Monday, November 1, 2004
It's the first day of a new month. Tomorrow is the big day. I'm seldom driven to thoughts of prayer, but Bush and Benjamin and Capito and all the nasty people running for office under the elephant's sign made it cross my mind. If Bush is returned to the White House, things will get much worse over the next four years, and his successor, if any, will probably be worse than he. If McGraw is defeated in his re-election bid for the WV Supreme Court, we'll be stuck with Benjamin, a right-wing activist and thoroughly despicable human being (?) for the next 12 years. I shudder to think. Shelley Moore Capito returning to Congress is not something I would like to see either. I want to see a Democratic majority in the Senate and House, and I think Erik Wells will make a good, if somewhat pedestrian, Congressman.
Thinking about praying and the election. . . I need a shower. More later.
Books nowadays, particularly those books that ask and chide us to take them seriously, rarely have adequate margins. Margins are necessary in books, not only for the aesthetic "white space", but for the taking of notes; for arguing with the author, removed from consideration by either distance, anonymity, or death. The book I am currently reading by most accounts would be considered a "serious" book. It is The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present selected and with an introduction by Phillip Lopate. It is also inscribed as "A Teachers & Writers Collaborative" Book. The margins all 'round are but three-quarters of an inch: barely room for a short sentence fragment. It is not at all possible to construct an argument in so small a space. It's that old bugaboo, economy, poking its head where it does not belong. Everything now has to be "efficient", cost-effective. We can only allow enough white space to make it look as though we are not falling off the edge of the page.
Part of the lack of margin is also due to the perverted notion that books are sacrosanct and not to be marred by the insertion of our opinions, be they in agreement or contrary to those of the author. Books are reliquaries to be kept pristine. The Chinese have long thought this to be another example of occidental silliness. To the Chinese, a marred book is more valuable for being unique. Books are paper and ink, thread and glue, cloth and spine. They are not living things to be preserved, but become living things in their interaction with the reader, and the reader's addition to the printed word.
I delight in checking out a library book that some former patron has taken the time and spun the intellect to write extensively in the margins and on the endpapers. To me, a book so treated is the better tool to educate subsequent readers than one left alone to mildew and fox as its only embellishment.
Quote of the Day: "No vice is self-contained." -- Seneca
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 13)
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
I've been so stressed that I could barely sleep last night. This election has me so upset. I can't believe that a significant number of my fellow citizens have fallen for the fascist lie and allowed GeeWhiz even a chance at a second term. You look at Germany prior to World War II and say "It can't happen here." Well, you'd be wrong, because it has happened here. People have bought the attitude and the candicates. We live in a fascist state. Granted, it's still mild compared to Germany in the 30's, but give Bush four more years and the constitution will be so much wallpaper. Civil liberties will belong to the thugs the government sends around to shut you up. After eight years in power, do you think these NeoCon NeoFascists will give it up? We will ease into a dictatorship and about half of the people will think it's great. "It's better than lettin' fags marry and teenagers have abortions."
In America we are once again, as in the fifties, ignoring and hiding sex. This isn't healthy. Look around the world. The US and the Islamic countries are the only ones who treat sex with such shame and fear. The rest of the planet has programming dealing with sex and featuring nudity on regular television. Here, people have a conniption fit if a boob pops out. Something wrong with this picture, and it's not a wardrobe malfuncion.
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 14)
At some point I'll have to interrupt the Bathroom Window series. I plan on doing shots of it throughout the year, up until spring. If I have my way about it, it won't be my bathroom window after May. I have a lot of other neat things to present here already, and I don't see the stream of images diminishing too greatly any time soon.
Quote of the Day: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience ... Therefore [individual citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring. " -- The Nuremberg Tribunal 1945-1946
"Dew on the Spider Web, Juniper"
I'm thinking about presenting the above photo in a larger size. You really should see the intricacy of it all, and this smaller size really doesn't do it justice. Maybe after I go vote. Anyone know what variety of spider makes "baskets" like this in evergreen shrubs?
My website is down again. It's been down on and off the past three days. It's getting to be an irritation. I was pretty well satisfied with my hosting service, but if this continues much longer, I'm going to start checking out some of the ones that advertise in Computer Shopper.
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
I just got an e-mail from CNN stating that John Kerry has just called GeeWhiz and conceded the election. All hope is gone.
"Too Much Red"
Prepare for four more years of the total abuse of power, less personal freedom, more bombast and small-minded gloating over the misfortune of others. Four more years of Limbaugh's hypocrisy, Ashcroft's Fascism, Cheney's arrogance, and Bush's bullying. This lying, conniving crew of dastards and pultroons will be in charge of the country for at least the next four years, if not until the revolution. Nixon's lapdog on the Supreme Court can now safely retire or die, and Bushwa has four years (at least) to get a new conservative puppet on the bench. Congress is even more firmly in the hands of the GOP (God's Own Pricks), so we'll see such wonderful things as more tax cuts for the rich, mind-boggling deficits, privatization of everything in sight, making more profits for the capitalists and screwing the rest of us. Mark my words: things are going to get bad. Better buy lots of ammo and have a "barracade in place" plan ready. If you're a liberal, learn to bite your tongue. You're not welcome here anymore.
What is wrong with you people? How can you buy all the negative bullshit pumped over the airwaves by the GOP and it's sock puppets and not suspect malicious intent? How can you watch television ad after television ad attacking an honorable WV Supreme Court Justice and think that there's something to it? How can you not see through the big-money effort to buy a seat on the bench? How can Kanawha County go for Bush in the presidential race? How? I live among assholes and idiots. Of course, given the way people drive around here, I should have at least suspected as much.
Quote of the Day: "A collective tyrant, spread over the length and breadth of the land, is no more acceptable than a single tyrant ensconced on his throne."
-- George Clemenceau (French statesman, journalist and prime minister (1917-20), 1841-1929)
I am so disheartened with the political and social direction this country is taking. We are running full-tilt, limbs-akimbo back to the days of repression, wide-spread inequality and poverty, and the majority of the people overwhelmingly approve of this course, at least those who vote do.
I saw the most amazing thing today. I was out taking photographs and a fellow whose garden I was recording in detail for posterity referred me to another garden one block over. Here's what I saw:
"Feed me, Seymore!"
While I was shooting his plant, its owner came out and engaged me in conversation. When I left, I had a portion of the great green thing to grow into my own monster. Thanks, Bruce!
I'm still upset over the election and the general direction this country is headed. Bush attacked Iraq for one reason, I've decided -- to show Daddy he could do it where Daddy couldn't. He captured his second term by despicable means for the same reason -- to thumb his nose at the old man. Now we have to sit by while a Repugnican Congress allows this upstart little cheerleader twerp to burrow the country into the ground, to create a Theocracy and bring about what he thinks will be Armageddon. Why do you think he has no concern for the future repayment of the deficits he's running up. He's sure the end of the world is nigh and that he is one of the chosen who will ascend to heaven in the Rature. Deluded little bully.
John Kerry congratulated Bush on his win and urged him to help heal the rift in this country. Personally, I don't think I'll ever be on the same side of the chasm as GeeWhiz, or for that matter, Kerry, Bushwa's Skull & Bones buddy. I really want to see that organization destroyed. It's evil, elitist, and should be disbanded. Of course the aristocratic bastards will band together in some other way then. I've lost all hope of any kind of an egalitarian society. I've even despaired of anything in this country ever again resembling democracy and civility. The corporations control it all. Remember what Mussolini said, "Fascism is corporatism."
Thursday, November 4, 2004
I've concluded, for now, the Bathroom Window series. I will most likely resume it or start a second series once all the leaves are down and the weather turns cold. Snow out that window on the woodlot may provide some interesting shots, maybe even in black and white.
It's raining today. The temperature dropped. My leg hurts. My back doesn't hurt quite as bad this morning. My legs ache from all the walking I did on Tuesday. I'm so out of shape, and there's very little I'm able to do about it. If I walk too much my bad leg swells and hurts so much I can't do anything for days. If I walk a moderate amount, the muscles hurt and ache and won't let me do much either. I'm doomed. The weather matches my mood. I am so disappointed in the most recent election. I now realize that I live in a Right Wing nation and I don't have the wherewithal to do anything about it. One of the blogs I read regularly posted the URL's for Canadian and several European and Eastern Hemisphere Immigration departments. Oh, how I wish!
Here's another view of the huge elephant ear plant I introduced yesterday:
"The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower"
If anyone would like a larger, high-quality version ofany of the photographs or scans I present on these pages, drop me an e-mail and we can make arrangements. Any copy large enough and of sufficient quality to make prints from will naturally incur a modest charge.
I feel like giving up. The worst president in the history of the United States won re-election with the largest vote tally ever; the first to win a majority of the popular vote in 20 years. The whole country is red except for the fringes. New England is blue. New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, the whole left coast, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Hawaii. All the blue states either border on Canada or border on states that border Canada or are in the middle of the ocean. Perhaps the blue states should withdraw from the Union and join as provinces of Canada. And you thought the Civil War was over with and forgotten! Silly Rabbit. Here's what the US would look like without those states:
See, that's what this is all about. The old slave-holding states never got over being invaded by the Union Army after the seceeded. They've held this grudge for nearly 150 years, and now they're spreading their ideology and juvenile morality over the land. Why do you think most of the politicians in charge come from the southern states, Texas in particular? We'd have been better off had Texas remained an independent country.
In the coming years, unions will cease to be. Minimum wage will be abolished. Debtors prisons will be reinstated. Involuntary servitude of one form or another will be established. The draft will come back, along with the proviso that one can buy one's way out of it for a substantial fee. The first amendment will be either repealed or ignored by the new "Bush Court." Musicians will be ostracized or jailed for their lyrics. Art will become nothing more than design and illustration. Abortion will become illegal again, as will homosexuality. 'R' rated films will become a thing of the past. Strip clubs will disappear. Strip malls will proliferate. I have a very grim view of the future now. I can find nothing to dissuade me. The Borg has taken over. Resistance is futile.
Friday, November 5, 2004
Okay, perhaps calling hiatus in my Bathroom Window series was a bit premature. I have two more (actually a lot more than that) shots and one crop that are deserving of a place in the sequence.
"The Ultimate Wallpaper for Windows"
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 14)
This one exceeds my usual 640 X 480 limitation on graphic sizes. The reason for this is that the crop was done with ACDSee Classic. I viewed the photo, expanded it to actual size and positioned it on the screen to where I liked the result and pressed the PrintScreen key. I then pasted it into Corel PhotoPaint as a new file from the clipboard. A little unsharpen mask and save as .BMP file and viola! Wallpaper. I then decided to use it as part of the series, so I resampled the picture at 640 wide and since my screen size is 1280 X1024, the result was 512 pixels tall. I didn't really want to trim it any further, so I left it a little large.
Quote of the Day: "Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true. " -- Eric Hoffer
I read a story about an art exhibit in New York yesterday in The Times. It agreed with my comments about art becoming merely design and illustration. There were a few bright spots in the exhibit, but scant few. The links in that story took me to another web site where I discovered a list of the top 100 most "important" people in art for this year. The top spot went to Larry Gagosian, an art dealer. There were only two artists in the top 10, five in the top 25, nine in the top 50, and only 21 total. The only names I recognized were Jasper Johns, Chuck Close, Cy Twombly, e-flux, and the König family. It's bad when artists, without whom the art world would not exist, barely hold 1/5 of the most important 100 positions of importance in the art scene. The top spot for any artist in the list is number four, Maurizio Cattelan. I have no idea who this is, but then I don't keep up with who and what are trendy very closely. I looked him up and it seems he rides the edge between installation and performance art. Is that what it's come to?
Okay, I'm in a digression kind of mood today. Installation art: how does one get established in such a field? How does it pay the artist for his effort? How will the art survive? Installations are neat. I enjoy Cristo's work immensely, and probably would enjoy it even more were my experience with it first-hand rather than photographic. Still, I don't understand the dynamics of it. Does an installation artist have to establish a reputation in some other genre? Or perhaps they have to have an MFA as credentials to apply for certain grants and stipends? I have a lot of ideas for installation pieces, but have neither a reputation in another field nor a degree of any stripe. I suppose I'm adrift in a sea of anonymous effort to no avail.
Saturday, November 6, 2004
Another Saturday, another WVU game not on television. What's going on here? Every frickin' Marshall games makes it to the tube one way or another. Why not WVU? I'm pretty sure the MSN (not that MSN -- the Mountaineer Sports Network) crew does every game. They get broadcast later, so why not while the game is actually being played? I don't understand. Surely there are sufficient WVU fans in this area to warrant it. And what about West Virginia State and University of Charleston and WVU-Tech games? Is there no interest in those locally either? I can sort of see not broadcasting the lower rung games like those three schools in the local area unless the games sell out, which I suspect rarely happens. But with WVU, it's several hours away by car and the stadium almost always sells out, and for away games it's not really a consideration.
Quote of the Day: "Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false. " -- Bertrand Russell
Last night on "Real Time with Bill Maher" the panel consisted of D.L. Hughley, Pat Schroeder, and a self-important, pompous ass named Andrew Sullivan. Apparently he is a widely-read blogger from L.A. He's the most namby-pamby little princess I've ever seen or read. He apologizes for Bush, endorses Kerry, thinks the war in Iraq is justified, goes along with most of what anyone in a position of power says, laughs at Bill Maher's jokes at the expense of the people whose actions he's just attempted to defend. He's a vanilla milkshake spilled in a fresh grave. In case you want to read his insipid blog, it's at AndrewSullivan.com
Now here's something that's always bothered me. When you end a sentence with an Internet address (i.e. www.ide-a.net) should you put a period at the end? It looks awkward to me. The same with dollars and cents at the end or a decimal number (i.e. $10.12 or "His GPA was 3.85"). I suppose the honorable thing to do would be rephrase the sentence so that the item in question falls elsewhere other than the end.
"When I Think of Yellow, Sometimes I Think of You"
Returning to my topic of yesterday, the list of most influential people in art today. The second highest ranked artist is Brooklynite Takashi Murakami. This is one of his paintings(?). Isn't it like I said it was coming to, art as merely design and illustration? My mind boggles to think that someone who does cartoon art as being the second most infuential artist in the world. Some might liken him to Andy Warhol, but Warhol was exploring new territory. This guy is regurgitating Japanese teen culture, in a not-all-that original manner. He's the next generation's Thomas Kinkade. Speaking of the devil, I'm amazed he's not on the list somewhere. But then there's the problem of classifying him. Also, the most costly piece of art on e-Bay at any given time is likely to be an early Disney animation cel. It's all part of a "thing" I suppose. People value things in their time that will have relatively small value in time to come.
Sunday, November 7, 2004
I've got a cold or something. Feel like hell. It's been a really nice day and I haven't felt like venturing out to even try to take some photographs. I really don't even feel like making an entry here -- just doing so out of habit.
Quote of the Day: "Say you're feelin' all right. I'm not feelin' too good myself."" -- Steve Winwood, "Feelin' All Right" by Traffic
"A Nice Day For a Stroll"
I was making progress getting my studio in shape to actually do some work (about time!) and then the illness struck. Soon! Soon!
Monday, November 8, 2004
Still sick. It's even worse today, but I need to make an effort to do something so that I don't just decide to lie down and die.
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 14)
Note the reddish color on some of the branches. That is direct light from the sunset.
Every now and then I turn on the radio and listen to about 45 seconds of the "Rush Limbaugh Show". That's about all I can handle without throwing up. Today was one of those now and thens. He was talking about the mystical nine-election cycle to which some attribute great consequence. Probably those who otherwise would be preening astrological charts to divine arcane and secret information. At one point the Lard-ass drug addict said that Bush was re-elected in spite of vehement opposition by a media elite. Posh! The media could have pressured Bush into oblivion, and in my opinion, should have, but did they? No. They let the NeoCon spin-meisters divert the focus of the National Guard story into a story about Dan Rather and CBS's integrity. There was a plethora of other evidence that showed Lt. Bushpilot had deserted, but that was ignored because the Right Wing wanted to kill off Dan Rather. The media let them do it. The media sat by, in a cloak of neutrality, where they should have been educating the public about the real facts of the election campaign. They should have made whole news programs debunking the Swift Boat Liars. They should have sued to stop Sinclair's presentation of a patently anti-Kerry "news" documentary. They should have driven into the public mind the fact that Iraq is a mistake, that Saddam had no connection to terrorists, and that the WMD were merely figments of Don Rumsfeld's perverse imagination. But no, they sit and twiddle and try to make nice so the big mean NeoCons don't tell the FCC to pull their ticket. Limbaugh wouldn't recognize an actual true fact if it rode down his throat on an Oxycontin.
I've been thinking about how to do what I do here better. I suppose I could go with Blogger or Word Press or Movable Type and do it as a reverse-order run-of-the-mill blog. That would not be a good choice, I don't think. With Word Press I could do it as a single page for each day. I could also do that on my own. I thought briefly about doing one page per week, but then my system of addressing individual days would be messed up. I think I'll keep it the way it is with one page per month, at least for the foreseeable future. It might take a while for the page to load once we get deep into the month, but in the last six months, there have been over 133,400 hits on these pages (not counting this month so far). That tells me that there is sufficient interest to put up with a little longer load time. I hope you enjoy what I present here. If you'd like to make a contribution, e-mail me. All donations gleefully accepted.
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
It's cold this morning. I look around and I see a number of sources of cold air that we have yet to stopper. This must be done immediately. It's COLD this morning.
Quote of the Day: "In everyone's life at some time our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. " -- Albert Schweitzer
This is an example of post-editing. It's now 12:56 pm and I'm inserting this bit in the middle of what I posted at 9:45 am.
The above quote pretty much applies to me. My fire has gone out, burned everything to ashes, ashes pissed in and stirred with a stick. I need someone to inspire me, someone to spare the drop of blood to un-stir and de-urine my ashes so the phoenix of creative fire can rise again and burn brightly once more in my bosom. I need a muse, an instigator, not someone to tell me to take heart, to instruct me in technique and ideation. I need someone whose own energy will jump-start mine; whose life force will jump the gap between our two spirits and kindle the flame in mine. I've not met this person yet. I will be very happy and grateful to both him/her and the universe when/if this happens.
I got up this morning, checked my e-mail. I had 106 messages, 97 of which were chopped, shaped meat in a can. I get so tired of the over-commercialization of everything advertisers can think of to flood with their messages. I particularly detest the "labeling" of every television channel with a logo intrusively inserted all the time (except during commercials) on the bottom of the screen, regardless whether it interferes with subtitles, or branding from the program, or information displays. Additionally, now even NBC is running promos for upcoming programs as overlayed animations DURING the current program! Does everything have to be a NASCAR jumpsuit? I look for lawns to become advertising venues. "Sir, may we put our logo in your lawn. We use specifically engineered grass seed of various colors. In return we'll mow your grass once a week all through the growing season." Eventually someone will figure out how to put ads in the sky. How about sidewalks? There's an untapped vein. People are getting deals on cars now for sporting ads on the vehicle. We're also paying for the privilege of advertising every manner of casual clothing. Will suits be next? Can you see Letterman coming out on stage in a double-breasted pinstripe charcoal suit with a prominent Armani label on the lapel? Streets, highways, bridge abutments, public buildings, all ripe for the picking. Quite honestly I'd like to return to the days when buses were painted one or two colors, when government subsidies took care of the operating expenses of the transit authority, not whole-vehicle advertising for radio stations and hospitals; the days when clothing labels were on the inside of the clothes, and if it was on the outside, that meant it was given away free as an incentive. Hey, we could have the sides of our houses painted with ads like the days of yesteryear when barns were the vehicle of choice for Mail Pouch tobacco advertising. How about subsidizing road signs with small ads for Kellog or Hilfiger or US Steel? I could go on. . .
"The Day After Election: I Got the Blues"
Since October 7, when I got my digital camera, I've taken more than 300 shots. I guess I could have taken more had I been so motivated and felt better. Not being able to walk any distance curtails a lot of my impulses to play photographer. I've shot mostly flowers, plants, scenery, boundaries and corruption. I'd like to do more people, but I don't get out much. The photo of the two women taking a walk near the capitol that I posted Sunday is one of my favorites so far. It has nice elements of composition and the inclusion of human beings makes it all the better. I mostly limit myself to taking photos of family, and like this photograph, the backs of people so I don't need to get a waiver to "publish" the photograph. I probably don't really need one regardless, since this is (mostly unintentionally) a not-for-profit enterprise.
I'd like to come up with a money-making paradigm for this site that does not involve advertising or selling something not related to what I'm doing here. I don't have a clue, as is the case with making money in general. I'm serious about accepting donations. Until now I've not had the opportunity to decide whether to accept a donation or not, as no one has decided that they get enough value from this site to offer to make a contribution to its upkeep. Right now I spend over $100 a year on this site, not counting my time and other expenses involved in providing content. How many of you have grabbed a picture off this site for further use or enjoyment? How many have read something I've written and incorporated it into another part of your life? How many have said to a family member or colleague, "You have to see (read) this," dragging said family member or colleague to the computer to see something outrageous or beautiful that I've posted here? Yet, it behooves none of you to offer to help support this site and its creator? It never occurs to you to leave a comment in my guestbook saying "thanks" or "Man, you're out of line!" or "Good job." I don't expect to realize even a 4-figure income out of this, nor do I expect lavish praise in the New York Times or even the Charleston Gazette, but a little something would go a long way toward insuring that this project is still here next month, next year. It's hard to imagine a quarter of a million hits on this site and fewer than a dozen entries in my guestbook, and over half of those are from close friends and family. The only e-mails I get are from one or two people who send me other e-mails anyway. Donations? I haven't had a donation since I ran a BBS on my old Amiga computer. . . 1990, I think, was when I shut it down. . . for lack of support.
I still don't feel well today, and this turn toward the arctic hasn't helped much. It's only 47 degrees right now. A few days ago the low for the day was 50. Things are turned around.
I sent an e-mail to Bill Maher. He had the inveterate blogger, Andrew Sullivan, on the last "Real Time" (I think I mentioned this a few days ago). I think my blog is better than his and deserves an equal readership. I told Mr. Bill as much, and told him he could use anything on this site as long as I get credit. Of course I've not heard from him. He'll probably never see the e-mail. Actually, I was kind of angling, perhaps to get a spot on the panel some week. Like that will ever happen!
I sent an e-mail to the editor of the Charleston Gazette this morning. One topic was a bad CSS file entry for their webpage. The main topic was the story they ran this morning on the re-gilding of the State Capitol dome. They ran a file photo of the dome in its pristine condition, not one with the scaffolding in place for the work to be done. They can't send a photographer two miles to take a shot? I sent a photo of the dome that I took (with scaffolding) and offered my services if they don't feel they can justify sending someone out to photograh something in the city. I offered to work cheap. Think I'll hear back from that one? Yeah, I'll file that with the one to Bill Maher, and the one to Ralph Nader urging him to support Kerry, and the one to R. Crumb asking if he wanted to underwrite my emigration to France (we could be neighbors!). Since GeeWhiz got reelected, maybe this is hell, and since it's a cold day. . .
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
What is the function of government? Libertarians think government should be as tiny and unobtrusive as possible, to the point of no government at all. Where does this differ, exactly, from the ideas of the anarchists? I suppose the anarchists believe in no social structure whatsoever, whereas the Libertarians believe that "might makes right." Is that it? Is that what human beings with their magnificent brains are to believe is the penacle of their potential? Tribal behavior?
Liberals seem to believe that government can be everything to everyone, whereas conservatives believe that government should be the structure that protects corporate interests. Moderates fall somewhere in the middle, by definition.
I think that the function of government should be to provide for the people those things they cannot or will not provide for themselves, such as a standing army, roads, bridges, and (yes!) public utilities. Why are utilities such as gas, water, and electricity, which in modern society are absolute necessities, owned by private, profit-motivated concerns? I also think government should act as a buffer between individuals, and in this I include corporate individuals, in disputes and claims of damage or injury. I think government should provide a framework wherein elections can be held without suspicion of chicanery, where campaigns are truly limited to a small donation per individual, be it a human individual or an individual by definition of a corporate charter. It should be illegal for anyone to participate at a level denied to others by virtue of greater wealth. If an individual wanted to, say, take out $3.5 Million in advertising to oppose a certain candidate, and in the current opinion that it is free-speech, then the same individual should have to make an equal amount available to those with an opposing opinion. It's back to the "might makes right" justification again, allowing greater wealth to have greater influence
I think government should be what the constitution says it should be in the preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Notice it says "establish Justice", Justice being capitalized. It doesn't say "establish a court system". The intent is to acheive fairness, and when money can influence the outcome of things, Justice will forever be an abstract concept, not something realized in a court of law.
The preamble also indicates the need to "promote the general welfare." It never gets very specific about what this means, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean siding with the military-industrial complex against the inate rights of various individual and aggregated citizens. The general welfare of the people is not being served by our current government, and a little more than half of the people don't seem to care. Where has idealism gone? Where is the spirit of egalitarianism that was once part of the American character? Where is true righteousness, justice, tolerance, compassion, and a sense of commonality? We have lost our rudder, and it is up to those of us dispossessed by the NeCon conspiracy to repair it. We must start, not with laws and elections, but with hearts and minds. We must appeal to common sense, espouse the common good, and be the common man.
Quote of the Day: "Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. " -- John Steinbeck (1902 - 1968), The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
"October Morning Facing West on Kanawha Boulevard, West"
Thursday, November 11, 2004
"Happy Veteran's Day!"
On this day, at this hour in 1918 the "War to End All Wars" came to an end with the signing of the armistice at the palace at Versailles. This fatally flawed document eventually lead to the rise of fascism in Europe and a second world-wide slaughter. Originially the anniversary of the signing was celebrated as Armistice Day, but is now dedicated to the veterans of all wars and eras. I think this is a better use of it than celebrating a document that punished the German people to the point where Hitler looked better to them than peace.
A note about file sizes: When designing a web page, my first consideration is the content. Second, I consider the appearance. The third thing I think about is how big are the files. A lot of time it's a compromise between the smallest possible file size for a picture and the smallest size that still maintains the quality I require. I used to err on the side of file size, especially when most, if not all, my viewers used 57.6 Kbit dialup connections. I've worked on the Internet since the days when the standard speed for dialup modems was 2400 bps, so I know a little something about how to get things to load faster, how to optimize. The paradigm changes, and so do my criteria for the construction of pages. I try to keep file sizes as small as possible, yet not sacrifice quality for load time. If I'm presenting more than just an ongoing rant about the things I think about, then I need to maintain a modicum of quality in that which I present. I try to use proper grammar and writing style in the texts I present, and it's no different with the graphics. While the art or photography might not be stunning and exhibit sheer genius, at least it should look as good as it can while keeping the load time to a minimum.
Quote of the Day: "I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming... suddenly you find - at the age of 50, say - that a whole new life has opened before you." -- Agatha Christie (1890 - 1976)
I just hope, on my corolla opening, that it's not discovered that I'm a blooming idiot.
Friday, November 12, 2004
Every hear of Cy Twombly? One of his "blackboard" series of paintings(?) just sold at auction for over $5 Million. I'm going back to bed.
Quote of the Day: "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -- H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
Menken was such an astute observer of the human condition, and of the American psyche. Though his words live on, we still need someone of his ilk to see us through these times he prognosticated in the above quote. I don't think Bill Maher or Michael Moore is it.
I didn't really go back to bed. Instead, I revamped my archive page, something I should have done a long time ago. Now the links to previous months are in a table, arranged much more neatly than the free-flowing, arbitrarily divided piece of crap I previously had. Tables in HTML are fairly simple to implement. I'm not leary of them or anything, as the past couple months have shown, but somehow it just didn't occur to me to use tables in this instance. Looks a lot better, huh?
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Looking at the archives, one might be led to believe that I've had a web site since 1999. This would be erroneous. I've had a continuous web presence since March, 1997. Before that I had a small, one page site with almost no actual content starting in 1992. It went away for a few years while I was sans computer. Before that I had an online presence in various forms, from BBS to Fido to Gopher starting in 1985. You might say I'm an old hand at this -- emphasis on old.
Quote of the Day: "The key to any success, no matter how you define it, is having the audacity to believe you deserve it. " -- Allison Werth
I do, I do, I do believe I deserve it!
"At One Time, His Pride and Joy"
(Corrosion Series #1)
WVU-BC game at noon today. This will be the season for the Mountaineers. I hope they can pull it off. A win today means the Big East championship, a top-ranking is both polls, and a BSC bowl on New Year's Day, probably the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl. Woo Hoo! Go Mounties!
Boston College 36 - WVU 17
Sunday, November 14, 2004
In light of the overwhelming response to yesterday's photograph (one e-mail comment), I will continue in the same line. I've often said that the most interesting things happen at borders (boundaries) and because of corruption (decay).
"Rust Never Sleeps"
(Corrosion Series #2)
I'm miserable. Nose running, eyes rheumy, achy, tired. I took a benedryl before going to bed last night. I hate taking them at all, but sometimes I get so sick that it's the only thing that will help. Usually it lets (makes?) me sleep better at least and is worth the funny 'head' I get on waking. Well, last night was too much for the benedryl and the only benefit I derived from it was the 'head' this morning. Yuck. I feel like hammered shit.
Quote of the Day: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. " -- Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmens)
Is Thanksgiving really next week? Seems like the Fourth of July was last week. . .
Monday, November 15, 2004
This is the house I want, but I really don't have $387,000 at the moment.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Today's quote, courtesy of the folks at Quote A Day, is from one of the men I admire most. He might have been a little "geeky", but his intelligence was first rate, and his ability to cut through to the heart of matters with many a pithy statement was unsurpassed. If you've not read his book, Contact, you really should. His ability to write from the perspective of someone of the opposite sex is uncanny, and his ability to succinctly evoke both deep thought and strong emotion is sterling.
Quote of the Day: "One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous. " -- Carl Sagan
Yeah, I'm still sick. Worse, even. I slept until after eleven this morning, had a shower, ate vegetable soup and a sandwich for lunch (I wish the soup had been my homemade, but Campbell's will do in a pinch). Now I'm sitting here trying to maintain at least a minimum level of activity so I don't go back to sleep and have to cough up a new crop of phlem on reawaking.
I guess I'm committed now. My friend, Emily, referred to the photographs of this past weekend as my "Rust" series. I guess I need to find some more interesting corrosion and take a few shots, crop to the point where it's not immediately recognizable and continue the line. Not such a bad idea at that. Thanks, Em!
(Corrosion Series #3)
"This could be the start of something great!"
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Could you have guessed? Chili for dinner last night. It wasn't my best batch, but it was okay. I never cook my best when I'm sick. I woke up this morning feeling a little better. Even my back seems to be on the mend. Wish my leg was. . .
Quote of the Day: "Now those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth, and let me remind you they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyranny. " -- Barry Goldwater
Keep in mind that Goldwater is allegedly one of the most conservative candidates ever to seek the presidency. Now take a look at what GeeWhiz's lapdog, Goss, is doing to the CIA. He's making it so that the people there have a loyalty to. . . no, not the US of A, to GeeWhiz Bush. That's how Hitler established himself as the unassailable leader for life and ushered in the Third Reich, by changing the people's allegience under him to himself, personally rather than to the German State. This is wrong and must not be left unchallenged. I don't understand how Bush won this past election, and I don't understand how people can admire this man. I suppose people in Germany in the 30's admired Hitler and those in Italy admired Mussolini for many of the same reasons people in this country admire GeeWhiz: his proclaimed moral superiority and his decisiveness (even when he's wrong, which is much of the time). They were wrong to admire them, and you, my fellow Americans, are wrong to admire Bush.
I've been making small changes on this web site. You may have noticed the links at the bottom of this page are now in tabular form. Likewise, all the archived pages are reformatted the same way, and with the next and previous months having links now. The Archives page is also laid out in tables, which makes it much more attractive and orderly. Additionally, since I started using a new maximum width for graphics at 640 pixels, I've resized the text portion to match.
My computer is acting stranger and stranger. This morning it wouldn't boot. Once I turned it off and restarted, it wanted to come up in "safe" mode. I forced normal restart and all seems well, but I know better. I'm pretty sure it's on its last legs.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Quote of the Day: "The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life. " -- Adolph Hitler
My New World Order, Proclamation to the German Nation at Berlin, February 1, 1933
The similarities between the Bush administration and The Third Reich are mind-boggling.
"Nouvelle Stoppages, sept de douze"
I like to think that my wife or someone is scheming, intending to get me a new computer for Christmas, but that probably is delusional thinking. Anyone want to buy some art? Photographic prints? My right leg?
I have five pieces in a new book of visual poems (mostly) called Xtant 4. It's a fantastic book, 308 pages, perfect binding, ISBN 1930259433. Geof Huth has an enthusiastic review of it on his blog: dbqp: visualizing poetics. Part of his enthusiasm is due to his having a couple pieces in the collection, but mostly it's because the collection is really first rate. I'd put Jim Leftwich's address up here but you can find that at the end of Geof's review. However, if you want to contact Jim about a copy via e-mail, Geof's link is broken, so you can click here to contact him: Jim Leftwich. I know this link works. I just used it to convey my thanks for the book.
NOTE: Geof has repaired his e-mail link to Jim Leftwich. I contacted Jim. All the copies of Xtant 4 are gone. Sorry.
Friday, November 19, 2004
I am so depressed today. It may be the 50 plus hours of cold, dreary, rainy skies with the addition of a lot of bad news and pain and a singular lack of prospects at the moment. I keep telling myself things will get better, but do they? Well. . .
Quote of the Day:
"Is this really a strategy for living? Insisting that most of life isn't to be taken seriously. Relentlessly viewing it as a cosmic joke. Having only four guiding principles: one, do as little harm to others as possible; two, be there always for your friends; three, be responsbile for yourself and ask nothing of others; four, grab all the fun you can. Put no stock in the opinions of those closest to you. Forget about leaving a mark on the world. Ignore the great issues of your time and thereby improve your digestion. Don't dwell in the past. Don't worry about the future. Live in the moment. Trust in the purpose of your existence and let meaning come to you instead of straining to discover it. When life throws a hard punch, roll with it -- but roll with laughter. Catch the wave, dude."
Dean Koontz, from Fear Nothing, paperback edition, p. 343
There was an essay in the paper this morning by the winner of the Economist writing contest telling us we should "abandon old dreams in order to make new ones." From reading the article and getting a cursory understanding of the author's circumstances, I've come to the conclusion that she is continually lowering her expectations and is calling for the rest of us to do the same. Her cry is "Don't fight the bastards. Kiss their asses and maybe they'll pat us on the head." A little harsh, you say. Maybe. Maybe not. I'll probably write more about this later, once I've gotten up a sufficient head of steam.
"Rolls Around Heaven All Day"
My computer continues to do strange things. I swept it for spyware this morning. I had more than I anticipated. Now the scroll bars on the windows go back to the top no matter where I place them. It must be calling out for a reboot, so it can hang up or refuse to restart or something.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
It's been so gloomy all day. WVU doesn't play today. Instead they're playing the backyard brawl in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Day. I got my fingers crossed, but judging from recent performances, I have my reservations.
Quote of the Day: " I want to have children, but my friends scare me. One of my friends told me she was in labor for 36 hours. I don't even want to do anything that feels good for 36 hours." -- Rita Rudner
Just fooling around with Paint Shop Pro
Sunday, November 21, 2004
I read a story in the online edition of today's New York Times about the Michigan players being confronted by police and/or security, threatened by dogs, and searched before being allowed to go into the Ohio State football stadium. The officials claimed that everyone gets searched. Okay, am I the only one who sees something wrong with this? I know the Supreme Court has notions to the contrary, but I thought the Constitution protected us from unreasonable searches. Whatever happened to probable cause?
The Constitution says, in the fourth amendment, that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against ureasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
To me, that leaves little leave way. It means what it says and accordingly random and universal searches that perhaps would result in arrest or seizure of a person's effects are patently illegal. Next time someone wants to search you, say at an airport, ask to see the warrant. Bet you either don't get to fly, or you get "detained."
Tuesday Nov. 30th
The Empty Glass
7 - 9 PM
Spoken Word - Open MIC - Musical Performances - Haiku Contest
Quote of the Day:
"'Hope' is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops--at all."
-- Emily Dickenson
No, National Poetry Month is April. I just felt the need for some verse on a cool November day.
I strive to keep this and other newly-created pages here XHTML compilant at all times. However, sometimes things slip by me, particularly things I snip from other sources and dump here. Some other programs, like the one I use to store information like quotes, quips, recipes, limericks, and other loosely-organized bits of data, use UTF-16 characters don't jibe with the ISO-8859-1 character set specified for these pages. I'd go ahead and specify the UTF-16 character set, but my editor doesn't understand more than an 8-bit set. Actually it can read them, but I can't edit or save a 16-bit character set with it. The author assures me that will change in the next version. So, I must remember to check myself daily instead of whenever the notion strikes me.
Monday, November 22, 2004
I made a few changes to the web site today. For one, I've taken the news feeds off the front page and created a new page for news. The link will be found on the home page where it used to say "Words". The poetry that was once at that link can now be accessed through the Achives Page. If you have any announcements or links to important news, let me know and maybe I'll put it up there for all the readers.
Quote of the Day: "The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience." -- Albert Camus
My DVD drive is broken. It won't even open, not even putting a paper clip through the release hole. My graphics tablet is kaput. My CD Burner rarely works right. Lately the machine has been shutting down on its own. I think the front case fan has ceased to function. I added Picassa and Spy Sweeper to my arsenal. Along with the Weather program I run that shows me the temperature in the system tray and the software for the scanner and the camera, I've got to the point where memory (256 MB) is a problem, and regular DIMM memory that's not DDR is scarce and expensive.
It looks like we're headed to a new record number of hits on the site this month. In September, we had 30,084 hits for the month. So far this month we have 21,688 with a couple days over a week to go. At the current rate we should finish somewhere near or over 31,000. And only one comment from a close friend. I guess what I provide is interesting and useful enough that people look at it thousands of times a month, yet not good enough for anyone to want to acknowledge it in any mannter. What will it take? Should I have dancing girls, human anomalies, prestidigitation? Shall I turn it over to a sales vehicle? A porn palace? I try to avoid such things, but apparently that's what it takes to make it in this brave new world. I'm not sure I like that.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
There were all sorts of things to write about running through my head while I was at Wal-Mart getting an oil change, and at lunch. Now, my head's back to normal -- empty.
Quote of the Day: "A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy. " -- Aldous Huxley quotes (English novelist and critic, 1894-1963)
You may have noticed I've included the Smirking Chimp headlines in addition to the newsfeeds I already had in place. Consider it an invitation to join the vast left-wing conspiracy.
Here's my latest visual poem, bound for somewhere:
"Change Must Come From Within"
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
I've signed up for a Pay Pal account, so I can process cash transactions online I'll make it available in case I decide to start selling things on this site, too. I have to do something to make enough money to suppport this endeavor. I doubt I could get a government grant for such purposes.
Quote of the Day: "Peace is not an absence of war. It is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence,confidence, justice. " -- Benedictus de Spinoza (Dutch philosopher, born on this day in 1632)
The computer problems continue. This morning I had trouble getting it to boot at all. It kept saying there wasn't enough memory to load Windows. After a couple trips to 'Safe Mode' and much manipulation of system settings, I finally got it to boot. I worry about the next time.
"Here's the culprit!"
Tomorrow's Thanksgiving. Have a good time. I probably won't make an entry here. I'll be busy being thankful with my family.
Friday, November 26, 2004
It was a pretty nice Thanksgiving at my daughter's house. This is the first year since 1980 that we haven't cooked a bird. I think, over time, people get used to their own cooking and prefer it to anyone else's. A roasted turkey just doesn't taste the same if my wife, Ann, doesn't cook it. Now, mind you, in those first years from 1980 to 1984 or so, the bird didn't fare as well as it has in recent years past. Still I can't recall a single unsalvageable disaster. Nothing like what I read about in the paper this morning, where some fellow in town sliced open the turkey, poured Pine-Sol over the bird, grabbed his wife by the throat and threw her on the floor. Talk about being unhappy with the way the bird turned out! He's in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of $1000 bond, charged with domestic battery. Whew!
Looks like the L-triptophan kicked in. . .
Shortly I'll be putting up the latest installment of Paul Curry Steele's Poems in the form of Haiku. You can see the entire collection, plus other of Paul's poems at:
Paul's poems may not be to everyone's taste, but a lot of people think he's an important poet, in the state, if not universally. He corrresponds regularly with at least one former Poet Laureate of the United States. There was a Graffiti story about Paul a few months back. While the bit of doggerel at the beginning of the article says "ten per page," there are actually eleven. That way the collections work out to usually 44 Haiku, but sometimes 55, or 66, or even 77. It wasn't intended that way. It just worked out that many would fit comfortably in the settled-on form.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
It's definitely fall. The temperature this morning was in the high 30's. Most of the leaves are off the trees now and those that aren't have turned brilliant colors. The gingko trees along the boulevard and the really huge one in the lawn at First Prebyterian Church are the most lush, golden yellow. I love that color. Even the sky is getting into the act:
It's a constant struggle to keep the file sizes on a web site small enough to load quickly and still maintain sufficient quality to satisfy my aesthetic sensibilities. Sometimes it's fairly simple. Sometimes it's not. The way Adobe Photoshop gauges quality is in percentages. Sometimes a 0% version at 640 X 480 pixels is sufficient. Other times the dithering that goes on is so obvious that it imposes on the image and detracts from the enjoyment of it. That's why some photos here are less than 10K in size and others tip the scale at over four times that. When in doubt, I opt for quality. There was a time when I went for file size, but in this day of broadband access and accelerated dial-up, I see no real reason to obsess about minimal file sizes at every turn.
Quote of the Day: "Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. " -- Galatians 6:9
My computer is getting weirder and weirder. It has refused to start on several occasions, refused to shut down without manual insistence, and now the fonts all keep disappearing, shortly followed (usually) by the machine locking up completely (even the three-finger salute, Ctrl-Alt-Delete, doesn't work). Now, my Photopaint hangs up if I try to use the dropdown file selection in the open or close dialogue boxes. I have to shut it down from the task list. I'm sure some portion of the Windows controls in a DLL file somewhere is corrupted and causing this. It doesn't happen with any other program (yet!) however, so it may be specific to Corel's operations. I really hate to reinstall. The font problem, I thought was due to my having too many fonts installed, but I ripped out over 300 and it's still doing the same thing, several times a day. I'm sure this has something to do with the System Resources memory space being exceeded. I'd like to have Windows XP, which has no such limitations on Resources, but alas! this machine is nearly five years old and XP would not support most of the hardware. Hey, Santa!
Sunday, November 28, 2004
I'm just disgusted with things in general again. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell were all indicted as war criminals in courts in Belgium, but Rummy told Belgium they had six months to change their laws or he'd make sure the US withheld $352 Million earmarked for construction of a NATO facility in Brussels and boycott NATO meetings. Belgium changed the laws. What arrogance! These asswipes think they're immune to any of the rules the rest of the world lives by. I read somewhere that Canada might possibly arrest Rumsfeld or Bush if they happen to visit Canada after their tenure in office is up. Guess that rules out the 2010 Winter Olympics for either of them. . . or does it?
Quote of the Day: "The economy's recovery may be a little shaky, but you wouldn't know it from looking at this year's Forbes 400. In this, Forbes' 23rd annual ranking of the 400 richest people in America, the combined net worth of the nation's wealthiest climbed to $1 trillion, up $45 billion in 12 months. " -- MSNBC
How nice for them. . .
(My Bathroom Window Series, No. 17)
As you can see, the bathroom window series isn't over yet. Neither is the "Corrosion" series, also known as "The Rust Series" or "The Corruption Series." I'm just waiting for the opportunity to go actively searching for more rust and corrosion that has interesting aspects to it.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Change is gonna come. Notice, there's a new background, more appropriate to what I do here, and more appropriate to the other changes that are coming.
Quote of the Day: "Our real blessings often appear to us in the shapes of pains, losses and the disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper figures. " -- Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English writer, statesman
More to come. Maybe I can get started tomorrow after my lawyer's appointment.
Here's some of what I've been working on artistically over the past few weeks. You're bound to see more, and hear the beginnings of a theory of art involving these drawings. Stay tuned!
"Lake Como, 940 CE"
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Last day of November. My how time flies. Just got back from my lawyer's office about an hour ago. I had to do interrogatories for the Insurance Company's lawyers. What fun. Next will be depositions. I really didn't want it to get this deep. That's part of why I waited so long to file a claim; that, and the HMO's insistence on reimbursement for what they'd spent on my treatment for the injury. Then, too, I'd just had it with the pain and depression and anger and inability to work. Of course, they'll assess my worth as negligible since I'm an unsuccesful artist. Just wait. My day's gonna come.
Quote of the Day: "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. " -- Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
Every morning I read my horroscope in the newspaper, not because I necessarily belive in astrology, but because most of the time it is generally good advice and would be appropriate to most anyone. [and you can quote me on that]
I've not quite decided what to do with my pages here. I may eventually go back and reformat all of the old pages to conform to the new format. That would save a goodly amount of space, because under the new scheme I'll be using simpler, more elegant headings and leave the gaudy banners behind, but then the old is still the old and there is something to be said for leaving it alone.