Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Justice is no easy project. It's a project left to us by God.

Laws are only a clumsy attempt at justice, quibbling over words and using words to disguise politics, ideology and the will to power.

Justice is work of those with good hearts bolstered by perseverance, noble struggle and a respect for human dignity.

They know that total justice is not possible, but it is the delusion we must believe in.


USA…We’re #1

(USA ranking among advanced nations)

#1         Child mortality

#1          Military spending

#1          Child obesity

#1          Arms exporting

#1          Child income poverty

#1          Total prison population

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


the American budget
annual expenditures in America

Beer                                                     $96 billion

Prisons                                                $80 billion

Soft drinks                                          $65 billion

Lawn care                                           $40 billion

Gambling                                            $34.6 billion

Beauty parlors                                   $30 billion

Sex toys                                              $15 billion

Cosmetic procedures                        $12 billion

Fast food                                             $11.7 billion

Addressing homelessness               $4.5 billion

St. Patrick’s Day                                $4.1 billion

Halloween candy                               $2.8 billion

Over counter teeth whiteners           $1.4 billion

Monday, August 29, 2016


Are there as many ways to love as there are to kill?

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Style lives on the surface.
Style is temporal.
Style is the sidekick of marketing.
Style thwarts individual imagination.
Style is comfort.
Style pretends to be art.
Style is an easy virtue.
Style is fun.

Minor artists have a style.
Great artists have a language.


When someone looks at your art, do they know what you believe in?

The Wet Grass

Every morning I sit with my feet in the wet grass.
I watch the florets of the obedient plant climb the stem,
Popping out translucent purple flowers.
The black-eyed susans nearby are waning
And the tomatoes, orange and red in the garden,
Are calling to be picked.
The insects and birds chatter and chirp
As if they intended this harmony.
Patches of sunlight on the grass are harbingers
Of the hot, humid day to come.
No breeze today, but a blue sky.
All this is a gift to me because

I sit with my feet in the wet grass.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Great America

From its birth and built on its Constitution, America had the promise of greatness. And America is a great country, if not always a good one. There are ugly episodes like the treatment of the Indians, the Civil War, expansionism, the intrusion into Third World countries and others.

Jesus Christ and other great spiritual and political leaders realized that poverty, injustice, racism and the will to power were intractable human problems. That these would never be mastered. Greatness comes in recognizing this fact, but not giving up. Continuing to put energy and resources and faith into into attacking them with vigor.

America has wealth, power, resources and stature. But history shows us that great nations fall.
They can be conquered, but they can also rot from within. And here is where America stands. Can it sustain the moral drive that has so often made it great?

Friday, August 26, 2016


The eyes must have the courage to see what the heart demands of them.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A sense of humor

Human beings are the best evidence that God has a sense of humor.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What does God look like?

Every culture constructs images of God that they hang their beliefs on. Each such God is a facet of the God that can never be fully imagined. Joseph Campbell calls them the masks of God.

But these images of God don't have to come out of a culture. They can come out of us and be seeded into the culture, as they often have been: Van Eyck's God Enthroned or Grunewald's crudified Jesus.

My contribution is this: God is the mirror that reflects back to us the deepest and fullest humanity within us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

High expectations

We have high expectations of our children, our doctors, our sports teams, our entertainment, even our elected officials. So we can't let art off the hook.

Have high expectations for art. Don't let it be a just pretty face, or fade into wall, or get away with cheap tricks, or disappoint your over time. Expect it to take risks, challenge you, be fresh, endure.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Art is in the air, the water, the DNA of a culture. It infects some, who catch the fever and get the chills. Some of these eventually get well and go on to productive lives as lawyers, doctors, accountants or other upstanding individuals.

But others never become healthy. Art for them remains a lifelong, chronic disease. It affects their behavior and thinking. They have visions. They presage the future. They twist cultural norms and sometimes have to be locked up. There is no cure.

As years go by, if they are lucky, in perspective they're seen to actually have found a cure to the cultural virus that infected them. They, in effect, were the cure.

Being Human

A man kills his family then kills himself. Children are taught to be suicide bombers and soldiers. Young women are held captive as sex slaves. Leaders bomb their own people. Brother kills brother in sectarian violence. A man cuts up a victim, puts her in a suitcase and throws her in the river.

We seem good at pushing the limits of human degradation and evil.

We need to work just as hard--or harder--to push the limits of what it means to be human in the best and fullest way.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Art and taste

Artists create art. Others create taste.

Art is a free expression with intention and integrity. Taste is selection and judgement.

Art is driven by internal necessity. Taste is driven by status and class.

Art endures. Taste changes.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Life doesn't give meaning to you. You give meaning to life.

Friday, August 19, 2016


It's tragic about those poor children in Aleppo. Oops, there's a scratch on my granite countertop.

The latest stats on childhood poverty are sad. Wow, they accepted our bid of $520,000 on the new house.

The Libyan refugees are really struggling. Yes, I think the gold plated accessories will go nicely in the new bath.

The world's going to hell in a hand basket, but I've got to run. My wife is waiting for me in the Hummer.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How many?

How many beds have you slept in in how many states and how many countries?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


What does reality look like through the eyes of poetry?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How many?

How many images a day do you consume that ask you to buy something?

Do it.

Sit down.
Put your bare feet in the wet grass.
Let the sun shine on you.
Take a deep breath.
Listen to the birds.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Why we do it

We often wonder why we do the things we do or why others do the things they do. If we expect answers, we are frustrated with the difficulty in finding them.

That is until we realize that our behaviors come from a deep well of experiences, incomplete and distorted  memories, secrets, unspeakable acts and cultural imprints all mixed into the stew that is us.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Into a poem

Turn the songs of the birds into a poem.
Turn the wind on your cheek into a poem.
Turn the touch of a child into a poem.
Turn the  healing words into a poem.
Turn humility into a poem.
Turn yourself into a poem.

Friday, August 12, 2016


People don't change. They're just the same in different ways.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


In the age of me, of identity, of uniqueness and individuality,
normal is the new strange.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Medal count

Whatever the Olympic ideal is, it struggles to breathe in the atmosphere of the current focus on medal count.

The medal count becomes nationalistic and political. It becomes pure vc. tainted. It becomes what can be discovered and what can be hidden.

For me, it becomes a realization that the playing field will always be uneven. The media will give full attention to the sexy and short shift to the rest. It will find its heart-wrenching back stories to feed us.
New training advancements and medical discoveries and equipment design will make world records suspect.

It's no coincidence that countries with the highest GDP are the highest in medal count. Athletes in those countries have the time, the financial resources, the training, the media attention to get them to their highest levels of achievement. Does anyone believe that an athlete in Mauretania can compete equitably with an American athlete?

And who gets the lucrative endorsement contracts as an incentive?

I do not take anything away from the work and commitment of the athletes. But I think it's fair to be realistic about Olympic games and the organization that stages them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It's truly art...

It's truly art if it never runs out of meaning.

Monday, August 8, 2016


The IQ we should be asking about a person is not the intelligence quotient but the integrity quotient.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

60 second celebrity

Be awarded a Medal of Honor. Get a Purple Heart. Risk your life to save another. Be a family like the Khans. Those achievements get a 60 seconds of celebrity. On stage, then quickly off. We can't tolerate too big a dose of integrity.

But act like Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Ozzy Osborne, Jerry Springer, Kanye West. Celebrity is endless. The more gossip and antics, the ore we like it. We eat it up.

After all, as much time is devoted to all of national and international events on the evening news as to entertainment "news" or game shows.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The curmudgeon: why I won't watch much of the Olympics

You know what the Olympic ideals are? you won't learn about them by watching this sports spectacle.

How does the extensive corruption of the IOC administration reflect Olympic ideals?

Money is the driver.

The medals are nice, but the lucrative sponsorships are better.

The TV produced back stories are selective and smarmy.

Athletic prowess is lifted to godlike status where accomplishments of creative pass unnoticed.

Athletes are lauded for their work and dedication. But they have support, coaches, psychiatrists, sponsorships and equipment deals. There are lots of people who struggle daily just to make a life for themselves.

A lot of the former could have their lives much improved if money for the Olympics were used to help them.

We are never sure who is drugging themselves and who is not.

World records are broken all the time, but the field is uneven. Each Olympics, there is better equipment. better coaching, longer training times. better science and better drugs.

How would the ancient Greeks felt about badminton, golf, table tennis and field hockey.

Yes, I'm a curmudgeon, but we need to question spectacle and money as distractions from what the human community really needs.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Absurdity: driver of human civilization

We can thank the rational for much of human civilization. But we must also give due credit to absurdity. In big and small bits, it fills all our lives from Madonna's stage outfits to Donald Trump's candidacy.

Think about some big steps that seemed over the top in their time;

"Why don't we create these giant wall drawings in a place where we will have to invent the technology to scaffold, paint and light the things."

"I think we can take this chunk of rock and turn it into weapons and jewelry."

"I think we can prove the earth is spherical and measure its circumference with a stick and a triangle."

"Even if I get burned at the stake, I believe there could be life on other planets."

"Why don't we try putting the sun at the center of the universe and see what happens."

"I think we can make sense of why the  moon doesn't fly off into space."

"I think most of matter is nothing but empty space."

"I think I can make an exact copy of this sheep."

"I think I can convince you the universe is 13 million years old."

"We can surely land a vehicle on Mars and it will roam around and send us back information."

"We can grow skin."

"We can take a bit of gene out and replace it with different bit of gene."

"We can transplant a face."

"We can build a hundred story skyscraper."

"We can make a little box so you can access endless information and talk to anyone on the planet."

You get the idea.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

I'm a penis...Part 3

Penises live life like their owners. First we’re clueless, then virile, then we drift a bit, then settle down, then wane in our capacities, then reach acceptance. But it’s a little known fact that as we age and sit and hang out with our owners, we reminisce, too…and become wise.

My advice to young penises.  Accept yourself for what you are. Recognize that sometimes your owner will think with your head instead of his own. Live within your culture, but don’t buy everything it tells you. Some cultures honor the penis, some can hardly say the word.  When people call you names like dick, prick, dong, and slong, hold your head up high. And do what nature asks of your for as long as you can.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I'm a penis...Part 2

There were some strange moments and some special moments. Once he grabbed me and pulled this thing over my head. I thought I would suffocate. Another time he rubbed me all over with this unctuous smelling stuff. I nearly choked this time. But other times were great, like when I got to be there at the exact moment of conception. There were times when I disappointed him and he blamed me. But of course it was his fault for being drunk.

As we both grew older, he knew he was not the man he once was. But he could not believe that I was not the penis I once was. He made me the scapegoat for his failures. You wouldn’t believe all the things he did to me to me to bring back those glory days. He’d make me watch those awful porn videos where I was supposed to perform like the penis of a young stud. It was embarrassing to say the least.

As the flood of hormones subsided to a trickle,  he remained trapped in his own delusions. But I could just hang around and think about what it meant to be a penis.