Friday, October 28, 2011

I Am Not A Hunter

   Mother's save stuff, the attempts of their children, the work on the refridgerator door, the drawings, first paintings and classroom assignments.  Kids see no value other than in just getting it done, the job over and on time.  My mother saved a lot.  I have my very first little fired clay sculpture I made in the second grade under the guidance of the visiting art teacher, "Mrs Albright".  She would come to our class on Thursday's and we would have a two hour session, always a different medium, paper and paints and clay strewn about the classroom.  She must have been good at what she did because I still remember her name.
   I can't imagine teaching art like that, two hours, once a week, trying to get a tightly focussed classroom in a jumble of second graders who would rather be outside playing baseball or teasing the girls with snakes.  I remember lots of butcher paper.  She had huge sheets of the stuff and we would always begin by covering our desks in an attempt to keep them unpainted.
   I think I have every Geography report I ever did all through Jr. High School, reports on different countries full of statistics and maps.  I was never very good at drawing the maps but got enough extra points on the reports themselves to make up for my lack of drawing skills.  Foreign cultures intrigued me and studying them was one of my favorite things to do.  How do other people live? and what do they think about?  Why do they do this and that while we may do that and this?
   By the time I was in High School my mother had collected several boxes of my school work, never displayed, of course.  Just saved, sort of stuffed into the back of the closet.  I think from my mother I learned this squirreling away of stuff.  It was while still in High School when I began my first attempts at poetry, writing little stories and teasing words from thought.  I have told the story of acquiring a little printing press and it was in High School that I began printing things that I wrote.  The very worst garbage looks so professional and beautiful once it is printed to perfection on really good quality paper.
   Somewhere in the back of a closet somewhere in this house I still have almost everything I have ever written and certainly everything I printed out.
   But I don't have the "Deer Hunting Story".  I remember writing it.  It is one of those vivid childhood memories.  It was this story that brought me to some kind of truth.  I could lie.
   I knew nothing about hunting, no family members hunted.  None of my friends were hunters.  Luckily my teacher, Miss Westen didn't either.  My story took place over the summer and deer hunting I came to realize is a Fall event.  October, in the autumn when it becomes cold and the leaves have turned and the deer have raised their young.  I have since learned to research my stories a little better so timing and the seasons won't get me caught up in a lie.
   Maybe we were poaching?  Catching the deer early in the season while they were still grazing in the lowlands, totally unaware of the hunters who were after them?  Could be, I do not remember all of the details.  The story was full of traditions that never were.  Maybe a bit like happy Christmases that really weren't.  I remember skining the deer with my father's knife.  I remember the story anyway, in reality there was no blood other than that I may have imagined.
   There was a big fire pit, an on going tradition of cooking the deer, the first deer of the season, in a big fire pit, hand dug with my uncles (who were never really there, remember), lined with stones and simmering in the heat like a Hawaiian pig.
   It was a great story, especially from the mind of a third grader and I wish I had it.  I wonder how it escaped my mother? Never found it's way into the box at the back of the closet?

What I do now is HERE

Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Freeze!

We had our first freeze last night and just like that the garden has been put to sleep which makes me realize that I like to live in a climate that has seasons.  In Oregon we have all four and now at the end of October we are in the thick of Autumn where the leaves turn crimson, other shades of reds and oranges, Fall palette colors.  The rains have not begun yet and the leaves fall into fluffy piles at the garden edge, along the roads, everywhere.  It is deer hunting season which takes me all the way back to the third grade and Miss Westen's
writing assignment: "What did you do over summer vacation?"
   I have mentioned this in earlier blogs but I never finished the story, told you what I really wrote about or how I came upon the idea. 
   We had one gun in the house, a single shot, bolt action Walther Rifle, .22 caliber.  It was a heavy instrument and pretty safe as far as guns go.  Shoot it one time and it was always empty.  No extra bullets, no magazine, nothing in the chamber, just the one shot and always empty.  As a child I could barely carry it let alone raise it to my shoulders and take aim.  I was allowed to fire it for the first time the summer I was in the first grade although I had gone target shooting with my dad and my older brother many years before then.
I knew the procedure, this gun shooting ceremony we did every year.
   We cleaned the rife twice every year, once before we used it and then laboriously and in detail after the shooting.  We would take it all apart, not quickly and blindfolded like a military person might be able to do, but with reverence and respect, polishing each piece and placing it on a cotton cloth placed on the table.
   We always did this at the kitchen table, my dad, my brother and me, always talking and cleaning the rifle.
We shot penny's and these wounded coins would be polished and lined up on the table along with the pieces of the disassembled rifle.
   We did our hunting at a cousin's farm and that was always pretty safe too.  The Walther Rifle would be behind the back seat of the Rambler Station Wagon, our family car.  The bolt action would always be separate and in its cloth covering in the glove box and my dad was always in charge of the bullets, a box of 50 that, after I was in the first grade would be shared amongst the three of us.
   We always shot at the same place, a little knol near a falling down fence, shooting against a hill.  We would place cans on the fence posts until they just became too easy to hit and then we would shoot penny's, hooking them with a bit of wire to the post.  I got pretty good at this and by the third grade could hit a penny from as far away as I could see it, maybe a hundred feet.
   On many occasions we would go shooting just before Christmas and this became a tradition.  There was a grove of oak trees on my cousin's farm and way up high, in abundance, perched near the very top, were the wild Mistletoe!  These could have been lions for us.  We always talked of the dangers involved in encountering an angry, wounded mistletoe!  A clean kill would be a good shot at that little place where the stem was connected to the oak tree.  It was all in fun and there was never any blood.
   This was one of the occasions in my life where I sensed that what was, isn't necessarily the way you have to see it. I discovered that it was pretty easy to become Peter Pan or to become Hemingway on the greatest hunt ever. Easy to make mistletoe lions and fearful of the wounded ones.
   So I made up the whole damned thing!  I have never been hunting in my life, never killed an air breathing creature although from time to time I have been known to strangle a fish.
   My little story about "what I did last summer" was all about something I knew nothing about.  I think it was titled, "My deer hunting adventure" or something like that.  One day I will retell that story but it was all a lie.

I am often HERE

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Price Wars

I had this dream last night where some hot Hollywood Starlet or it might have even been some young muscled actor was pitching "Made in USA".  Not Michael Jordon Shoes made in Thailand, not something from Martha Stewart made in a slave factory in some far off land, but  Hollywood Actors touting an American Product that we could have been proud of.  Dreams are fantasies, huh?
   Reality is the nightmare, the daylight where we confront ourselves and admit our addiction to cheap bobbles, shiny things and gadgets.  Phychologists don't do individual thearapy anymore the corporations have hired them all to induce us to buy.  Buying stuff is the key to our happiness, the reason for our existence, the sum of our value, where we find our identity.  Thank God for Walmart!
   THE Biggest Single Employer In The World!  You heard that right.  More people work for Walmart than any other corporation!  Maybe (I don't really know) more people work for Walmart than for the Government!  That is a cool thought, but a bit frightening.  I am sure they have spies but I wonder whether they have their own army?  Walmart Airforce?  I know they have shipping lines, maybe their own Navy?
I am sure they help establish National Adgendas, "policy", we will call it.  Always something to create a larger customer base and to control what we value in life.
   They know what we want.  Whatever it is we want it packaged nicely and mainly we want it cheap.
There is a movement afoot to get rid of "Government Regulations", scrap the Environmental Protection Laws,
go back to dumping the crap in the rivers and polluting the air so we can have stuff even cheaper!
Cheap is the answer because it is what we are after.  To heck with the Unions that gave us higher wages and made stuff cost more!  There is even a movement afoot to get rid of the minimum wage, bring factories back to America where we too can work for less and produce more, so we can have it cheaper.
   That is great.  I love a free country and I love cheap stuff.  Walmart is the best.  Their promise this year is not better, not quality, not valuable, certainly not American made.  It is cheaper!  If you can find it anywhere else, sold at any time, even last minute day before Christmas sales, Walmart will give you the difference.
Cash back for cheaper!  Such a deal.  Is life Grand or what?

My American Made Stuff is HERE

Monday, October 24, 2011

What Will Replace Galleries?

   If there is a need then there is a way.  Galleries are closing their doors everywhere, all the time, all over the world.  This economic crunch we are in hurts artists even as it makes used car dealers come out of the woodwork.  There are two left in my town which once supported over a dozen.
   This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Galleries became a pretty expensive place to acquire art and once discovering the money chain of a particular artist it became a difficult place for new talents to emerge.  Like many things in life it became about money and art was lost in the transaction.  Once happy with a third of the cut they raised their commissions to 50% and I have seen them charge the artist 60%.  Galleries are the business world of art.  They control the style, the color and the design of just about everything.  They control the artist.
   They are being replaced as fast as they are going out of business.  It is still the commercial world that is offering new venues to artists but it is happening with every new building that is being built, every renovation
of existing buildings and in my town, with every existing bar and restaurant, every cafe, almost all public places where people gather.   Art is far more available now than it was twenty years ago.
   There are no empty walls.  Local art has become popular but you can still find an occasional McDonald's
with store bought mass-produced art on their walls.  Even there the walls are not blank.
   It is not as difficult to break into as you might suspect but the first rule is to have no fear.  Sometimes just asking is all it takes.  Many places like the idea of revolving art, changed out by you or someone else every couple of months or so.  Always something new to look at.  Most businesses will do this for free, not charging the artist any commission at all, other's might charge a minimal fee.
   Most of what I do is steel and pretty permanent but lots of businesses need railings, dividers, curtain rods, hat racks or whatever.  Some actually have huge budgets for this and get a pretty plain generic product for their money.  Sometimes, if the job interests me, I will simply ask them what they intend to do.  Often I can do it for the same amount of money but throw a ton of art into the project.
   Wineries are a great place to showcase your art too. They have caught onto this fact that they are destinations and often will charge the artist a fee but it is mostly a booth fee and not commission based so it is still a good deal for the artist.  Unlike a local market that might offer everything from organic food to pretzels,
people come to wineries and expect to find art.
   When one door closes another always opens.  Some of these new venues offer an opportunity for the artist to be there with his art and although we may not like actually selling it ourselves, our clients like this.  It is a shared enthusiasm and contagious, people feel as though they are buying a chunk of the artist along with the art.  That is true of course, we can't eat if we can't sell our wares!

Visit me HERE

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Good Enough?

I do not think you need to be particularly good to be a successful artist.  Oh, you need basic skills, sure.
How to get the paint to stick to the canvas, which colors go together and which one's clash, how to lay a decent weld, whatever rudimentary elements your art may require.
   I know successful writers, people who have made it to the top in the movie industry, very successful musicians, extremely successful guitar makers and some fine painting artists.  I am not sure how good any of them are?
   They have become who they are by definition, it is what they do.  These people I know were given nothing.  They were all childhood friends.  I know where they lived, who their parents were, went to the same schools with them, laughed and danced and got into some trouble with some of them!  They were just people, not rich at all.  Ate tomato and cheese sandwiches during lunch.
   They all have one thing in common: discipline, drive and ambition.  Especially at the beginning they all produced junk, reams of garbled poetry, mangled stories, very poor theater productions that wouldn't rate a review, paintings that weren't worth the canvas that they were on.  Nothing stopped them.  They were on a road and they were going to take it for the full ride.
   The trick to being a musician is practice.  Any art is no different.  Each and every day with no exceptions,
practice.  Writing is the same.  Five pages a day, everyday until it becomes easy and then ten.  Pretty soon you will become what you do.

My art and other stuff is HERE

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Steel Frames

There is no sawdust in my shop, none is allowed.  It is a pretty nice studio/shop/office built over 20 years ago at the far end of my back yard.  I am surrounded by my garden, the little splash pool and about a million flowers.  My shop was originally built as a wood shop, a long time ago when I had planners and shapers and sanders and saws.  I once imported 10,000 board feet of exotic lumber from the Fiji Islands and had lumber and projects all over the place.  Those were inventing days also and I created lots of different stuff from this lumber.
   When I found my interests in steel my tools changed, my shop changed and the sawdust just had to go.  It is just way too much of a fire hazard with the sparks flying around all over the place.
   Now I am into painting but as long as I keep the turpentine outside it is pretty compatible with my metal art and doesn't require much space.  Artists always have to be doing something, some kind of art and painting is a lot less expensive than working with metal.  If it weren't paint it would be beads or clay or cooking.  Some kind of art, something to do.
   I am always after something different.  When I am lucky enough to make a descent painting it is wanting to be in a frame.  In the old days when I had those tools this would be easy in oak or Cherry or walnut or maybe even in my Fijian woods but now all I have is steel.  Light gauge steel tubing is not heavy.  A one inch by one inch piece weighs less than the same in oak but it won't warp or once made into a frame fall apart.
Besides, it is what I've got.
   Once again I find myself experimenting.  What would happen if I did this? or that? and then I do it just to see.  Some of my ideas are not practical at least to market them.  Maybe cool ideas but far too time consuming and the cost of production would be prohibitive.  That never stops me from making the prototype though.  I have to see what one would look like.  Some of these inventions end up in my scrape pile where they age and refine to be cut up later and used in some other idea and other's, the better ones get hung on a wall in my shop where they become inspiration for other projects.  Many times I have taken one of these, way too expensive to make again and made them the center piece to a larger project.
   Some become Christmas presents.  Or just a nice day, the sun is out and I would rather give them away than sell them for less than they are worth.  I never determine value from my prototypes.  They are one of a kind and far too time consuming.  Value to me is what would I charge to make another one?
   One of the values I get from this experience is I learn new skills, new ideas, different uses from things.  Maybe a different way to see the same stuff I see day after day.  That is worth a lot to me and it is the reason I do this.  Of course I make mistakes!  I have a pretty big scrap pile.

 about 14" x 28"
     I am working on steel frames for the better of my canvas paintings.  From nowhere in particular I get this idea, why can't they be three dimensional?  Yesterday I made a frame and splattered weld blobs all over it for some texture and then added two butterflies to the front side.  There will be a canvas to be painted behind these butterflies.  It is not a marketable kind of thing but it is pretty cool.

I seem to have lost my ability to control these photos so I will stop this here!

More of what I do is HERE

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Storm Came Through

   I don't really sit in my mother's basement at this computer hunting for trouble spots in the world nor do I look at "hot Russian Babes".  I am in my shop where I have three fire extinguishers and a garden hose nearby.  I am surrounded by metal, a pretty big inventory for a retired guy.  It is sort of like my savings account.
   I am working on my latest idea, a "painting station" for artists, something not too big with rings for yogurt containers or cottage cheese containers.  A "cleaning station" for brushes, but something on wheels so it could be moved about and with its own palette and storage area for paint.  So far I have three "table models" and four pedestal models and two steel easels that are self-contained with these features.  I am near to being ready for the perfect "furniture quality" model, something attractive enough to be put in a living room.
   I still don't know whether this is a good idea or not, something needed or useful for an artist?  I like them.
I have already decided that if there is no market for these they will become my new trellis's in my garden next year!  That will be pretty cool, little art pedestal tables for my cucumbers to climb on!
   All of this reminds me of years ago when I wanted to invent the "perfect trellis".  Oh, there were millions of trellis's on the market and people thought I was nuts for trying to create one more in an already flooded market.  The one's that were there weren't any good, that is what they had in common.  They would not support themselves let alone a plant.  So I played at this for months until I came up with the perfect trellis!
I think over the years I must have sold a thousand of them but the first one's were failures.
 Just so you can see there is some detail to this painting.
   I am also painting!  My "landscape" has become an abstract!  Painting is a lot easier and less expensive than working with steel and there is never any waste.  Sometimes I have painted over the same canvas six times.  It will be fun if a hundred years from now an art restorer finds one of my paintings, chipping away to find stories buried under stories, paint under paint.

Painting over a painting is interesting. I can leave some background, create shadows and depth and texture becomes a part of the painting.

 about 5' x 3'
"A Storm Came Through"
This one is meant to be pleasant and red, red from a distance but detailed and mysterious upon closer inspection.  That is all.  It doesn't mean anything.
   Sometimes we hunt for meaning where there is none.  It is so hard to just accept something as it is.  We hunt for ulterior motives where there might be none at all.  We do this with people all of the time and the art world is full of it.
   This painting is screaming "nothing".  It just is, that's all.  But it is pretty red, I'll give it that.

More of my paintings can be found HERE

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some I Understand and...

Some things I don't.  I don't understand what is the big deal about Bank of America?  So they want to charge us $5 dollars a month to use their debit cards, big deal.  That is a business decision that will either work or it won't.  It is not as if it were the only bank in town.  There are lots of others that don't charge anything.  We can move our banking pretty easily.  And then they will stop these charges or they won't.
Certainly if this is really successful and they get away with it then others will follow and all of the banks will do it.
   We do not need laws to control every aspect of human behavior.  It doesn't take an engineering degree to realize that imports are hurting our own job growth, that if we buy from China then we are not buying from us.  We still have the power of the purse.  You can vote with your wallet.  Can you even imagine what a one week boycot of Walmart would do?
   I wonder what would happen if Martha Stewart went on a "buy American" kick? Or maybe, the other way around and we went on a kick not to buy Martha's products?  Can you imagine matching towels in our bathrooms "made in America"?  Could be done.  We make them.
   The problem is really convenience and we are really lazy.  Walmart is easy and all of the stuff is in one place.  Maybe the internet can help?  We could "google" towels/American made and see what happens?
We could do that with every single purchase, every item, all the time.  Lots of companies are offering free shipping now and others, all you order for a seven dollar fee.
   Of course we want it instantly and we want it at the Mall.  It is the shopping experience, that day out and window shopping that we have been bred to like.  If you got rid of imports the Malls would be empty.
There are other places to shop though.  I have just discovered that Eugene, Oregon has the longest operating "farmer's market" in the United States!  There you can find tons of food, fresh from the farm, organic without pesticides and a lot of other stuff.  Clothes and jewelry, artisan stuff, even locally made shoes.  A fun place for Christmas shopping and all year long.  That is a way to vote.  Store bought or local and hand made.
   I don't really subscribe to the evils of corporate America although I know that they are there.  The evil is within us.  "We have met the enemy and he is us"!
   Can you go a week without buying something imported?  Could you go one day and only wear clothes that were American made?  You would probably be naked!
   It might be fun to start a movement.  How about an "American Christmas"?  Nothing imported under the tree.  I wonder....?

You can always visit me HERE

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We Would Be Naked

If we were to remove all of the imported items from our life we would be naked, our houses almost empty and no automobiles in our garages.  It is interesting to me that we are so quick to point the finger of blame,
saying that regulations are the problem, maybe rich people or lazy people, greedy people or stupid people.
   Personally I think we are the problem, it is just not convenient to admit it.  Many of you have probably seen the television "news" story about outfitting the average dormitory room for a student going to college.
 More are being built!!!
Just in knick-knacks and bedspreads and posters, just basically crap it totals about $800 per student per year.  For the "average student" 100% of these items are imported, pushing our jobs overseas.  The "news people" discover (with some effort I admit) that these items actually made in America are available and cost about $37 less!  If, over campuses across the United States, all of these items had been made in this country, they estimated that it would have created 500,000 jobs!!!
   This is the boat that is used to get this imported stuff to us.  Well, a ship, huh?  Almost totally automated.  It has a crew of just 13 and can be unloaded in a mere two hours!  One THOUSAND, three hundred and two feet long.  And they are making MORE of these!  On their way back to China after unloading their gadgets on our docks, they return EMPTY!
   We are being conquered and they didn't fire a shot!  This is nuts.  We are like Heroin addicts who just cannot stop.  The pathetic thing about this is it is all crap.  None of this stuff will be antiques a hundred years from now, most of it won't exist a year from now.  A lot of it is broken before it gets out of the box.  But if the color is right, the style is pretty and it is cheap enough, we want it.  Addicts.
   You don't have to make any laws to repair this situation, no taxes are needed.  We need a new slogan.
How about "Just Don't Do It"?  Can you go a day or a week without buying anything imported?  There will be withdrawal symptoms.  There will be work on your part.
   Ask the clerk, "Where is this made?" and learn to say "No thank you".  Find it somewhere else or find a substitute.
   It seems that every year Christmas comes earlier and stores begin their holiday displays right after Halloween.  These big ships work overtime this time of year.  They can't build them fast enough.
Try something different this year, tell your friends, ask the clerk.  "Where is this made"?
   Maybe you could help create a job?

This is what I do: HERE

Friday, October 14, 2011

Painting Station

The more I discover about painting the more I realize that there are some things I need. It was no different from the construction industry.  I needed tools and attachments, accessories,
bits and pieces and places to put them.  Organization and everything readily available.
   I don't paint in the same place each day.  I might move the easel about to catch the light, paint
inside or outside. There is always all of "the stuff" to move with me!  Paints, brushes, thinner, pallettes
and all the tools of the trade.
   I have also discovered that when I clean a brush I should leave it horizontal to dry so any liquid remaining won't drip into the ferrel and the fine fibers won't get mushed.
   So, I am inventing again!  Creating "painting stations", working places to put the tools and supplies I am using as the moment, all handy in one place.  So far I have three models and eventually wll make a "furniture grade" model.  One pretty enough to be in a living room!  I think the next one I make I will put on wheels.
 My latest model
Think strong and stable with steel but they are not heavy, maybe 20 pounds at the most.
   This one comfortably holds six vertical brushes and six horizontal, little cubicals to place tubes of paint and five
pallette areas as well as three cup holders and a bottom shelf.
 If there is not a market for these,
I like them!
It even comes with a towel bar for that handy rag!

I wonder whether anyone has ever done a show just for artists?  I might just keep making these until I get enough together for a proper presentation.  Might be a fun thing to do!

You can always visit me HERE

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Artist Making Art

There is a bit of theater in the selling of art, a little magic and anticipation.  There must be millions of artists.
It is a competitive trade.  I know a lot of artists, a lot of successful artists and what they all have in common is that they work their asses off.  The very best ones do not even have a life outside of their art.  They are artists, 24 hours a day.  That is who they are and what they do.
    If you want to become a successful artist you cannot hide.  "Calling Cards" are ten bucks for 500 and should be passed out like popcorn.  If people don't know what you do they will never come to you when they need something.  I pass them out to everyone, my banker, my barber, where I shop, each new person I meet.  It is a lot easier than you might think to get your work hung on a barbershop wall or the local cafe, the vets office or the local feed and seed.
   Networking is important.  It is necessary to be around other artists.  There is a contagious enthusiasm that rubs off between fellow artists, a shared excitement, a fun competitive edge and a lot of trade secrets are shared.  It is a fact that when one of us does better all of us do better.  Art begets art.
   Join a local art guild and you will find out where the action is, who is selling and where the shows are and the secrets to get in them.
   The economy is crashing and this has hurt the art community most of  all.  Mostly we sell luxuries, unnecessary things but offer a lift to the emotions in a drowning sea.  I see an opportunity here.
For the artist who has a backlog  and his studio is full, this might be an opportunity to create something different.  We are losing the incentive to create "one more piece", another like we used to make, another that the market won't support.  Maybe now is a good time to create something crazy?  Something for the sake of art?  Something without even the intention to sell?  Who knows what could happen?  Life is full of mysteries.
   I have a friend who is doing well in this crashed economy.  A girl-welder! I know a couple!
She is mostly in her shop behind a mask, welding, cutting, pounding and burning steel.  That is what she does.  She does 30 shows a year, has her work in several galleries from here to New York City, is in every local nursery and gift shop all up and down this valley.  In this town everybody knows "Mickey"!
   When she is doing her shows, when she is grocery shopping, when she is out of her shop, she is always dressed in an elegant evening gown!   Hair dyed bright red and three inch long finger nails!  She is a character for sure and that is a part of her secret to success.  She has a style.  Her art has a style.  She is recognizable
from a distance.  Mickey doesn't hide.

You can always visit me HERE

Monday, October 10, 2011

shipwreckstudio: The Business Side of Art Practice

shipwreckstudio: The Business Side of Art Practice: The Business Side of Art Practice Some collected notes At the end of the Art Talks series, several people asked about, and suggested sem...

Who is in Russia?

   I wonder sometimes who is clicking on these posts, who is visiting me?  The "stats page" tells me where and sometimes even how they found me but it never tells me who.
   Yesterday, RUSSIA!  How cool is that?  Over 30 "hits" from Russia!  But not one message, no comments, just "hits".  I wonder about their Internet, can they surf but have a fear of being found out, a fear of their opinions?  Hahahaha!  That is so funny, we do too!
  Oh, we don't have secret police.  I don't think anyway, at least not on the street corners yet, although everyone knows that all e-mails are in the ethernet forever and subject to review.
   Sometimes we don't comment because we do not want to go on record, fearful of offending someone, of being misquoted, fear of taking a position, maybe even a fear of being caught on company time!
   I wonder about Russia though and can imagine a whole Junior High School class investigating me, that might account for my 30 "hits".  It can't be the Russian Secret Police.  I don't know anything.  That is why I am always asking questions.  There is no need to torture me, I would just lie.  Tell you anything you want to know.  Make up stories.  Switch sides back and forth in order to confuse you, fall into a Southern Accent and tell you I am from Georgia.  No, not that Georgia, we have one too!
   In fact, we have a lot in common.  The same "Western Expansion" experience except yours was towards the East.  The same abundance in Natural Resources, the same towering fir trees, open spaces, wealth of land.  Huge countries, both of us.
   And we have probably both made mistakes, could have done something different than we did.  We have been allies and enemies, times when we didn't even talk.  Competitors.  Sports or politics, always something.
   McDonald's is there now, the biggest one in the world and I wonder what you must think of us?  How are images made?  How are opinions formed?
   My "Russian Connection" is pretty much limited to tomatoes.  Years ago I found a Siberian Variety, one used to colder nights and it does well in my garden.  No need to torture me, I'll tell you everything I know!
   30 "hits" in one day!  I wonder if it is "Hot Russian Babes"?  I have never seen one but I know about them.
Well, I don't really but I could imagine that I do.  I know there is more to Russia than Vodka and girls and Sputnik.  We use your rockets now!  That is sort of embarrassing.  The United States of America can't afford a single rocket to get us to the Space Station!  Well, that tells a lot about us.  We are going broke!
   Anyway, if you should stop in today, say "hi" and we can talk about tomatoes or art, share adventures and dreams, how to fix the back porch, or even what is for dinner?  Just talk and blog, it doesn't have to be serious.

My Other Blog is HERE

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bo La De La Ba

Life goes on, C'est La Vie, what will be will be.  That is just about the most powerless victim kind of attitude I have ever encountered and it is a bunch of crap.  I remember the cartoons of my youth:  "are we Men or Mice?"  We're MICE!
   In real life in the real world the only constant has been change.  Nothing remains the same.  There are reasons things are the way they are and there will be reasons for the future, always reasons for why things happen.
   I think we have lost our curiosity and don't even give a rip.  We are in encampments, circling the wagons.
We throw ideas away because we don't like the messenger.  We don't even know why we don't like the messenger, just a label without investigation.
   This is all pretty interesting to me because I think we are all after the very same thing.  We want to have a sense of power in what appears to be a powerless world.
   The "Teabaggers" and the Wall Street Protesters at first glance seems to be on the opposite side of the spectrum but they are not.  In a world where they feel powerless they want a voice.
   There is a danger to a society where more people vote for "American Idol" or "Dancing with the Stars" than do for a National Election.  There is a danger to society where more people read the "Twilight Series" than have ever even heard of John Stuwart Mill's "On Liberty".  Our libraries are closing and we have forgotten that a Democracy requires work.  Newspapers are going out of business every month.  It seems that we no longer read at all.
   The problem with not being curious is that we are easily lead.  It is so much easier to follow than to cut a path and easier still to sit and be do nothing people.  Our justification to our grandchildren will be "I didn't do that!"  But it is a pretty poor answer to claim you did nothing.  Didn't even read a newspaper.
   Yes, these are "interesting times".

My Art, my Garden and my Studio can be found HERE

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Attitude is Everything

   I have hired hundreds of people over the course of my career.  In the construction industry there are only two good times to hunt for work, the first thing in the morning before work begins and at the end of the day when you realize that an extra hand could have been useful.  All of the other hours are a distraction and I have planned my day based on what I have.
   The worst resumes were those with twenty year's experience and no tools of the trade.  If you don't take care of yourself I know you won't take care of me.  A good painter is picky and has his own brushes.  Every Skill Saw is a little different and a good carpenter is used to his own.
   Looking back, my favorite employees were the one's who insisted that I hire them.  They wouldn't take "no" for an answer and would show up repeatedly at my shop, often before I did, always asking if they were needed today.  Some would offer to work one day for free, again that attitude, "try me out, I know you will like me"!
   Attitude is everything on a construction site and I suspect a lot of other work environments.  Really, I am after a "can do" attitude but also a "will do" attitude.  Someone not afraid to get dirty and not limitted by a job description and can do it all with a smile.  I can teach anything but you have to be willing to learn.
My Business Site is HERE

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Idea

   I like the clash of ideas, you already know that about me.  I like Truth and Consequences, presenting what seems like a great idea only to discover the consequences are not so great.  With a discussion the idea is to iron out these problems.  It is not an issue of who is right and who is wrong, but what happens if we did this and what happens if we did that?
   Here is a great example:  Bio-fuel.  Making fuel for our cars from corn oil.  Gosh, it sounds great!  Helps get us away from foreign oil, reduces the need for fossil fuels and we have tons of land upon which to grow corn!  Nice, green corn!  Well, it sounded like a good idea and we did this.  Made it a law even and 10% of our gasoline is now corn based.
   Here is what wasn't considered.  The corn-gas mixture is deadly to lawn mowers and all small gas engines.
Most of our corn for this is grown along the Mississippi River Basin eventually dumping into the Gulf of Mexico.  It takes a huge amount of fossil fuel fertilizer to grow corn and the excess is drained into the river.
This is killing the water in the Gulf, creating a "Dead Zone" where fish cannot live.
It is now more profitable to grow corn for its fuel than for food and this has caused food prices to soar,  adding to world-wide hunger. 
   Gee, why couldn't anyone think this out?  Somewhere in the scheme of this discussion was a lobbyist for the corn industry.  I will bet on that.
   A discussion that is going on now is about the EPA.  Environmental Protection Agency.  I notice ads on television trying to persuade me, telling me that these "Government Regulations" are the source of our economic plight.  I wonder whether anybody takes this seriously?  "They" want to give us the pollution of Mexico, the air of China, the waste dumps of Russia in return for jobs?  You have got to be kidding!
Maybe I should be investing in face masks?  Or pharmaceuticals, an investment in "Happy Pills" to make us stomach the b.s. they are throwing at us?
   I am a skeptic and as in any good murder mystery I want to know motive, who profits?  I follow the money.  Why does someone want my vote?
   My "idea for government" would be anonymous.  All Bills before Congress would be without a name.
All speeches would be without a speaker.  Ideas would be presented without tags or labels.  We wouldn't know.  We wouldn't know whether it be a Republican Idea nor one from a Democrat, not even a "Teabagger" nor an Independent.  We wouldn't know who gave the speech, could be Obama, could be Sarah Palin?  Could be anybody?
   That would cause more work for us.  We would have to listen.  We might have to read!  But the article would not have an author!  Anonymous.  We might have to actually think!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wall Street Protests

I wonder whether anyone listens to anything any more?  How Loud do we have to be?  The World is laughing at our political system, once admired and the envy of  all nations.  The Republicans have sworn an oath, not to do what is best for this country, but to thwart Obama at any cost.  Barely a year from another election, they will do nothing that might make him look good.  In fact, if they can blame it on our President, they will pull this country much further down this slippery slop we find ourselves on.  That is their plan.
   Rich people do Not pay their fair share of taxes.  They pay 15% after every slimy deduction while a working person pays closer to 35%  Over 60% of Americans think this isn't right and I suspect the other 40% just aren't thinking at all.
   The top 2% of Americans are getting richer and richer in these troubled times.  It is not hard working people who are buying newly foreclosed houses.  It is giant real estate corporations, the wealthy getting wealthier, taking advantage of tough times.  Corporations are not creating jobs; their net value has increased 15% as the rest of us suffer.  They are sitting on over One Trillion Dollars, cash reserves building up and up.
Living wages are disappearing and we are supposed to be grateful for $10 an hour with no benefits, no insurance.
   We don't feel as though we are "all in this together", fighting a common enemy, all willing to sacrifice equally, all willing to work harder to get us back to a firmer ground.  We don't feel this way because it is not this way.  It is some other way and we know it.
   Congress is so broken it is pathetic.  Conflicting goals:  destroy Obama or help America?  They have given up on attempting to achieve some kind of equal taxation where we might all pay the same rate.  They can't even get a bill through to tax money OVER A MILLION DOLLARS at a mere 5%.  That single thing alone would raise 450 Billion Dollars, the price tag on the Jobs Program to kick start our economy.
   It is nuts.  We are all at a card table and we are all playing different games!  No wonder nothing gets done!
   So, for now, we will protest peacefully.  We will camp out at Wall Street and financial institutions all across American.  When more and more and more people are working for $10 an hour and the richest people are sitting on over a Trillion Dollars and getting rich beyond our ability to count and NOT paying taxes on their money, something is wrong.
   This is not Robin Hood.  It is not taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  I am not after that.  Only an equal playing field, all at the table and all playing the same game and all of the cards on the table.
   There has never been a better time to rebuild our infrastructure, repair our roads and bridges.  We need it
and we have the people to do it.  It would be far simpler to fix this economy if we wanted to. But that might not really be the agenda, huh?

My art stuff is HERE

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wonderful Week

I have had a wonderful week with my 1st born daughter, now grown up and 30 years old!  She lives in Austin, Texas, 2,000 miles away.  In this economy you must be where the jobs are.  Not much in my little town.  She has the beauty and sensibility of her mother and my wanderlust and sense of adventure!
   I used to be 34 times her age and am now barely twice!  Funny how time works that way.  I remember years and years ago telling her of my travels, my experiences in life, my adventures and now she is telling me of hers!  I think she has caught up to me already and at half my age has a lot of living yet to do.  She has worked at a lot of different jobs in her life, making fried chicken and serving coffee, working in little cluttered offices, teaching English in Europe and living in a hut in the deepest of Africa.  Not afraid to travel and not afraid to get into the thick of life.
   Now she is an "office manager" of a four office business!  That not being enough she is also a licensed massage therapist and follows sporting events soothing sore muscles.  She is athletic, a jogger every day and runs in marathon races and is into marshal arts!  She has a black belt in kick boxing!  Thank God I have never spanked her!
   It would be easy to think that she is one of the lucky few but she has worked hard for everything she has accomplished, made wise choices and learned the art of being self reflective, knowing what she wants and how to get it.
   We defeat ourselves more than others beat us down.  From an early age both of my daughters have learned to set goals.  It is a simple task that is no longer taught.  You set some goals, plot a strategy, list the things that will bring you closer to what you want and list the other things that will prevent you from attaining your goals.  Things you may also want.  Conflicting goals.
   A thousand dollars will buy a cheap car.  It will also buy you a round trip ticket to Paris!  That is the conundrum my daughter's grew up with!

My Art is HERE