Sunday, September 24, 2017

I'm a happy guy

I’m a happy guy, by and large. My wife and I have never paid interest on a credit card bill. We own our own home, paid the mortgage ahead of time. We pay for new cars with cash, as we do with lots of other purchases. We both worked jobs with modest incomes. We travel, and we’re generous. I’m a happy guy.
Well I was until I discovered that while I’ve tried to stay out of debt, my government has put me and every other citizen in debt to the tune of $42, 503.98.
Remember those early mortgage payments where the interest was the bulk of them and the principal was a pittance. I guess that’s the case when the government buys a plane or a tank or a taller fence around the White House or more security cameras or more toilet paper for the Congressional Office Building.
Can I expect that one day China will send me a foreclosure notice or a conglomerate of billionaires will auction off all of my belongings or a giant hedge fund take my pension?
The ratio of national debt to the gross domestic product in the US is 105.8%. Not comforting. Maybe this is for sure the time in life to follow the example of government and start spending beyond my means. What do you think?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The committed teacher

If you’re a committed teacher, this is what happens. You dispense information. For some students it’s soon gone and gone forever. For others, the information sticks and starts to form little clusters and patterns. Then when you identify these patterns as knowledge, the students realize what happened and begin to create knowledge on their own. Some hang onto their knowledge, make it work for them, but use it to build a comfortable box to live in. Others shake, knead, probe and wrestle with the knowledge until they discover wisdom. Some sit on the wisdom as if they’ve reached the mountaintop. The few realize that wisdom is useless without the courage to put it to work.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Trump vs. your kids

Compare the behavior of Donald Trump to that of your 5 year old, your 12 year old, your 17 year old and your 30 year old. Do we need to go any higher that 30? How do these comparisons work out?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Trump's UN speech

What does Donald Trump’s America First really mean? We are first among the nice countries in prison population and gun violence. We’ve got to be up there in drug use and poverty. And don’t forget obesity. We’ve got big problems with infrastructure and we’re moving backwards on climate issues.
And what does he mean by sovereignty? Sovereignty is at the root of countless wars and countless examples of colonialism and its evils. What North Korea is doing right now is an example of sovereignty.
How are we to interpret America First in a world that is irreversibly connected by business, travel, the Internet, trade, defense, treaties and pacts? Are we to demonstrate our pride by creating a big 4th of July military show of the kind we’ve disparaged in Russia, China and North Korea.
Too much of his U.N. speech was un-thought-out egoistic bombast. Trump thinks he is America. America First is just a clanging marketing slogan empty of any genuine meaning.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Guns, violence and race

A recent look at the Internet provides these statistics on gun homicides in 2015:
229 blacks were killed by whites
500 whites were killed by blacks
2380 blacks were killed by blacks
2574 whites were killed by whites
36 unarmed blacks were killed by police
31 unarmed whites were killed by police.
These statistics can be reconfigured based on different interpretations of the nature of the crime or on percentages of the population or other such interpretations.
There is no question of the systemic injustices toward blacks, and all efforts to remedy this are important.
But the real issue is violence in America and our appetite for it in media, entertainment and video games. This is fed directly by the insane obsession with guns and the rabid and rigid NRA. America is on average 25 times more violent than other industrialized countries. Concealed carry laws allow guns in parks, bars, churches and schools. There’s a gun for every American citizen, many easily purchased on the streets. Too many lawmakers in the pocket of the NRA, and its ability to deliver voters on command. And a Supreme Court that conveniently ignores the militia clause of the 2nd Amendment. (What are the responsibilities of a gun owner under the militia clause.)
So even if we bring justice to the issues of race and homicide, we will still have the issue of a violent America and its obsession with guns. Let’s start there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Love and paradise

It’s probably true that there are about as many acts of malevolence in the world at any given time as there are acts of compassion. This sadly is the human condition. Human institutions of all kinds are constructed to try to sway the balance one way or the other. The Garden of Eden was not paradise because of love, but because blind obedience. While the misbehavior of Adam and Eve lost us paradise, it actually gave us something better to chase after—love of the world and pleasure in achieving it. Love is a human invention continually in flux and continually transforming itself over time.

Who knows if love conquers all. What we do know is that evil is self-consuming and self-destructive and that love heals. Love directs us to the elusive. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

5K

If you’re looking for a cause for your 5K race, you’d better act soon. Most major and minor illnesses are already taken.
Here are some options that are still available:
--Incontinence (“That we may never leak again”)
--Warts (“Killer of perfect flesh”)
--Toenail fungus (“Step up against toe shame”)
--Eyelid rejuvenation (“Eyelids are the shades of the windows of the soul”)
--Flatulence (“Everyone deserves a fart-free life”)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Art

In the end, making art is not a selfish act, but rather a cultural act. It is not a commodity, but a gift. Making art transforms the artist, makes the artist, into an agent of cultural change and a responsible cultural force. Art becomes the light that illuminates what’s unjust, what’s profound, what’s beautiful and even what’s sacred in the world.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Funeral decisions

Some tough funeral decisions for the contemporary man:
--Should I get a body waxing, a manicure and nails painted for the coffin viewing?
--Should I get buried in the red Corvette or atop the Harley?
--Should I get my penis stuffed and mounted for the wife?
--Should the mistress give one of the eulogies?
--Should I have my beer can collection in the coffin?
--Should I get cremated and have my ashes scatted on the golf course?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Excerpt: 100 Lives (condensed)

Face it. She was born trailer trash. Kitsch city. No kind of learning ever interested her. From high school on she dressed like a prostitute, but was really quite selective in who she went to bed with. If it was shiny, red, yellow or soft to the touch, it was part of her wardrobe. Shoes were her passion, a passion she supported by her job as a welder. She aged gracefully, and assiduously avoided acquiring any taste. She died on her own terms in her own home. Shortly before she died, she allowed St. Vincent de Paul to pillage her house for anything they could use.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An excerpt from my soon to be published book, 100 Lives (condensed0

An excerpt from my soon-to-be-published book, 100 Lives (condensed).
Born on the 4th of July. Must have been a beautiful baby. Too young to really fall in love. Makin’ whoopee. Goin’ with him someday soon. The bells are ringing for me and my gal. D-I-V-O-R-C-E. I’ve got a crush on you. Love is lovelier the second time around. Body and soul. D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Alone again, naturally. Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. Love is just around the corner. Everything’s coming up roses. Someone to watch over me. I did it my way.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ask yourself this

Ask yourself this. How many times in a day do you encounter spin, half-truths, misleading ads, seductive and manipulative marketing, outright lies, deception, celebrity sales pitches and media distortions? And the perpetrators are politicians, corporate marketing, online websites, social media, fringe groups, religious organizations and news organizations. No wonder honesty and integrity are so hard to find. And no question that education and critical thinking are essential.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Beauty



No one can enjoy life fully without the capacity to recognize genuine beauty.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Scenes from an artist's life

Scenes from an artist’s life:
--The artist has matured so that his work becomes of some value. But no one wants to pay for it. So he gives it away to friends. He dies, which noticeably increases the interest in his work. His friends sell it off for a little extra pocket money while he rots in his grave.
--The artist has a home emergency when his furnace goes out. He asks his neighbor, an HVAC repairman, to come over for a look. It gets fixed. The artist says, “Next time you have an art emergency, be sure to call me.”
--Your friends know you’re an artist. They show how much they value that by asking you to help pick colors for their bedroom or to do a portrait of their dog.
--The artist has a piece selected into the Museum collection. Great for the resume. But she knows that work will never again see the light of day.
--The arts program has a rock guitarist, a movie actress and the artist. The venue is filled. After the guitarist and actress speak, the hall almost empties.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Texas



Texas
--Texas has one of the harshest anti-immigration laws in the country. They would love to have the border wall. But the devastation of Harvey now requires the hiring of countless immigrants for help in recovery efforts. People are bringing them sandwiches and drinks. Let’s see what will happen in a year or so.
--Ted Cruz voted against relief money for hurricane Sandy in New York. A different tune and different expectations for of his colleagues for Harvey.
--It is legal to carry knives, machetes and spears in public in Texas. Must be preparation for an anticipated Viking raid.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Ohio Proficiency Test

Ohio Science Proficiency Test: Botany
17. Which of the following is true about the flax plant:
(a) It is one of the first plants domesticated by Stone
Age man.
(b) Mummies were wrapped in linen made from it.
(c) Early colonists grew it for home use.
(d) One of its products is used in some of the greatest paintings ever made.
(e) None of the above.
(f) All of the above.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hemp

Hemp and the Founding Fathers


The North American Industrial Hemp Council tells us that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp and that Benjamin Franklin owned a mill that produced hemp paper. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. Today, to grow hemp, the DEA requires a field secured by a fence, razor wire, dog guards and lights.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Integrity

Read the newspapers. Maintaining personal integrity is damn hard work.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How do I hate thee

Is this what we've come to?
How do I hate thee. Let me count the ways. I hate thee to the depth and breadth and height this poison can reach, when stripping humanity from others. For the ends of being and my own dumb arrogance. I hate thee to the level of every day's Most unreasonable need, by sun and candle-light. I hate thee freely, as men strive to kill the beliefs of their fellow men.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Suri alpaca

The top ten reasons to love the Suri alpaca
10. They are herd-oriented.
9. They are clean.
8. They are intelligent.
7. They are gentle.
6. They have three stomachs.
5. They love water.
4. They are rare.
3. They have been domesticated for 6000 years.
2. They were revered by the Incas.
1. They birth only in the morning.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

some stats /NY Times / Sunday, Sept.3

NYTimes / some stats / Sunday, Sept. 3
--There are 20 registered lobbyists for every Congressman.
(But who lobbies for you and me?)
--The NCAA allows up to 10 assistant coaches per football team.
(And the payroll is…?)
--The average apartment rent in Manhattan is $4109,
but ultraluxury apartments average $23, 789.
(Manhattan is the place to be…for some.)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Today's sermon

“My dear friends in Christ, today’s sermon concerns dryer lint. It is most egalitarian. Free of prejudice, it merges the roughest of jeans, the most intimate of panties, the hard-working dish cloth, the sweatiest socks, the uniforms of the soldier and the nurse, and the garments of young and old. It’s soft and flexible and blends all colors. It can be recycled into paper and once (and this is true, my dear friends) was transformed into a sculpture of the Blessed Mother and Child. So even from our navels cometh a message from the Lord.”

Thursday, August 31, 2017

10 steps to happiness


--Don’t expect others to think, act or believe like you want them to.
--Make friends with funny people.
--Get over yourself.

--Think of misfortune as a way to grow as a person.
--Do things you like, but that take effort and have meaning.
--Recognize that you work enough hours during your life that you have to find satisfaction in it.
--Don’t expect to get any more out of love than you put into it.
--Make money a means not a goal.
--Think of yourself as a human being, capable of glory and foolishness.
--Make one really good friend.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hate

Treat hate like an addiction, because that's what it is. It feeds on itself and fills the moral emptiness of the hater.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Down with monuments

Monuments to Civil War heroes are being removed, covered, pulled down, and in most cases, justifiable so in cities of very different racial complexity than when they were erected. Civil War generals, the Canadian MacDonald, Christopher Columbus and even Washington and Jefferson are called into question.
As these scenarios unfold, though, these actions must be accompanied by opportunities for genuine dialogue aimed at changing hearts, or else they become, in the end, simply feel-good exercises.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The art world

More and more “the art world” seems a curious term. In its history, art has been in palaces, churches, parks, on streets, in indigenous villages, on bodies, in temples, on city walls, under the ocean, in outer space. It has colonized everything.
Yet the art world is made up of museums, galleries, curators, artists, critics, auction houses, entrepreneurs, collectors and art fairs. Yet in many ways, the art world is where art get locked away, pulled into this world. Most people don’t find serious art in their world, don’t find it meaningful, don’t find it accessible.
No retreat into the art world, but invasion of the world.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Two by two

In my teens I attended Pelican Boys State, a program to help young people learn about state government in Louisiana. At the same time Pelican Girls State was happening. For the Governor’s Ball, celebrating the conclusion of the programs, the boys and girls were lined up and paired randomly as dates. I liked to dance, but I was paired with a Baptist girl for whom dancing was prohibited. We had to work it out.


This experience suggests to me that when opposing protest groups come together, the same thing happen for them. That way each group is no longer a mob with the potential of acting like a mob. The groups become pairs of human beings talking to one another as human beings, breaking through stereotypes. I know this seems wildly improbable, but what else can work? Do you have a better idea?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Some questions

Some questions;
--Why do people pay for performances and pay to eat/drink at them but expect art openings to be free with free food and drink?
--Why can singers perform their works over and over again, but once an artist shows a piece, it is generally unacceptable to show that piece over and over again.
--Why do people who write books which no one has yet read get invited on talk shows, but artists who make new work, which is visual for a visual medium, never do?
--Why do art works which are hopefully appreciated by many, owned by one person and seen by few?
--Why are writers interviewed as experts but visual artists rarely are?


Friday, August 25, 2017

The bigot and the egg

The bigot and the egg.
The egg is designed to be difficult to crack from the outside, but easy for the new chick to break through from the inside. So the bigot. The bigot builds a tough shell on the outside, one hard to penetrate. But on the inside bigots have, I believe, at least a seed of goodness. They love their children or would help a friend or attend church. This seed needs to be acknowledged and nurtured to help it grow. The result: the shell is broken from within.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Persist

Lately it seems that Donald Trump supporters don’t just like him. They are like him. They are so rigid no argument can sway them. They are absolute in their rightness. In the other voices around them, they only hear themselves. They hide their fears behind muscle. You hear no compassion in them.
That is why quiet, persistent voices of compassion and non-violence are so important.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A practical use of the penis

Only women can give birth. But men, here’s something only you can do. Stand in the shower with a full bladder and begin to urinate. You will observe that the arc of urination is a parabola. Then notice that as you vary the angle of your penis, the distance spanned by the arc of the parabola of urination changes. At an angle of 45 degrees the distance spanned is at its maximum.
This is a valuable mathematical use of the penis since it has implications for diving in pools, throwing a football, playing corn hole, shooting cannons and more. It is likely that this is how Leonardo developed his understanding of the calculus of weaponry. And this is only one of the many practical uses of the penis.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A cahnging world

Life is complex, subtle and surprising, and so is every human being who lives it. As a consequence so are human behaviors and institutions. We can’t understand them from what we see on the surface. Stereotypes and labels may be comforting, but they don’t work. To make meaningful sense of the issues and dynamics we see around us, we must work at it, educate ourselves and be willing to adapt our beliefs and perceptions to a world constantly changing. It’s hard to give up long-held beliefs, to change with a changing world, but it is necessary and it is sign of courage and maturity.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Poison

How can people live with such poison inside them?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pence

Donald Trump has disgraced the Presidency and the Republican Party. How much more will it take for him to be designated unfit to govern? How much more will it take for Republicans to act from a place of conscience and not party loyalty?
Is it too soon to begin to ask what kind of President Mike Pence will make and how much of Donald Trump would he drag into a Presidency? Frightening to consider since so far he appears to simply be Trump’s trumpeter.

The soul

The Egyptians among other cultures fed and prepared the souls of the dead for the afterlife. Many today profess to believe in the soul, but do they feed the soul adequately for its journey after death?