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Sunday, June 2, 2002
(11:48 pm)

I went to the Rhododendron Arts & Crafts Festival today. I didn't care much for the excessive volume of the gospel quartet. I don't much care for that kind of music to start with and it was up so loud that you had to yell to be heard as close as a hundred yards away from the music. The West Virginia Symphony holds its Symphony Sunday on the same day, and the Allied Artists have their outdoor display there, so the forces are divided. I think it quite arrogant of the symphony people to schedule on the same day as the longer running Rhododendron Festival. It smacks of the petty cliquishness and elitism that most of the cultural endeavors around here exhibit.

Wednesday, June 5, 2002
(10:42 am)

Planted the beginning of an herb garden last night. It was still 81 degrees at 10:00 last night. I was soaked in sweat and covered in mud by the time I was done. Got some impatiens and a spikey thing in a pot on the porch too. The impatiens were Ann's idea. The spikey thing was mine.

We got an elephant ear for the back, next to the ferns. The gardens are starting to look good. Tomato plants are growing well. Some of the dahlias and petunias in the hexagonal bed in the front are dying. I don't know why. Too much water? Too little? Bad soil? Bad drainage? Too close to the sage bushes?

I've been thinking about art a lot lately. I keep seeing these art critics and historians writing about paintings, and they attribute things to the work and to the artist that I'm not sure have any validity whatsoever. It seems like they draw from whatever the current psychological theories are. I'm not sure that's a valid way of looking at art. Art is not a pathology. A lot of times people overlay art with their own psyches and presume to place intent on the artist where none may exist. I'm sure art has much to do with the subconscious, but, as in dreams, the symbolism is most likely personal and, unless the artist is playing the audience with clichéd symbols, not open to outside interpretation, only appreciation.

Here's a shot of the rhododendron blossoms I've mentioned previously. I never got a good shot of the whole plant, but this will give you an idea and I think this is a more artistic shot anyway.

The one on the left facing my house. (C-069)
"Magenta on Green"

Thursday, June 6, 2002
(10:53 am)

After three days of 90 degree heat, today it's raining. I killed off all of my pepper sprouts yesterday. I spritzed them, put the plastic back over the box and took them out back where I was going to plant them. Unfortunately, in my infinite stupidity, I sat the box on a table in the sun. They cooked, just like boiled spinach. I tried to revive them to no avail. This morning I pulled them up to reuse the containers. What roots! Damn, these would have been really good pepper plants. Now I have to go to the market and buy some that are already started. It's too late to start more from seed.

I put a bunch of seeds in pots this morning -- fennel, pampas grass, cosmos, thyme, basil (you can never have too much basil), and sage. Next spring I may plow up most of the back yard and put in a lot of vegetables.

Quote of the Day: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. " -- George Bernard Shaw

Everytime it rains I hear firetrucks go by. Seems a bit odd until you think about it. Rain-slick streets-car wrecks-danger of fire-firetrucks. . .

Across the street, a fitting sentiment for the times.
"The house across the street"

The above photograph is the most reasonable sign I've seen in a house or a yard lately. Mostly there are signs promoting one or another selfish agenda (Build the East End Ballpark or Stop Urban Renewal) or supporting a political candidate. This one applies to us all.

Friday, June 7, 2002
(9:46 am)

Is it really Friday already? Where does the time go? Is it really the third millennium already?

So much bothers me lately. King George the Usurper is following a plan very similar to Hitler in his consolidation of power. I fear we've seen our last free elections. Local politics and cronyism have taken their toll. I see so may empty lots on the East End of Charleston. The city is slowly being chipped away, moved out of town to Putnam County and out Corridor G. We used to have a nice city. Now we have a big town with chain stores, chain restaurants, and lots of parking lots for the people who work here but live in Putnam County or Cross Lanes.

Last night I dreamed I'd died. I hate dreary, rainy weather.

My granddaughter was a year old on May 18. She had her first chocolate cake -- a whole one all to herself. . .

Hannah figured this cake thing out real quick. . . (C-070)

Sunday, June 9, 2002
(11:10 am)

I think everyone should sign up for Michael Moore's e-mail list. I also think everyone should visit his web site as frequently as possible. Michael Moore is the Mark Twain of our time. Some people have dubbed Mark Russell with that title, but he's a poofter, a vacuous bit of political humor, nothing to step on anyone's toes. Mr. Moore has the courage of his convictions and a clear vision as to what is going on in our society. He has the proper ire and indignation to go after what he thinks is wrong, to amplify it, to point it out with huge blinking, buzzing neon arrows and signs, to rally the people to clear the decks and hold the bad guys accountable. Michael Moore for President!

Cubert Smith's pot (C-070)
Detail of a pot by Cubert Smith

Monday, June 10, 2002
(8:42 am)

Our air conditioner froze up Saturday night. I left it off to thaw and drain from Saturday midnight until about an hour ago. Now it doesn't seem like it's producing any cool air, and the air flow seems lower. Maybe it's just removing the moisture from the air and the cooling will come shortly. I hope! I don't know if I can stand another struggle with the property management people right now. They still haven't done anything about the roof or the ceiling in the sun porch.

Everyone is thrilled that Mike Tyson got his clock cleaned Saturday night by Lennox Lewis. They all call him a thug and try to prevent him from fighting in certain venues. I don't get it. In a sport where the stated goal of the endeavor is to beat your opponent into unconsciousness with your fists, why should anyone be surprised that a thug rises to the top? Makes as much sense to me as "Professional" backyard barbecue tools. "You mean I can get paid for that!?!"

Tuesday, June 11, 2002
(11:25 pm)

Here's a shot of my daughter and granddaughter that I liked. I've converted it to a high contrast black and white.

Margaret & Hannah (C-069)
"Replacement Parts"

Wednesday, June 12, 2002
(9:49 pm)

If anyone has tried to e-mail me today, please take note my mail server is down. I've tried to reach the people who run the physical machine to get them to restart it, but apparently their mail is down as well. Hopefully by morning it will be back.

Penicillum mold on cornbread (C-070)
"The Surface of Europa"

Thursday, June 13, 2002
(9:05 pm)

Quote of the Day: "In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place."" -- Mohandas Gandhi

Thinking about art again. . . what is it? Is art over? Has it all been done? Is painting finished? Do we have to go into animation, installation, filmmaking to be valid as artists? Is the quest finished? Sometimes I wonder. The 20th century explored art extensively. The impressionists thought they were the farthest point on the curve. Little did they know! Maybe I'm suffering from the same thing? Maybe I'm limited by my own lack of vision, and can't see past the present. I don't know. I feel artistically constipated.

West Virginia State Capitol dome, close up (C-070)
"Another in the quest for the definitive shot of the Capitol."

Friday, June 14, 2002
(12:09 pm)

My gardening is coming along nicely now. The echinacea is starting to bloom. We have so much of that! The lone volunteer sunflower is getting tall. My pepper plants all seem to be doing well, except one super chili that doesn't seem to want to get any taller. It still looks healthy, though. The nasturtium I planted doesn't seem any bigger either. My 48 habanero plants are prospering. The tomato plants are getting big and already have tomatoes all over them. The volunteer tomato plants are still small, but I expect them to get pretty big before it's over too. My herb garden is coming along nicely. I'm also sprouting some more basil and thyme plants and some sage, chives, and fennel. some cosmos, and maybe some pampas grass.

The rose moss Ann planted in the pot with the citronella and that little fuzzy purple blossomed plant is growing like crazy. So is the citronella and the little fuzzy purple blossomed plant. I think something will have to move. Probably the rose moss. The rest of the rose moss is doing well everywhere we planted it, as are the petunias and impatiens. The minature pansy I found in the flower bed and transplanted into a pot is producing flowers on almost a daily basis. The begonias, dahlias, and ivy geranium are keeping the color going. My garden is one of earthy delights. Next week, I'll have pictures.

Monday, June 17, 2002
(8:44 am)

I found (again) some interesting information about our peerless leader:

"Throughout the Bush family's decades of public life, the American press has gone out of its way to overlook one historical fact that through Union Banking Corporation (UBC), Prescott Bush, and his father-in-law, George Herbert Walker, along with German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, financed Adolf Hitler before and during World War II. It was first reported in 1994 by John Loftus and Mark Aarons in The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People."

For the complete story see: The Heir to the Holocaust article at Clamor Magazine

The Republican Party is going to try to make the elimination of the Inheritance Tax the feature of their upcoming congressional campaigns. This means that greater fortunes (like the Bush family money) will be passed along to twits like George W. The elimination of the tax will not help anyone except those people who have multiple millions of dollars to pass on to their heirs. The entire purpose of the tax originally was to prevent the accumulation of great wealth across generations. It was to redistribute the money so that other people would have a better chance of getting some of it, so that the government could do good works, like fixing our roads and bridges, building public buildings and the like. Now, the Right Wing wants to eliminate the tax so that their ilk can accumulate and hang on to more and more wealth and the rest of us can go piss in the wind.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002
(10:59 pm)

Somehow, among the 48 habanero pepper plants I put in, there were some "volunteer" plants. Some of them, I'm not sure what they are yet, but three definitely appear to be nasturtiums! And just when I was wishing I'd bought more. I don't recall praying, but my wish was answered.

Yesterday and today, I got to spend a sizeable amount of time with my darling granddaughter, Hannah. She's 13 months old today. We took her to dinner at Eat 'n Park. She flirted with everyone there. She played with some crayons I bought for her and rearranged the porch furniture. What a kid!

I suppose I'm obliged to do a major series of art works with Staedtler Karat watercolor pencils now. Michael's is apparently discontinuing that line and had them at deep discounts. I bought two of the 48 color pencil sets for $13.00 each (regular price $45.00) and two of the 20 color Karat watercolor crayon sets for $6.00 each (regular price $20.00). That's $130.00 worth of materials for $38.00. Not bad. Now I have to get busy and use them. I already has a 24 color pencil set (which I gave to my son) and one of the 20 color crayon sets. I wish they'd had the 30 color crayon sets. I may have to pay list price for some of the Derwent or other brand 30 or 36 color sets. I still have a very old set of Eberhard-Faber Mongol watercolor pencils, too. I have some of the Crayola Portfolio water soluable oil pastels and some Derwent, Karismacolor, and Pro-Art brand water soulable graphite pencils. The Stabilo All pencils are aquarellable, too. I really need to get a couple big watercolor blocks and see what I can come up with.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002
(10:33 pm)

One of my habanero pepper plants seems to have bit the big one. I can't figure out why. I have a bunch of volunteer nasturtium plants in my pepper bed. I counted at least nine of them.

Looks like a 90 degree day tomorrow, and our air conditioner isn't working right. Damn!

Thursday, June 20, 2002
(10:49 pm)

For some unknown reason, the air conditioning started working right. Even the heat pump cycled off like it's supposed to. The air got a lot cooler in here and I did nothing to it whatsoever.

Our friend, Susan, came by the other night to introduce us to her granddaughter. While they were here, Melissa, like most 12-year-olds, saw the feral kitten that's been around the neighborhood for the past week or so. She managed to catch it and had it sitting on her lap while she petted it. Well,now it's decided that it lives on our front porch, after all that's where the cat bowl is. Ducky, our cat, has absolutely no use for it and is, as we speak, I'm sure, planning it's departure or demise.

Saturday, June 22, 2002
(5:02 pm)

It's hot. Eighty-nine degrees today and the air conditioning isn't keeping up with it. I really wish this house had some insulation.

My Internet connection through Charter Cable isn't running well right now. Someone is supposed to come out Monday and look at it. They think it's my line. I have my doubts about that.

To top it all off, my web-page won't load. My hosting company is called Instant Web Builder. They don't have a phone number for tech support, so I have to rely on e-mail to contact them. They offer cheap, unlimited bandwidth hosting, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it. They aren't very professional, and if you have a problem on the weekend or at an odd hour, you might have to wait days before it's resolved. I highly recommend that anyone considering these people for web hosting look elsewhere.

Friday, June 28, 2002
(9:44 am)

Two more days and June's done. This is being written with no prospect of it appearing on the web. My page is still not responding. I can upload things to it. The e-mail works. My stats show that I've had zero hits on the page all week. I've sent e-mail after e-mail to the web hosting people with absolutely no response. I can't believe I've managed to hook up with two web hosting outfits in a row who've abrogated their responsibility and kept my money and not provided me with the service. How does one find a legitimate hosting service without paying through the nose?

I'm really disgusted and depressed over the whole thing.

Saturday, June 29, 2002
(7:43 pm)

Last night my e-mail stopped working. Now all I have left is FTP, e-mail control, and stats for a non-accessible web site. Next web hosts I get will be within driving distance, so if they screw me, I can go meet them face to face and resolve certain issues I have.

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