Thursday, September 29, 2016


Gun deaths pile up: police, innocent victims, children, suicides, mass killings, family members on family members.

Public outrage increases; polls say it, demonstrations say it, advocacy groups say it, victims' families say it.

The money doled out to legislators increases: in their pockets, in their votes, in their empty second amendment justifications.

The votes delivered by the NRA increase: rigid ideology trumps common sense, hysteria drives thinking.

Gun manufacturers come out on top: who cares the consequences, profits, profits, profits.

Guns on the street proliferate: bars, churches, parks, playgrounds, national parks.

This makes no sense to me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The best human being

What is the incentive for being the best human being? We have the Nobel Prize, the Mann Booker Prize, the Rookie of the Year Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and more. We award achievement of all kinds.

But what is the incentive for being the best human being? What does that even mean? Does culture ask that of us? Does religion ask that of us? Do we ask that of ourselves?

What happens when we must acknowledge that we all live in both the dark and the light? What do we do with inevitable failure? When in a life are we ever finished with a life's work? Can this work be finished without becoming embedded in all of humanity?

Culture needs such humans and calls them out. They offer us forgiveness, atonement and an image of fuller humanity. Sometimes it seems the only award for this kind of human success is a violent death.

We live in a world that needs all the humanity we an muster, but models it so inadequately.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


If minds are freed up, there is no such thing as reality. There are only myriad realities each competing for meaning. They are built and informed by genes, by experience, by culture, by knowledge and by education. And this how how it should be and should be affirmed to be.

A comfortable reality shared by all is dangerous, the consequence of dogma, brainwashing and the control of information. The worst consequence of this is to not know your mind is so controlled and to believe it can't be free.

Monday, September 26, 2016


You don't get an education for a career, you get an education to be a human being.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

More actual conversation

In this age of too much to do. too little time, tweets and online chatter, we need time for more straight up conversation.

When we greet someone with: "How are you?" "Hello" "How's your day?" or things like that, we come to expect a one word answer: "Good" "Fine" "Okay."

To break that monotony and create more actual conversation, here are useful useful responses to those typical greetings:

I'm just longing for solitude.

My dog is bipolar.

My nipples just got hard.

I had to eat cabbage for breakfast.

I live with the shame of toenail fungus.

I dreamed I was valedictorian at Trump University.

My boyfriend got a tattoo of me on his ass.

My mother is transgendering.

Now I have two social workers and a probation officer.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A vision

It's hard to nurture a vision of the world, tend it past its fuzzy stages, test its viability over and over against the world and bring others along with you.

But that's just what a serious artist does.

Friday, September 23, 2016


859 is no magic number. But is's as good a place as any to stop and thank all of you have take time each day to read my thoughts. The world is a crazy, absurd, chaotic, beautiful place.

Taking a hard and humorous look at it is my way of engaging it. So thanks again for you time.

Getting there

Life is often described as a journey, a journey along a path or a road. To  me it's really a path within a maze. We wander with no real sense of where we're headed. We circle back on ourselves. We hit barriers. We get confused and frustrated.

Our perseverance is tested and tested again. We hear the other lost souls and struggle to decide whether to save them or save ourselves. It's all a part of the muddled journey, physical and emotional.

When we reach that sacred center, the place where hope and doggedness have led us, we realize that this is the center of our humanness. The myriad paths have all led here.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

All for one

Great religions have said that we are all one.

"Love one another," tells us to strive to become one with each other.

DNA connects all living things to one another.

Now genome research has determined that all humans are derived from one single population that emerged in Africa.

This suggests a flowering of human possibility over time that is amazing.

So why do we hate one another, create these ethnic and racial divides and treat diversity like its disaster?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


The most important task of a young person is to become an independent, responsible adult. To become meaningful in the world. In this process, the young person can choose to remain a part of traditions represented by the parents, to say rooted in these traditions or to rebel.

This is just what he artist does. Some artists commit to a tradition. Some artists root in a tradition and grow out from it. Some artists rebel. But all artists of merit must produce works which are independent, responsible and adult. The must make meaning in the world.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Power is a dark star. Circling it are ego, greed, status, arrogance and low self esteem. Eventually this star collapses from its own weight destroying all around it in a black hole of chaos and misery. Hope is the unknown universe at the other end.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Emmy Awards

How much did it cost to stage the Emmy's?

How much did it cost to dress everyone at the Emmy's?

How many people watched this self-congratulatory love fest of television?

How much money was spent to honor teachers?

How much effort was made to pay them decent salaries?

How many people spend 4 hours in showing appreciation to teachers?

Replace "teachers" with any other set of public servants and ask the same questions.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


A weekend trip back to a place I hadn't been in almost 50 years. Seeing friends I'd not seen in all these years. They escape the masks of them I had carried in my memory all these years, escape into the people they are now.

I find images of myself that long ago in the yearbooks and I escape back into who I was then.

Talking catches me up and flings me back and forth between these like locations.

Friday, September 16, 2016


You learn to draw, you learn to look.

You learn to look, you learn to see.

You learn to see, you grab the world.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Great art

Should I care about great art? Isn't it just as important that art bubble up wherever it can in whatever form it can for whatever purpose it proposes? We certainly measure athletics by level of accomplishment, entertainers by popularity and income generated. There are awards everywhere from Emmys to Nobel Prizes. For all kinds of noble and ignoble reasons, we like to identify and reward the best.

But criteria. That's the rub. Are criteria based on competition, popularity, dollars, peer judgement, quality? What?

I've been thinking about this lately and have some provisional thoughts in relation to visual art.

Art has the capacity to grab you in the gut. If this experience stays with you and moves into the mind and the spirit, if it just won't let go, this can be a sign of greatness, even if just for you.

A work or constellation of works by the same artist suggest enduring relevance.

A work of art takes you deeper into yourself over time.

A work of art gives you at least a hint of the sublime, a hint of the beauty and terror of reality.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I'm a penis: reader responses

I recently “came out” as a penis in the cosmic absurdity blog. Since then, other penises, holding their heads high, came out too. I wanted to share some of their comments.

“Man, what you wrote was cool. But I knew right away you were white. Still it motivated me to write. That “black means big” thing is demeaning. If I had 9 or 10 inches, man I couldn’t even pick that thing up. Another thing. Making love all night long is exhausting, and you miss work the next day and walk funny.”
--Black is beautiful

“Man, you are one conservative dick. Probably of the Catholic persuasion. My owner is a pleasure machine, and I’m the energy source. I travel to all kinds of exotic places, but I never stick my head where it doesn’t belong. Best of all, I’m reliable.”
--Sex pistol

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Your biography

Suppose someone steals your iphone, collects all the data on it, and uses that to write your biography.

What would that look like?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Imagine this.

The fans gather outside the stadium to tailgate. There's plenty scotch, chardonnay, craft beer and brie and crackers to go around. As game time approaches, the fans file into the stadium.

The dozen or so players, with quick and muscular minds, walk onto the field to roaring applause. The national anthem plays followed by Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth.

They settle in and the whistle blows. One player passes an idea, which is caught by another. He runs with it with great agility, speed and toughness. The idea is tackled by another player. The whole team chases the idea, and each scores with a solution and a new play on it. No one punts.

The fans are going crazy as their minds expand. They start engaging one another. Waves of ideas circle the stadium.

At the end of the game, no one loses. Everyone wins. No one leaves disappointed. Minds are stretched. Everyone is drunk with knowledge.

Imagine that.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Who's supporting the artists?

Just read in the NY Times today that Nike has a $170 million dollar contract with University of Michigan athletics.

Who's supporting the artists?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Being human

Being human is a messy business. We stumble around with good intentions under the delusion that we are rational creatures. We believe that we believe we can always be better, and that is how we are redeemed.

Friday, September 9, 2016


It's fun to be nice.

It's delightful to be generous.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Eternity is not out there or at the end of time or after death.

Eternity is all around us, seen in glimpses by those who are attentive enough to find its portals.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


If you are a serious artist, what should society expect of you? What should you expect of yourself?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

It takes a village...

Years ago when Hillary Clinton commented that "It takes a village to raise a child," she was scoffed at. Yet today, as the divorce rate remains high, as most births are to unwed mothers, as the number of single parent households increases, her observation becomes more and more true.

Grandparents are raising grandchildren. Young adults are living at home. Children are finding themselves raised by multiple sets of parents. It's not uncommon for a wedding announcement to list two or three sets of parents on each side.

As the notion of "family" changes, raising a child includes child care providers, au pairs, nannies, tutors, coaches, social workers and therapists and more. To me, that's a village.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sound bite complexity

There is nothing about the presidential election that is simple. The implications of all the issues are profound. They take discussion, thought, reading, digestion of multiple viewpoints and sifting out of the motives of the various voices.

This is work, and work that takes time. This is about the future of America. This is about the responsibilities of a citizen who enjoys the privileges of America.

For most people this complexity gets condensed into a short sound bite on the evening news. A sentence or two from an  entire speech. A photo op. These little sound and video bites, whether from news or political ads, become the manipulated moments that we build into our images of the candidates.

Sadly, in a frantically paced society full of busy people rushing from experience to experience, a measured and thoughtful approach to voting is rare. Complexity is simply what can be crammed into a sound bite.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

So where are the artists?

Talk shows like Ellen and shows with special guests like TheDaily Show are full of celebrities, entertainers, politicians and people hawking their latest books and movies. They talk about books nobody has yet read and movies of which there is only a clip.

So where are the visual artists? TV is a largely visual media. It would be easy to show images of art work, and viewers would be able to see immediately what was being discussed. Do visual artists have nothing to say? Do they not achieve celebrity status? Does the audience have no interest in them?

When the media look for experts to address important issues, why do they never consider visual artists? Artists are educated and informed and make images that have direct and powerful impact on salient issues. Why are they almost never called upon?

Are these circumstances a function of the artist? Of the culture? Of the audience?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Weird shit

Squirrel meat
Thigh masters
Breast cones
3D printed vegetables
Dog vitamins
Pierced penises
Bikinis and burkinis
Toenail fungus
Coal miner Barbie
Furniture porn
Clamato juice
$600 blue jeans
Female MMA fighters
Border walls
Fashion models
White teeth
Calf implants
PC work places
D level celebrities
Salaries of professional athletes
6 year olds in full football gear
Billion dollar stadiums
Plastic flowers
Planned C-sections
People with 4 or more homes
Reputation managers
Eyelid rejuvenation

Friday, September 2, 2016

Colin Kaepernick's gesture

Colin Kaepernick made the choice not to stand for the national anthem. His choice to freely make. But as a public gesture, it is certainly open to discussion, of which there has been much. What bothered me was his comment that he would not stand up for an America that treated blacks the way it does.

While I think I understand his intention and empathize with it, I wonder which America he is referring to?

Is it the America that continues to fight for voting rights?
Is it the America that has passed significant civil rights legislation?
Is it the America that allows him the opportunity reach distinction in his profession?
Is it theAmerica where black-on-black crime takes many more lives than blacks killed by police?
Is it the America which welcomes immigrants from African nations?
Is it the imperfect America that will never give up on trying to heal its racial wounds?

With this gesture Kaepernick won't lose his job, his ample salary or his lifestyle . It is a gesture which calls attention to what is already clear in a devisive way with no healing component.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Fear and Death
in America
3 observations

1. Last year in America:             80,000      killed by alcohol
  47,055      killed by drugs
  30,208      killed by falls
                    4,609      killed on the job
  91      mauled by an animal (not      a dog)
                                  25     killed by lightening
                                     8    killed by terrorists

2. Odds of death by:
    drowning in the bathtub          1 in 800,000
    falling out of bed                     1 in 2 million
    being hit by lightening             1 in 5.5 million
    being killed by a terrorist         1 in 9.3 million

3. Americans are more likely to be killed by a police officer, a toddler or their own vomit than be killed by a terrorist.