Saturday, July 22, 2017

Arf arf

Recent statistics show that Americans spend a total of $22 billion on pet care and vet visits. Vacationers can spend as much as $1000 a week on pet resorts, which include massages and “pawdicures.” Pets can swim, be read to and in general be pampered. After all, pets are people. too.

Friday, July 21, 2017

National Pay Attention Dammit Day

Today is National Pay Attention Dammit Day. So open your eyes. Listen. Open your mind. Let all kinds of stuff in. The world is talking to you, and it has lots to say. Pay attention, dammit.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


We too often see the world in black/white terms. Everything is oppositional—good/bad, light/dark, young/old, male/female and so on. Any taint of one oppositional element in the other is seen as an impurity which must be eradicated. Also we couch everything in the superlative. The best, the fastest, the sexiest, the richest, the most popular. We go crazy over top 10 lists, and must be first or best at everything. There’s much that is destructive in this way of seeing things. There is no final an pure perfect form.
A more Eastern point of view looks at the world, not as a conflict of opposites, but as a search for balance and harmony. It accepts as a given that each oppositional element exists in its other. That resolves the impurity issue from the start. Then it becomes the task in each circumstance and in each person to find a life-affirming balance or harmony. The search for this balance is ongoing because life is an organic process
What would happen if we applied this philosophy to our current political and social problems which are so enmeshed in conflict?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What is an artist, if not ...

What is an artist, if not …
A court jester
A bee in your bonnet
The harbinger of the apocalypse
A prophet
Someone willing to shine light on…
Someone who sees the big picture
A seer and a see-er
In the end, a martyr
A maker of a little magic
Someone comfortable with mystery
The conscience of a culture
A maker of beautiful things
Someone who discovers beauty—even in the ugly
Passion and persistence
A relentless eye
Radical by nature
Someone you ought to listen to more

Monday, July 17, 2017

Some things that make me sad

Some things that make me sad:
All the litter along the roads and highways
A 70 year old lady who has to work at Wendy’s to survive
A child who lives daily with verbal abuse
Someone who never thinks about the universe
Serious art that never gets seen
A city in rubble for stupid reasons
A totally white, gated community
A pre-teen contemplating suicide
A drug-addicted young person
A rapist who gets off easy because of privilege
Love that becomes hate
People who ignore their spiritual selves
Ignorance for its own sake
A toddler killed by a gun
The American flag used to sell cars and furniture
The abuse of cheap labor
Heartless people
The inherent injustice of the system that seeks justice
My own failures as a human being

Sunday, July 16, 2017

War and peace

If the military can successfully train soldiers to defend the country even to the point of killing other human beings, why isn’t there an organization that can successfully train citizens to create peace even to the point of loving other human beings?

Friday, July 14, 2017


Many of us spend long and demanding hours to gain for ourselves titles like: CEO, PhD, MD, Chairman, President, Chief, Senator and so forth.
But to me the title that is most important to aim for is: decent human being.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The art opening

The art opening is actually destructive to the art is it intended to support. The opening says, “There will be food and drink, because we’re not sure the art is enough to get you there.” The opening is a social occasion, to be seen and to chat with friends and where the art is in effect a backdrop, not necessarily to be looked at. More time is spent away from the art than with it. Unlike a performance, where patrons pay for the experience of the art, here it’s free and free to be ignored. And, maybe worst of all, the day after the busy and glittering opening, the galleries are virtually empty.
I say dump the openings. Turn them into small group tours, Q&A’s, artist talks, panel discussions, answering questions from attendees. Something that says the art is the important thing. Attendance may be less, but the art will be surrounded by those who really care about it.
In the end, art doesn’t ask to be celebrated, it asks to be taken seriously.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The hierarchy of art (inverted)

The Heirarchy of Art (inverted)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In junior high

In junior high, we sat through convocations on the dangers of Communism--in retrospect just reactionary silliness and empty fear. We were taught to believe our American values were at risk.
Little did we know that, in fact, American values were already under assault by increasingly sophisticated corporate marketing. This is what we needed convocations about, because this is what was beginning to erode freedoms and values.
We were not taught how visual language works so we could unravel images that were impacting our thinking and behavior. We learned to poison our way to the perfect lawn. We needed multiple, expensive surgeries to hold off aging. We were conditioned to desire anything flavored and scented. We deserve what others have, and we are worth it. Only the best for us.
Pepsi commercials are not bad enough—dancing, beautiful young people, spectacle, maybe even a disabled person here or there. Love sells cars, fast food and more. But now a car commercial asks a guy if he wants to be a good person and a good father. A rousing No! as he speeds away in an expensive machine, driving like an immature adolescent.
We take on the values of corporate America and fail to realize that the choices we think are freely made are often the consequences of manipulative marketing.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Genuine beauty

Genuine beauty doesn't care where it lives.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Art is an acquired taste, but a cultural necessity.

Art wants to speak to everyone, but it’s not always good at conversation.

Art is often more honest than the artist.

Art that doesn’t do more than get your attention is not art.

North Korea Strategy

North Korea Strategy:
Ivanka briefly sits in Trump’s seat at the G-20 summit to get international credibility. Then Trump makes her a Special Emissary to North Korea. She and Rex Tillerson arrive with a new wardrobe designed by Ivanka for Un. He loves it, wants her to design new clothes for his concubines, and immediately cancels his intercontinental nuclear ballistic missile program.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Making art

If you make art and you are not changed as a human being, then you are not making art.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Do you love me?

Do you love me?
Yes, but I really don’t know what love is. Ask me again in 25 years.
Do you love me?
I love who you are now, but I can’t be sure I’ll love who you become.
Do you love me?
I love you as far into forever as I can see right now.
Do you love me?
I’ll get back to you on that as soon as I figure out if I love myself.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Riding the streetcar

Riding the streetcar. New Orleans, 1955.
Riding the transit in New Orleans was pleasant, 7 cents a ride and most people did it. Whether streetcar or bus, the back of each seat had 2 holes used to place a wooden sign which said, “FOR COLORED ONLY.” This sign could be moved to accommodate the racial mix of the riders, with colored at the back.
Yesterday, those signs could be moved by any rider to any seat on the bus. Today, the day the integration order goes into effect, the signs are gone. People speculate the worst. But, in fact, for much longer than anyone expects, colored go to the back and white go to the front. The freedoms granted take time to overcome the habits of generations.
I rode those streetcars to college every day. New Orleans, 1963.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The N word

The N word and me. New Orleans, 1952.
A nigger baby was a 3 foot high cast iron cone with a ball on top, used to prevent cars from driving into a drainage ditch that ran along the banquette.
Eenie, meenie, minie, moe, catch a nigger by the toe.
Brazil nut=nigger toe.
These were all part of the common language of white children at play in the days of segregation.
The black man and me, New Orleans, 1952.
My great grandmother ran a rooming house in the Garden District, where I spend many weekends. Across from her, in a former slave dwelling, live Emile Forest, a black gentleman and gentle man. He and I worked together emptying slop jars, cleaning bathrooms and doing assorted chores. If he found a penny, he turned it in. If I found a penny, I was rewarded with, “You’re as honest as Forest.”
I never heard him referred to with the N word.
8 years old. New Orleans, 1952.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4

Sales, fireworks, parades, flags and BBQs aside, today when we remember the birth of America and its values, it’s hard not to think about the death of America and its currently embattled values.
These times have caused me to question my values as I live them and to question American values as I live within them. 
We are coming to understand that we must be present and engaged, and that rigid or flabby responses won’t work.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bill and Mary

Mary: Slow down. Do you see that red light? You missed the turn!
Bill: Yes, dear. (Thinking: Throw momma from the train.)
Bill: Do I have clean underwear?
Mary: Yes, dear. (Thinking: I’d like to shove it up your you know where.)

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Passed my driver’s test. That’s awesome. The Wonder Woman movie was great. No man, it was awesome. We live in a world where the mundane is awesome, but where we are often bored or complacent. It takes a flashy marketing campaign, a life trauma of an A grade celebrity or an Olympic sized spectacle to get our attention. While the truly awesome little miracles and puffs of magic—like the blossoming of a flower over and over or the development of a child’s brain—go largely unnoticed.

The philosopher Matthew Fox has noted that our inability to find true awe in the world and to stand in awe of something has eroded our sense of our own humanity.

How is it possible after that your most unlikely existence at this circumstance of 13 billion years of evolution, conception by the sperm that became you ,and your birth with all its life possibilities, you could possibly be bored?

I we can find the ordinary to be awesome, we should be able to find the awesome in the ordinary.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Savage absurdity

You know, I think I used to have a playful sense of humor, highlighting the silly absurdity and funny absurdity of the human world. But these days that seems to have been swept away in a deluge of absurdity which is brutal, mean-spirited, materialistic and savage.

For me, humor isn’t enough anymore, but I don’t know what is.