my niece was lobbying them to hire us as publicist and wonk. One of my favorite entrées was their blue-cheese stuffed tenderloin medallions. They were a far cry better than the T-bone I had last night at Shoney's. Of course, they cost three times as much, too.
Quote of the Day: ". . . every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith -- acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove. Every religion describes God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration, from the early Egyptians through modern Sunday school. Metaphors are a way to help our minds process the unprocessable. The problems arise when we begin to believe in our own metaphors." -- Dan Brown, spoken by the Robert Langdon character in The Da Vinci Code.
I finished The Da Vinci Code and started on another of Dan Brown's books, Deception Point. So far it is nothing like the other two, both of which were in the "Bourne" genre. They're like a marriage of Robert Ludlum and "The Gold Bug" by Edgar Allen Poe. I thoroughly enjoyed both books. I rather wish I'd read Angels and Demons first, though. The one thing that disappointed me with both books is that the protagonist and his lesser female partner (which is what makes them of the "Bourne" genre -- among other details) were pretty slow on the uptake when trying to figure out the puzzles, riddles, and clues (oh my!). I could have sat in Leigh Teabing's parlor and figured out the rest of the clues. In fact, I did on first reading of most of the clues. I'm an aficionado of such puzzles, so it's perhaps easier for me than for most, but the people in the book were supposedly experts in the field, one a symbologist and the other, in the case of the second book, a cryptologist who was raised by her grandfather who threw conundrums at her in a steady stream. Oh well.
The traffic on this site is steadily dropping off. I wonder if I'm not interesting anymore, or people got really busy and don't have time to browse, or if they all have SAD and can't bring themselves to do anything. Maybe January is just naturally slow. I know I slow down in winter. . .
Thursday, January 13, 2005
As hard to imagine as it might be, right now in Charleston, West Virginia on the 13th of January, it's 73 degrees! Wow! And by this weekend (two days away, mind you) the nighttime lows will be in the teens! I can smell the aches and pains coming on now.
Quote of the Day: "Great leaders never tell people how to do their jobs. Great leaders tell people what to do and establish a framework within which it must be done. Then they let people on the front lines, who know best, figure out how to get it done. " -- General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
I should go outside and enjoy the weather a little bit. I don't really know what I want to do out there, though. I suppose I could find something to take photos of, or just go for a nice drive with the window down. I'll probably just go out on the porch and read.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Any month that begins on Sunday will have a Friday the 13th. This must be a very lucky year (for someone!) since it has no month that begins on a Sunday, therefore no Friday the 13th's. I wonder how rare that is? [CORRECTION: May has a Friday the 13th this year. I somehow overlooked it.]
Quote of the Day: "Doubt grows with knowledge." -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
What are the three native American plants causing the most harm to our health? No, marijuana isn't one of them! How about tobacco? No argument there, right? The other two would be potatoes and corn. Potatoes contribute largely to our national obesity problem, mostly in a positive answer to the questions, "Would you like fries with that?" and "Would you like to super-size that?" The corn is a little more insidious. For starters, it's been at least suggested that grass-fed cattle cause less of an elevation in cholesterol levels than do corn-fed ones. Add to that the high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks and you have the trifecta of bad health. The Natives gave the invading white man these "gifts." I suppose it's a fair trade for booze, measles, and smallpox. . .
Bonus Quote of the Day: "Doughnuts & coffee since 1937" -- Krispy Kreme motto
The weather has completely changed since yesterday at this time. 24 hours ago it was 73 degrees with a heat index of 77. I'm not sure how high we got. Today the temperature is 37 with a wind-chill of 32. From a high of 77 yesterday to a low tonight expected to be 23. If you add the two together you get 100.
"Now, why did he mention that?" you might ask. Well, the number 23 has long been associated with many arcane theories and suppositions. It's associated with the Eris-worshiping (?) Discordians, the subGenius Church, the Illuminati conspiracy writings of Robert Anton Wilson, numerology buffs, and other Masonic-distrustful lunatic fringe groups and individuals. 77 is its compliment. I've found that both numbers "follow" me around. At one point the 23's were flying so fast and furious that I started a collection of them. As for 77, the occurrences of it started my first semester at WVU. My meal ticket number at the dorm was 77. I acquired several other instances of that number throughout that semester. When they issued the second semester's meal tickets, once again I got number 77, and they were issued on a first-come, first serve basis, not according to name or room number. I polled several other people on my floor, being paranoid about the number by then, and not a single person had the same number as the previous term except me. During the summer session, I moved from the dorm to an apartment -- 77 Mason Street. Talk about being spooked! 77 and Mason!! Whoa! In the 31 years since then, both 23 and 77 have followed me, 77 being a somewhat lucky number.
I'd go into the numerological significance of the two numbers, alone and in combination, but I don't recall how all of it goes and I don't think the subject is important enough to spend time researching it, although it is fun to dig through the sources that would lead me to the information.
Here's what I call a temporary collage. It's an aggregation of materials into a collage-like form on the glass of my scanner. The assemblage is then scanned and the pieces removed and redistributed to other uses or the trash can.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
I read in the paper this morning about GWB's inaugural. Thousands of heavily-armed military troops. Anyone think this isn't a fascist country now? The administration is also taking $12 Million of the District of Columbia's Homeland Security funds for security for the inaugural. This much security tells me one thing. This man should not be president.
Quote of the Day: "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group or any controlling private power. " -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR's wartime inaugural consisted of a luncheon featuring chicken salad. No big ceremony, no ball, no parade. GWB should take his clue from a real president.
Graphics software is just too expensive. I'm eligible for upgrade prices on Corel and Adobe packages and still they're outrageously priced. There's no reason for them to be so costly other than greed. If they lowered the prices, they'd sell more and probably make more money, but they cant seem to get a grip on that notion. Actually, a lot of things are too costly. Most of it is related to middle-men. Something else I've noticed, too. The law of supply and demand seems to have been repealed. Nowadays when something is in less demand, instead of the price dropping as supply and demand would dictate, the price goes up so that the company makes the same amount of money on fewer items sold. Is this nuts or what?
Monday, January 17, 2005
It just keeps getting better and better. Now the Coast Guard is going to patrol the Kanawha River with machine gun-equipped boats. 31 out of 34 members of the West Virginia State Senate and our new governor are anti-abortion and probably pro-tort reform. The West Side Neighborhood Association in Charleston elected officers and board members. All are either corporate-types, city housing officials, or business owners. The jaws are closing my friends. Fasism has come to America!
Quote of the Day: "There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it. " -- William James
And there are those who steadfastly refuse to hear or see the truth, no matter how stark its appearance. American values allow for a $30 Million donation to help tsunami victims and spending $50 Million on a second-term inaugural celebration. Those are values I can live without. If you can accept this as being okay, then your values are for shit. I'm tired of trying to placate conservative assholes who think they are better than liberals simply because they go to church on Sunday morning and make decent money and have a good credit rating. You're fools and pawns of the fascists. Wake up before something happens to one of your loved ones that forces you to understand. Get your head out of your own ass long enough to realize that we have a Junta in power and they will NEVER relinquish that power until forced to do so by the will of the people. Bush and his handlers are both dastards and poltroons, alternating stupid and mean.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
I keep putting my Taschen book on Yves Klein aside and trying to absorb what I've read. It's an amazing thing to me how similar in thought processes and the "evidence of art" we are, and how dissimilar in many other ways. A lot of the things Klein was doing in the 60's, I was doing in the 60's with no notion that somehow I was connected to the greater world of art. Klein had the luck to be born in a cosmopolitan part of the world where his art attracted attention, whereas I was born in Gassaway, West Virginia, where people saw my art and just thought I was weird. I remember in 1963 there was an "art train" that came through Gassaway as part of the year-long West Virginia Centennial celebration. It was a few old passenger cars with the seats removed, windows panelled over and lighting provided for the paintings and other artwork. I really recall only two pieces from that train. One was the piece picked to be the Centennial Prize. It's called "West Virginia Moon" and it raised a lot of furor. People must have expected something like a Ray Harm duck painting or something smarmy like Thomas Kinkade. This was an abstract construction piece, made of old lumber from an outhouse. It was striking, at least to me as an adolescent. The other piece that sticks with me after all these years is a Jackson Pollack piece. I think it was "Composition" with a number. Anyway, it was one of his 'drip' paintings. I stood and studied it for a very long time. Somehow I felt a connection to something greater than myself, something greater than Gassaway or even West Virginia. I knew that I had something in me that touched the collective unconscious, even though at that time my awareness of Jung was still a couple years off. I felt art other than my own and I knew I was doing something reasonable.
I've picked up my Klein book again, in case you hadn't guessed. I think Klein was a compliment to Duchamp. The book says that Duchamp was the more cerebral of the two. I'm not sure this is necessarily true, but it is true that Klein was more etherial, more spiritual, while Duchamp was earthy, physical, and perhaps even more intellectual. Klein said something that resonated with me. I've long maintained that art is a process; that the finished piece is merely evidence of the crime -- that the painting or collàge is just the bones of the actual art, which is, in fact, a process, not a product.
Quote of the Day: "My paintings are the ashes of my art." -- Yves Klein
I think my inactivity due to my injury is probably why I've not been as inspired as I once was. At the peak of my creativity, I was walking a lot, down by the river, socializing with other malcontents, and having a lot of sex. Now, I'm alone most of the time, can't walk more than a few blocks without major pain, and well, let's not talk about the sex. . .
"No Static At All"
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Someone once close to me had a son die unexpectedly in his sleep on New Year's Eve. Parents should never outlive their children. It's a terrible state of affairs. It's frustrating, too, as it's impossible to know what to do to help with the pain and hopelessness someone in that position feels. All you can really do if offer what comfort and succor you can, and pray if you're so inclined. In such times I try to keep firmly in mind that life is a wheel and it comes around again and again until you are aware enough to be off the wheel. It takes you to the heights and then it crushes you. This is a crushing time. Things will come 'round again. It's like the ring the great Persian King asked his wise man to make, one with an inscription that when read would make the King aware that in good times that eventually travail and hardship would come, and in times of travail and hardship that they would eventually dissipate and be replaced with times of peace and enjoyment. The wise man crafted the ring with the following sentence: "This too shall pass."
I know such homilies are of little comfort to someone in the throes of the agony of such a loss, but it's really true -- things eventually do get better, even if you don't want them to, and there's no reason for attaching guilt if one day you feel good about your life again.
Quote of the Day: "True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance. " -- Akhenaton
I am or was close to three people who've lost sons at the beginning of their adulthood. It tears at my heart. I also grieve for those young men who come back into this country from Iraq and Afghanistan and other parts of the world we're not told about in body bags. The death of promise, I call it. It's bad. It's not as bad as those who come back in pieces or so badly damaged physically or mentally that instead representing a hope for the future, they are the embodiment of despair and resentment. No one should have to be killed or maimed for the misguided notions of GWB, Mr. Cheney, Obergrupenfurer Rove, and Marshall Rumsfeld. No young person should have to die, ever. I know that will never be the case, by my wish will always be so.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
What ever happened to the old flat, rectangular solid fish sticks made from minced fish like they used to serve us in the school cafeteria? I've looked and looked and apparently it's easier to make cylindrical fish sticks, and the coating is lumpier, not the uniform, thin bread crumb coating of the originals. I used to really like those fish sticks, and now I can't find them. I even checked the discount grocery, figuring that would be my best bet, mais non! Not even Sav-A-Lot had them. I still have Foodland, Fas-Chek, and Aldi's to go. I hold little hope, however. Some things just seem to get improved out of existence.
Another product I used to really love as a child was Vietti brand pork barbecue. It had a unique flavor that I really enjoyed. Over the years, they kept adding more and more textured soy protein to the mix, and using cheaper bits of pork, but still the sauce was the same and I still liked it better than any other brand. Now, Vietti in their MBA wisdom has changed the recipe to taste pretty much like any other barbecue on the market, albeit with even more of that nasty smoke flavor than most. It's horrible. Nothing you can say to these people will deter them, either. They need more market share, so they'll lose their base in order to try to appeal to a larger segment of the consumer market. I hope they fail miserably. Same with McDonalds. They grew their business one customer at a time. I told them they can lose it the same way. I'm tired of fast food places being inconvenient and expensive, while appealing to the least common denominator in society. It sickens me, if the food doesn't.
Quote of the Day: "I'm not enjoying fighting over there. It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. " -- Voltaire (1694-1778)
Isn't it true, though, people keep "improving" things until no one wants to buy them anymore? They keep coming out with new, improved versions of everything and the poor soul who doesn't like what the majority does is left out in the cold, simply because the manufacturer wasn't satisfied with making a profit; they wanted to make a killing. I really think this attitude will change at some point. I just hope I live long enough to see it. I don't mean the small batch mentality either, where an exorbitant price is charged for a commodity because of its rarity. I mean larger concerns making consumer-priced goods being willing to cater to a niche or a smaller segment of the population. Let us pray.
Friday, January 21, 2005
Today is Jack and Jill day. It's the birthday of Stonewall Jackson, Jack Nicklaus, Wolfman Jack, and Jill Eikenberry
Quote of the Day: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity. " -- Martin Luther King Jr.
I'll bet you have no idea who I thought of when I saw that quote, right? *snicker*
It snowed last night. I think I'll put up a page of snow photographs later today. For right now, here's the view across the street:
"How can something so pretty be so cold?"
. . . of course I've asked the same question about some former girlfriends. . .
Saturday, January 22, 2005
It snowed, the snow got rained on and melted, the sun went down, it snowed. Here's pretty much what things look like from my front door:
I've been so down the past couple of days, since the Inaugural Regurgitation. Bush in the White House again sickens me.
Quote of the Day: "Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy. " -- George F. Kennan, 1987
Since the American economy requires a steady turnover of goods to assure adequate employment and the profit that provides the heady steam that maintains the forward movement, we have to be at war almost constantly. Go back and read the first few chapters of George Orwell's 1984. More and more it just looks like he was just 20 years off the mark. He didn't take the 60's into account.
Monday, January 24, 2005
There are some things that are just better than others intended to imitate them. Pepsi and Coke are both imitated with little success at attaining the same quality. Dr. Pepper has a multitude of imitators, some better than others. In fact there's a web site or two comparing the Dr. Pepper taste-alikes. From time to time, when I run across an ersatz that warrants a try, I'll post it here as product of the day.
Product of the Day: American Faire Cleansing Cream -- This K-Mart product is smoother and gentler and in most respects better than the original Noxema. I've tried several store brands that attempt to imitate the original, and this is by far the best, better than the Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid, Walgreen's, and CVS versions.
It's once again time to resume my "Bathroom Window" series of photographs. Here's one from the other day:
"Jack Frost Comes Visiting"
Quote of the Day: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. " -- Alvin Toffler
I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but I finished the Taschen book about Yves Klein. He died of a heart attack at the age of 34. What a terrible shame. I think he was still searching when he died. He probably was startled that he was mortal, and disappointed that he wasn't able to continue his quest. I'm not sure he knew what he was looking for, but he seems to have had a better idea than most.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
I just don't feel like doing this today. I didn't feel like it yesterday either. I wonder if I'll feel like it tomorrow? I think the reason I don't feel like it, or like doing anything for that matter, is that my equilibrium is off. I feel like I did when I first started taking one or the other of my medications. The wooziness went away after a couple days. One other medication I was on for a while, it never went away. I hope this is just temporary. I haven't changed medications though. Now if I can just keep from toppling over. . .
Quote of the Day: "Beauty is not diminished by being shared. "
-- Robert Heinlein
Today is Wayne Gretzsky's birthday. He's 44 (and I thought he was 99. . .). I miss hockey.
I worked for a short while today at Pro-Art, covering for a small emergency and a day off. When Tracey came back we talked about the (lack of a) hockey season. We miss hockey.
Saturday, January 29, 2005
The DVD drive on my computer is possessed. It won't open when I want it to, and pops open by itself whenever it feels like it. If I put a CD in it, it doesn't want to open at all. It sits there and makes noises all the time. If there's a CCD or DVD in it, it opens and closes and locks the computer up and refuses to act anything like a drive at all!
Quote of the Day: "Art. . . is not some inspiration that comes from who knows where, takes a random course, and presents nothing but the picturesque exterior of things. Art is logic per se, adorned by genius, but following the path of necessity, and informed by the highest laws."
-- Yves Klein, diary 1958
It's cold and damp today. It's raining. We're supposed to have above freezing temperatures for the next four or five days. I'm not sure whether I prefer ice cold rain or snow. Hands down it's snow if I don't have anywhere else to be.
"Things Are Not Always As They Appear"