Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Gallery Floor

   I have agonized over the gallery floor since I first thought of this project.  Well, I don't actually agonize over much but I have been thinking about it.  My shop on the other side of the gallery wall is a shop and looks like a shop and I am okay with that.  I want the gallery to be nice, clean, clear, warm, inviting, interesting.
For the longest time I was wanting a wooden floor.  My house has all wooden floors, no carpets anywhere except for the occasional throw rug.  They are really Persian Carpets made by the little hands of child labor but I didn't buy them.  They belonged to my mother.  Wooden floors are warm, easy to clean and I like the sound as feet walk on them.
 20 years of History on the floor
   Three things held me back.  1st, wooden floors would have cost me about $600 and I am pretty cheap, I admit that.  The second obstacle is me.  I am just dirty and I admit that too.  I can't imagine me in a clean white smock doing anything.  Paint will happen and I will drop it, I know.  The third is Soozee who suggested concrete stain and a lacquer finish.  So I got to thinking about that.

   I originally built this shop in 1991 as a wood shop.  It was full of planers and sanders and I was making cabinets and furniture and playing with wood stains.
 floor sections for sale, plus
shipping and handling fees.
About 1995 I invented "Stone Posts" and made them in the shop when the weather was cold and rainy. This was the introduction of cements and colored grouting to my concrete floor.  I had a big floor scraper I used to get the big chunks off but the evidence is there, a little always remains.  Then I discovered welding and filled my shop with grinders and cutters and the welder.  This puts a rust patina of fine steel particles deep into the pours of the concrete slab.

I could have scrapped and grounded and sanded this history off and begun this project with a clean slate, sort of speak.  But I didn't.  I bought some greenish acid etching stuff and mopped the floor with it, spilling it a little heavier here and there and adding the necessary drops to make me feel like Jason Pollack reincarnate.
He might have been crazy but he sure had fun!  The real colors won't appear until the floor is lacquered.
That will take some time.  I have to mop the floor about seven times and a couple times with amonia in order to neutralize the acid in the etching process.  The floor needs to be Ph neutral before you can apply the lacquer finish and this will take a couple days and then it has to dry, of course.  Maybe this weekend I can get the finish coat on it.
   It will be "Art History" for sure.  I will remember every stain, each blemish and every drop of blood.  I am sure my DNA is inextricably mixed into this new floor.  Maybe by Christmas I will be painting and add more history to this floor I walk on.

My  Official website is HERE

Monday, November 28, 2011

Some Photos

The Painting is Done! The lights are up and all of the doors are trimmed out.  The paper protecting the concrete floor is gone and most of the mess is cleaned up.  Next job is to empty the room of anything on the floor, put the ladders back, more clean up stuff.  I am going shopping today!  No, not cyber Monday, I am after concrete stain and some floor sealer.
   This is a table top I made 20 years ago when my metal shop was a wood shop. I want as much floor space as possible but can imagine working on a table. This is designed like an ironing board and folds up against the wall when not wanted.

The butterfly leg folds up tight against the table when against the wall.  Not wanting to wast space I might add some more metal art on the underside of this table to be seen only while it is against the wall.

The door is Blue because I had that paint.  The sink counter to the left is steel framed concrete with an old lamp column as a leg and one of my steel flower pots that used to be a light fixture but is now a sink.  It is a crazy life around my place, anything can be anything.

I am thinking of adding a shelf above this counter but that will be the only permanent type of fixtures in this little gallery space.  The rest is like a whore house, everything is for sale!

It won't be long now, I see the end in sight...for this room anyway!  Next I have to empty the "junk room" adjoining this little gallery space and then, god forbid, my office!

Soon though I will hang a sign:

"Customers Wanted...No Experience Necessary!"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dirty Pictures

 It is latex paint.  I thik it will come off!
I have a couple artist friends and they won't send me dirty pictures of themselves.  It is interesting going to a gallery on opening night and seeing everyone decked out in their finest garb.  I know they didn't look like that when they were working.  My favorite pictures are faces and hands.  I guess you could call me a face kind of guy!  I love seeing artists work.  I like the concentration, the intensity and the emotions of it all.  The isolation where the entire world is forgotten to the task at hand.
   My little gallery is painted!  But there is still a lot to do.  Today is clean up day, pull the paper off the floor, sweep and vacumn.  Then I will do the finish electrical, switch covers and lighting.  I still have to trim out the doors and some baseboard molding and that will require even more painting.  The room itself is all white, very white at that as you can see.  The base molding will probably be white too but I will probably trim out the doors in different colors or maybe even slate.  I am still thinkig about that.
 I did get some on the walls, honest!
   Then I can do the floor and Soozee's suggestion wins out!  1st because she is cool and second because I am on a limitted budget.  I will stain the concrete floors and seal them with a masonry lacquer.  There will be tons of browns and rusty reds in the floor from years of steel work so I will use a greenish based stain and this will give it a mottled marble look.
   My shop is workable, my welding table clear and waiting for a job.  Now I have a beast to feed, all of this remodeling costs money everywhere I turn.  More paint, more this, more that.
But it is inspiring too.  It has never been so clean since the day I built it over 20 years ago.  Next I will attack my office and the adjoining junk room.  So much to do.  It might be Spring before this project is really over.

You can always visit me HERE

Friday, November 25, 2011

India, hold on to your hat...

   Here comes Walmart!  I couldn' believe what I read in the news today.  There is no Walmart in India!
How in the heck did this slip by?  Over a Billion people and no Walmart?  No "Black Friday" shopping?
Walmart is the world's biggest employer and it is everywhere, every little American town, all over Russia and, of course, all over China the biggest producer of the Walmart Brand, the stuff the store is full of.
India for Walmart is like the back deepest jungles of Burma.  Watch out India, you are about to be clear cut!
   This will be an interesting historical study.  It will change everything.  B.W.  Before Walmart. and A.W. After Walmart.  That is how time will be recorded when all will be altered forever.
   Not to say this is all bad because it isn't.  The Indian Government is hoping that Walmart can do what it has failed to do.  India produces plenty of food for its people, enough to export even but because of poor roads,
underdeveloped infrastructure and lack of refrigeration a lot of food rots on the way to market leaving millions hungry and malnourished.  For the lack of a refrigerated truck people are starving.
   All roads lead to Walmart.  That is right.  You get so much more than a store, thousands and thousands of square feet under one roof!  You get acres and acres of parking!  and roads developed to get the customers to the store and the produce and products to the customers.  Wait and see, you will get new harbors for the shipping lines and the roads will become bigger to support the trucking necessary.  It will be a hustle and bustle of activity and it will change everything.
   The time is now to get your cameras out, to record India as you remember it, the small shops, the local artists, the craftsmen, the locality.  And welcome to "China, Incorporated" because Walmart can't survive by selling food alone.  Oh, no, you will have "Super Centers" and 24 hours a day huge truck and trailer loads will unload stuff imported from China for your pleasure.
   It will help your economy, it has a proven track record of success.  It creates a mind set of "More" and a need for bigger houses, bigger cars.  Just think, maybe next year you too can get up in the middle of the night on Black Friday and "go shopping" at five o'clock in the morning!  Welcome to the modern world, and
good luck!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two America's

John Edwards couldn't keep his pecker in his pants and that, plus he was an idiot, led to his demise, but I agree with him on one point.  There are two America's.  It was interesting watching the Republican Debates last night.  Both the Republican contenders and their Democratic rivals are extremely wealthy Americans. There is really no body representing me in our government.
   I wonder when was the last time any of these people went to the grocery store?  or actually wrote a check to pay for their utility bill?  I don't think they realize what is going on here at home, let alone the rest of the world and international affairs.
   About all that was accomplished, from my perspective, was the installation of a great deal of fear.  It seems that everyone is out to get us and someone will get a nuke into a suitcase and visit one of our major cities?
This modern day in Eden is a very dangerous place!  I wonder how much of this is really true?
   The problem with "truth" is that everyone owns a little snippet of it and no one tells the whole story.  Truth is told from a perspective to substantiate a lie.  Our aid to Africa (a whole continent, fellas, not one country!) does make very bad people very rich.  That is true.  It also helps saves millions of lives and makes us look good, and that is true too.  We have run out of money and that is true too.
   It is a dilemma.  What to do?  Where to go from here?
   There was a lot of talk about "The Patriot Act".  What a bullshit title that is!!!  I mean, really!  Who could be against that?  It sounds unpatriotic to be against it.  What a clever name!  We could call Guantanamo a
"reeducation center" like the Chinese might or a lover's convention and maybe get more support for it?
   For over 300 years we have led by example.  We were the envy, the hope and inspiration for others.
Our shinning example is becoming tarnished.
   We know "things are not right".  We just do not know exactly what the problem is and it makes it all the more difficult when politicians lie and distort the truth.  What is a person supposed to believe?
   I think maybe getting our own house in order might be a good beginning.  We have plenty of mess and things to do right here at home.  We have a long way to go to become that shining example again.
   Two America's?  I just read that our football coach (go Ducks!), now retired on State supported, tax payers funded PERS account receives 42,000 Dollars a MONTH in retirement!!!  That is a cool Half Million a year in Tax payer's money!  Under the Democratic Proposal to raise taxes 3% on money after the 1st million dollars, he would still be safe!
   And what happens if we do nothing?  Choose to not become involved?  There are laws in place for that too.  The "Bush Tax Cuts" are set to expire next year.  That means that the "wealthy" will pay more anyway and so will we.  In order to pass these cuts in the first place we were bribed with about $300 in tax cuts for the average American family.  $300 in savings for us and over a Trillion for the rich guys.  Such a deal!
The Super Committee failure will automatically kick in a law to reduce the budget on the backs of the middle class, from Social Security and Medicare and take a half Trillion dollars from the military.
   If we can't govern ourselves how can we be expected to contribute to the World?  We are not a shining example even to ourselves.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Take a Bath and Get a Job"

That is Newt's take on the Occupy Wall Street Protesters and it brings back so many memories.  Our wars now that we have grown to hate and realize that we can no longer afford have cost the lives of over 4,000 Americans, our youth at that.  Our strongest and best.  Imagine Vietnam where we lost over 50,000, sometimes 500 every single week and always on the Nightly News where we could see the battles while eating dinner.  We were tricked then too, told of the "domino theory" and commies taking over the world.
Real History was avoided.  We were seldom told of Vietnam's struggle for National Independence, their 100 year battle with the French nor the hundreds of years of warfare to become independent of the Chinese.
Communist smomunists, they just wanted us out.
   Now they are a major manufacturer of computer parts and Air Jorden Tennis Shoes.  They are a rice exporting nation and our friends.  Funny how when you quit fighting that can happen.
   We had huge protests in those days.  President Nixon called the college kids "bums" and riot squads were called out all accross the country.  Protesters died.  Universities were shut down.  These were serious protests ot the kindly organized and pretty polite ones that we are having today.
   We got out of that war by voting our way out.  We realized we were being lied to and switched to more peaceful political candidates, but it was the protesters that made us think.  They started the ball rolling.
   It is so easy to say "take a bath and get a job,"  especially if you make a couple million a year, but I am not sure they can be dismissed so easily.  Most have grown up in a system that has failed them.  There are no jobs.  They feel as though they have been lied to.
   The 1% will lose.  They will lose their money, their power and their position.  Aristocracies fall and history has proved that time and time again.  It is not necessary but it will happen.  It always does.
The funny thing is that in our democracy we must like them.  In some perverse way we honor them.  The "Super Committee" couldn't reduce our budget 10%.  The Bush Tax Cuts for the Super Wealthy are firmly entrenched.  The committee had a lot of incentive to get this done, now a law will go into effect which will get this money out of Social Security, Medicare and the Military.  You have to get the money somewhere and that is the law!  I could have done a better job on a bad day before breakfast!
   Yes, get a job and take a bath but please don't quit protesting.  Eventually we will learn, maybe read a little more on the issues and finally we will vote.  We will get the government we vote for and finally accept some responsibility and admit we did this to ourslves.  Maybe Nixon got it right after all.  "Throw the bums out!"
But it is still our job to discover who the bums are!

My gallery is coming along but it is like watching paint dry!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Visible Saints

Do you ever wonder why it is so difficult to get money from the Super Rich?  Why can General Electric make over 14 Billion Dollars AND be subsidized to the tune of 3 Billion Dollars (tax payer's money) and still pay No Taxes?  The Top Ten Executives of "Freddie Mae" and "Freddie Mac" split a cool 100,000,000
Dollars in salaries and bonuses!  This is not "earned income", it is tax dollars.
   On a local level, in my little town, the top 1% make as much money as the bottom 87 Thousand People!
Most of us can't count that high and couldn't dream of that kind of money.  There has to be a reason that it is difficult to "tax the rich".  They do not pay into Social Security nor Medicare nor support the local transit system.  The average person might be taxes at close to 30% and their money is stuck at a 15% tax bracket.
This might even work if it weren't for the loopholes and obscure deductions we don't even know about.  Enough deductions that many of them pay nothing.
   The "Super Committee" in Congress made up of Republicans and Democrats couldn't agree on a solution to reducing our National Debt.  They didn't do anything so I think they should probably all be fired.  The Republicans are happy to take an axe to the budget and attempt to balance it on the backs of the Middle Class, even thinking to raise the age for Social Security and Medicare to 75! Cuts to the local levels would be massive with no aid to the local police or firefighters.  Libraries, of course would be closed.  This is austerity gone amok, clearly it wouldn't create a single job.  Quite the contrary, with the Republican proposals, hundreds of thousands more would be laid off.
   Democrats might compromise on some of these issues but the "line in the sand" for both parties is the issue of increased revenue.  No one is talking about an equal playing field, nothing that drastic.  The issue is a mere 3% on money after the first million dollars a year!  I would happily pay it.  Heck, I have never seen that kind of money, I would pay 10%!!!  If you win a million dollars on the lottery you pay a lot more!  After taxes that Million becomes $5,00,000 and then if you want cash that is cut in half to $250,000.  Why don't we complain about that?
   I know the answer and will attempt to explain it to you.  The answer lies in our first 100 years of our own History.  We are a country founded by the Puritans and their influence is all around us today.  It is how we got the idea that land can be conquered and resources exploited, used and used up. It is the reason that we attach reverence to wealth.  It is where we get the idea that "blessings from God" can come in the form of material possessions.
   Let me try to explain this a bit more.  Our Puritan Founders and virtually every single person on the street in those days, seriously believed in Predestination over free will.  It is pretty easy to understand the basis of this belief.  If God knows all, the past, present and the future, then He already knows whether you will be going to Heaven or Hell.  He knows this before you are born.  If you believe this, and for a long time in our history most Americans did, then what is the point to anything?  How do you get out of that predicament?
   So, here is the "catch" and the reason that we work so hard.  He Knows!  But we don't!  But we think that there might be an indication?  If some were blessed, some predestined to Heaven, there might be a sign?  Some visible way to determine who might be in His good graces?  Maybe even He would bestow wealth upon them?  "Blessed" we still think of it like that.  "Lucky" now, we are not so religious but we still value wealth and always equate it with success.  It is how we measure things.  Higher up the ladder is closer to God.  This is the single most important reason that nicer houses are always built high up in the hills and Churches have tall steeples.
   Somehow taxing the rich, deep in our subconscious is an affront to the way we think things should be.
It is ingrained.  How quick are we to say "yes sir" and be a bit subservient to the well dressed person in the very nice car?  The guy could be a bank robber for all we know, or steal from the government or one of those people who pay no taxes and our natural predisposition is to say, "yes, Sir" and clear the path for him to step to the front of the line.
   There are books on this idea but now you do not have to read them.  You know.  Think about it.

My "gallery" is coming along.  My shop and garden are HERE

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scrambled Eggs

I have no idea how I got so much stuff.  We have a tendency to fill the space we occupy and I am certainly no different.  I have saved every tool I have ever owned, even the broken ones, thinking I might fix them some day.  I have a junk room in my shop, a little room about 6' x 10' and it is full to overflowing.  I no longer even know what is in there.  Now it is on my list of "things to do"!
   I had to move a lot of stuff around in order to create my little "gallery room" in my shop, a little 10' x 20' clean showroom where I can display my art and paint in the warmth.  My shop is now 10' smaller, leaving it about 18' x 20' and needing much organization.  I keep thinking that it will be nice when it is finished but the process is really interesting.  It is an accumulation of a lifetime.
 Junkyard Office
   This is probably one of the reasons that I have never moved.  I have lived here almost 40 years!  God, I would hate to do this to the house!  It was a simple fixer upper house with about 900 square feet when I bought it in 1972 and over the years I made additions, to the 2,200 square feet it is today.  There are rooms in my house that I have not been in for years!
   My Office is now a junk room, some stuff that might eventually find its way into my new gallery and just stuff to be sorted.  So much stuff.  I think I should become a "minimalist", put it all on "Craigslist" and narrow it down to the bare essentials.  I am seriously thinking about that.
   It is funny, I have made my living making additions for other people, bigger houses, more rooms for more stuff.  It is a trap that I am finding myself in!
I can understand, in concept at least, the idea of just chucking it all, getting a small RV and hitting the road!
 It has an echo to it.
Tempting sometimes!

Maybe if they had an RV with a shop in it? and a little Studio with its own Gallery? and a roof top organic garden?  There would be so much that I would miss.  So I improve the space I have and it changes as I change.
   When I was younger I wanted the bigger shop.  I needed the space to make lots of stuff, hundreds of feet of fencing, huge gates and large arbors.  Now I am thinking smaller is a good thing and have developed an interest in painting and a nice warm room is appealing to me.
 1st coat of tape on new wall
   Life is funny though and I suspect this new organization and nice display area will probably increase my business!  I can always add on to my shop...later!  It is convenient having these skills.  I just woke up one morning and decided to do this and now I am doing it.  It is really pretty easy, the directions are on the box.  You just have to deal with the mess of it all.

My Shop and Garden and "soon" my gallery will be HERE

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Taught Success

   Failure is easy to teach.  Years ago I taught at a Junior High School, history classes mostly, "World History" and specifically History of Russia, India, Africa and Western European History.  These were each eleven week classes and there was a lot of ground to cover, a lot of information for the exploding minds of fourteen year old school children.  I was often asked what I taught?  The answer was always students.
   I never felt as though I had to teach them everything, get to the end of the book nor rush to complete every assignment.  I never packed them full of data and dates, times and places nor tricky things that I might test them on later.  In fact, the final exam I passed out to them on the first day of school.  They knew what was expected of them.
   Most had never had a teacher like me.  All of my tests were "open book" and they could bring all of the notes they wanted to class.  They could even talk to each other and pass notes during the exams.  I solved the "cheating problem" by making it impossible to cheat.  I also never asked those kinds of questions, tick the right answer or fill in the blank.  I wanted explanations, a defense of their positions.  I wanted to know the why of history.
   In an eleven week course I spent the first three weeks on how to write essays.  How to outline an idea and break it down into smaller segments which could be discussed and how to discover information to support an idea.  How to look at an argument from both sides.  How there are views of History and differing approaches to understanding it.  How to write three sentences in a row and finally whole paragraphs.
   It is no different than cooking or any other activity where we might find success.  We feel powerless and in despair when every attempt seems to end in failure.  I think success breeds success and confidence creates confidence and self esteem can be bolstered in small achievements.

You can always find me  HERE

Friday, November 18, 2011

Keep the One Percent!

I watch these protesters from the comfort of my easy chair.  I certainly don't venture forth into the cold to join them and it has been over 20 years since I have slept in a tent.  I don't disagree with all they say but I wish they could find leaders, someone to vocalize their anger, refocus their efforts and be a little more rational in what they want.  I see so much anger there when in most cases they are the cause of their own problems.
It is really easy to get back at the 1% if that is what you want to do.  Quit supporting them.  Don't go to Sam Walton's stores.  Throw away your Ipod! and, only if you are pretty enough, take off your foreign clothes!
   I like the 1%.  Walmart has done some good things and I am sure they are listening now.  That is how they got to be the 1%, by listening and filling a need.  Walmart offered us the $4 dollar prescriptions, cheap eye glasses, and they are beginning to provide local produce and an organic section to their food departments!
Steve Jobs was a multi gazillionaire, selling telephones basically!  How cool is that?  I like Bill Gates and the whole group that make up this 1%
   I don't even want their money, not much of it anyway, not enough that they would notice much.  I think the Democrats are after just 3% on money made after the first million dollars!  Do you really think this would cripple Microsoft?  I doubt it.  It certainly won't equal the playing field and that is probably a good idea.
   I wish Politicians were forced to study Economics.  I wish they knew our own History and I wish they could find countries on a map, at least, say ten of them.  It would be nice if they knew that Africa was not a country.  There are "laws of economics" and I wish they understood these.  Sometimes opinions and emotions can be destructive of what we are after.
   There is a food chain and as killing the sharks disturbs the ecosystem in the oceans, destroying the 1% would probably have disastrous effects all down the line.  Someone else would just replace them.  There will always be 1%.
   Our Congress can't even agree on vegetables for school lunches!  That is right, that measure failed.  It was an Obama backed measure and, god forbid, passing it might have made him look good!  So we will continue with pizza and french fries and cold corn dogs because we can't agree on anything!
   20% of our population is taking mood altering prescription drugs!  25% of women do this!  Probably 50%
are on non-prescriptive drugs, alcohol and marijuana!  It is a ship going down and unlike the Titanic we are not even dancing!  Like rats caught in a maze we are reduced to eating each other!
   Our National Debt is about 62% of GNP.  Italy's is 118% and Japan's is over 200%. I do not know what is acceptable, reasonable and ordinary.  I do know the fear, the anger,the finger pointing, the emotions of it all are preventing any kind of reasonable solution.  I know that we shouldn't implement reforms and see what will happen.  It is not necessary.  We know what will happen.  You can look to recent history and see what will happen, look to Greece, to England and Ireland, look to what will happen soon in Spain.  Look to what happened in Germany when their money was so devalued that a worker was paid three times a day, devaluing a hundred times in a matter of hours.
   There is a science to this and an historical precedent. It would be nice to have leaders who actually read books.

My Art, shop and garden are HERE

Thursday, November 17, 2011

United States Savings Bonds

I remember buying them in grade school as a youngster, twenty-five cents a week I think I spent.  If I remember right $18 would buy you a twenty-five dollar Bonds, worth that much if you kept them long enough.  I lost all of mine over the years, maybe a hundred bucks worth.
   Savings Bonds of course are our National Debt, that is how we get the money.  62% we owe to ourselves and the rest to foreigners, mostly China.  Bonds are a hot commodity, easy to sell.  We are still a good investment.
   It was 1958, Sputnik just went up and our Freeway Systems were being built all across the United States, the old Route 66 was being abandoned.  We were a growing, busy, industriaalized nation.  Lots was happening everywhere.  The government needed money for all of this, the roads, outer space exploration, the Korean War, fighting the commies and building industry.  They sold bonds to school children to pay for it all.
   National Debt is not a crime.  What makes it bad is when it is used to pay electric bills and day to day expenses.  Like living off a credit card this is not sustainable.  The money owed should be divided into two separate catagories.  Money betting on an optimistic future is a good investment.  Money spent on education, roads, freeways, bridges, all of our infrastructure, clean air to breath and water to drink is betting that times will improve, is offering our children a positive future.  This money spent also provides jobs and immediate results.  A sight to the future needs to be bet on and paid for.  I would buy Bonds for this.
   Most Recessions have lasted less than two years, some much shorter and are considered "market adjustments".  This one is in to its fifth year and has seen over 15,000,000 Americans without work and 25 million without health insurance.  More homes have been lost than during the Great Depression.  All of this means that the government isn't collecting taxes.
   Businesses hire when there is a demand.  It is as simple as that.  And so very complicated to fix it.  More than anything we need to know that there will be a tomorrow and it will have the potential of being better and brighter, something worth working for.
   Austerity measures have not worked in other countries.  They are bleak, depressing, desparate measures that offer soup kitchens and despair for their citizens.  When every day is a little worse it is difficult to find ambition and strength and all of this create a downward spiral just making the situation worse.  We do need inspiration, we need that "hope" we were promised that never came to be.
   In the meantime Christmas Season will be here soon and you can think about what you will give as presents.  No bobbles and cheap tinny crap from Walmart, please, nothing imported please.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We Will Decide

   It is looking more and more as if the Super Committee in charge of decisions concerning the National Debt have just wasted their salaries.  I hate hiring people who can't get a job done!  I think to myself, if they worked for me I would fire the lot of them.  Then it occurs to me that these people are working for me and I cringe!
   The scary part of all of this is Congress can't accomplish anything because it is representative of the American people!  We voted them in.  We are a severely divided Nation and I can imagine Lincoln turning over in his grave.  We won't admit it but the problem is not with Congress.  We are the problem.
We have voted our emotions too many times.  We have voted without knowing the issues, without realizing the consequences, and sometimes we have voted without even realizing what we have voted for.
   In "the old days" we had barbershop conversations, talked on our front  porches, even might have gone to town hall meetings.  In the old days people read newspapers and we had more reliable news on the television.
   For some reason in the past twenty years we have become afraid of political discussions!  Is this because we feel like rats in a maze and there is no cheese?  that we have lost a sense of power?  I don't think so.  I think it is there for the taking.  It would be easier now than ever before to pack a City Hall meeting.  I think we have become lazy.  We don't read.  We don't investigate.  We have lost the art of pondering.  No one made us sheep.  There is no conspiracy.  It is just easier to graze on the grass and go about our day without giving it a thought.  We take the easy way out.
   They are calling this a "do nothing Congress" when they are just doing what we are doing:  nothing.
There will be another election in one year.  We have time to read, to discover, to educate ourselves on the issues.  Time to decide what kind of world we want this to be.
   There are other issues but the Economy will clearly be the biggest one we talk about in the coming year.
The National Debt wouldn't be an issue at all in a good economy.  Do we still believe in the "Trickle Down"
theory?  We get our jobs from rich people so we have to be nice to them?  Yasum Boss Sir kind of mentality?  What is the roll of Government?  Should we really wait until the bridges fall down before we repair them?  Where can we cut money with the least amount of pain?
   I am a bit disappointed with the art community.  I thought we might have a deeper understanding, more insight, more empathy, a clearer vision, a different view.  We are as isolated and lazy as the rest and our "do nothing Congress" is representing of us.  You get what you pay for and you get what you vote for.  How could anyone vote for someone who couldn't find Lybia on a map?
   The future is going to be more of the same because we seem to like it like that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Day to Complain

Not really.  I would never waste an entire day bitching and moaning but I am pretty sore at the moment.
Over 35 years in the construction industry I am used to doing things fast.  I always got paid for the job done, not the hours spent.  My shop is pretty clean but I literally have a ton of stuff to put away yet, valuable stuff and heavy.  I am trying not to bury it all this time nor stuff it into cupboards where I can't find it.  Mostly I am putting hooks up all over the place and hanging bits and pieces from the ceiling rafters or wherever I can find room.  It is a lot of up and down ladders and a lot of heavy lifting.
   Then there is the electrical for my gallery area.  Lots of drilling holes, pulling wires and more up and down the ladder.  The tiny screws for the receptacles drive me nuts.  The neuropathy in my hands drives me nuts.
I keep dropping the screws.  They feel like shards of glass in my hands or I can't feel them at all.
   My hours are really weird.  My wife works the graveyard shift, from 3pm to midnight.  I haven't learned how to take a nap.  Sometimes by four in the afternoon I am so tired and sore that I just go to bed.  Then I wake up about 1am after a great sleep and what the heck can a person do at that time of night?  I am nice to my neighbors and wouldn't start up the machinery then.  They would call the cops on me anyway.
   So, here I am in my shop office playing with the computer!  And I will make sketches and I make notes the old fashioned way on a pad.  I still make "lesson plans" as I learned to do while I was a teacher.  What to do and how to do it.  Goals for the day.  Thinking that when my gallery is finished I could paint.  Quiet and peaceful.
   I will read for a couple hours, first the news that flashes atop my computer screen, who did what to whom and what happened while I slept.  I wonder how important any of this is?  What would happen if I didn't know anything?  Probably not much.
   I go on jags and junkets.  I will read ten mystery books in a row and not read another for months.  For awhile I read every art history book I could find.  You know I am into politics so I read some about that too.
I find it interesting why someone would like this candidate or that?  How some people want to bring back "waterboarding".  Really, they do.  I want to bring back the Gladiators! and lots of blood too!  It is the evil that is in us all, that bad dog we feed.
   My educational training is in European History but I am into American History now and am reading lots of books about us.  There are reasons that we think the way we do.  I am just curious and I have the time.
   I have thought of just throwing my watch away.  It is stuck on daylight savings time.  That extra hour of sunlight is responsible for global warming.  I know it is.
   The stem on my watch is welded shut not allowing me to set it differently.  I don't look at it much anymore anyway.  I am not so much controlled by time.  I eat when I am hungry, sleep when I am sore and tired, work until I am not able.
   I have a routine though.  About 6am I will go into the house, feed my dog and take my morning bubble bath in a six foot cast iron tub that is over 100 years old.  I get the water as hot as I can stand it.  By 7am I am dressed for the day and back in my shop or if the sun is up I am strolling my garden.  My main meal of the day is about 10am and it can be anything I fancy.  Sometimes it is a breakfast and other times a full fledged dinner.  Whatever.  After I have eaten something I play with my dog.  It is a routine and he expects this.
   About this time, about 11am I am feeling the day is almost over and this gives me a boost of energy.  Whatever I am doing I work hard from about 11am until 4 or 5pm and then I am drop dead tired, sore and all I want to do is to lie down.  It takes me five minutes to fall asleep.  I am very good at that.
   Not too exciting, huh?  No wining nor dining, no operas or theater.  My friends know to drop by during the day if they want to see me.   These strange hours may not be so strange.  In the summer when the sun out  longer I will adjust them and stay up later.  I go to bed and get up with the chickens!
   It was the Industrial Revolution that tied us to the clock and I am free of that now.
I have the will to be more entertaining, more social and more productive but chemotherapy ravaged my hands and I tire pretty easily.  If I began to hunt for pain I could probably find it everywhere.
   What doesn't get done today I will add to my list for tomorrow.

This is what I do:  HERE

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Mess is Moved!

Humans have a tendency to fill the space they occupy and I am no different.  I collect things, buy more than I need to do a job and then stash this stuff in corners of my shop.  Last week I hauled over a ton of steel to the scrap yard and you would think that would be that, but it never is.  I have discovered a whole lot more.  My shop is clean and workable now, that is the important thing.  If work comes by I can do it.  I still have a corner to deal with but now my table is set up and I have working room.
   It is the outside of my shop that is now a mess, steel in barrels all over the place!  That is all right, one at a time I will go through them, sort them out and save very little and recycle the rest.
   Finding the energy for all of this is really pretty simple.  I just create a situation that I can't get out of.  I have no choice but to clean it up and put it back together.
   Today I will be an electrician, put that hat on and create some lighting for the gallery space before I sheetrock that wall next weekend.  I will add a couple plug ins and probably four lights.  Let there be light!
 A little smaller, but cleaner and better organized!
   Thank you for the idea, SoozeeQ, a stained concrete floor might just be the ticket!  It is already half stained I would just need to add a bit of color.  Might look good at that!

What I do is HERE

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This will take some time.

So I have begun my gallery space and remind myself that you have to break eggs to make omelettes!  Man, what a mess!  I have accumulated way too much stuff!
   I began this process by searching "Craigslist" for metal scrappers.  There are dozens in the town, people struggling to make ends meet and the druggies to be careful of because they will take more than you offer.
 Empty 200 sq. feet of gallery
It was "Veteran's Day" on Friday so I  found a Vet!  A Vietnam Vet no less, a guy about my own age, also on Social Security and trying to make ends meet and willing to work for what he needed.  It is a simple barter:  pick up my scrap steel and you can have it.  In two hours we had a corner of my shop clean and other metals from around my shop that weren't wanted any more.  We worked together and talked the entire time, just about the struggle of life and what to do.  What to do.  We are both the kind of people that have to be doing something.  Giving it to us is not what we want.  Even older people like to be productive.  And we were!  He ended up with a ton of scrap steel, stuff that I could have made use of but storing it became an issue.  I needed the space.  In two hours he made over $150.  Not too bad for old folk.
   My shop is 200 square feet smaller and stuff is piled upon stuff.  Everything is in my way.  I am left with a space about 20' x 18' and for now can barely walk in it.  I am at the point of "OMG, what have I done?"  It will take some time to rearrange and organize and make it workable, but I have to do this first.
The Gallery Space is a luxury, a nice heated space where I can play at painting and display in an uncluttered way some of my metal art.  This gallery space will be nice but it won't make me a dime.  I need my shop!
   Today I will move the big stuff around, free up my welding table and begin the process of creating a working space.  I really need to spend two weeks on my shop before I attack the little gallery space.  The shop will pay for the gallery and the gallery will pay for nothing!  Well, maybe.
   I definitely have two types of customers.  Most are happy with the mess caused by active fabrication, creating metal art in my shop, the smell of burnt steel and just the experience of seeing stuff happening.  This isn't a Doctor's office after all.  I do have other customers though, mostly (and a little criticism here!) women designers, "decorators" in high heels and really nice clothes and very clean hands!  I admit they are pretty uncomfortable here!  They are after curtain rods and little brackets, stuff more familiar wrapped in cellophane packaging.  They will be happy with my new gallery whenever I get it.
   It won't be too fast though.  I will insulate the wall I built next weekend and hang and tape the sheetrock but then it will move a bit slower.  I need to concentrate on my shop and some of what I want to do with the gallery space will be expensive.  I'll do it as the money comes in, one step at a time.  I need some nice lighting
 The view from my office door
and I so want to install really nice hardwood floors over the grungy concrete look that is there now.  And I still need that heater!  There is lots to do.  It is a project!
  I'll keep you posted!

More of what I do, my shop and garden is HERE

Friday, November 11, 2011

History Lessons

   It is a reality of life that if you were born in a different time or in a different location, maybe just a different day, then you would be a totally different person.  We are so much a product of circumstances.  Oh, somewhere in there is me, I think, but that me even changes from day to day.  I have taken up reading again, historical books this time, old letters, speeches from Colonial America, stories from the Industrial Revolution,
our own Westward Expansion, Religious Influence on American History, that sort of thing.  If I had been born in Nairobi or Asia somewhere I might be reading different books.  I am always curious why I think the way I do, what has influenced me.
   The interesting thing is that you do not need to read any of these books for History to play a roll in your life.  It does, believe me, whether you read it or not.  Where we were born, how we were raised, the schools we went to, the friends we have accumulated, the things we have done all determine what we will do.
   Society seems to be going through another fundamental change maybe as significant as the Industrial Revolution in the Eighteenth Century brought on by the invention of the Steam Engine and the Cotton Gin.
Before then most of the World was agrarian living off the land and at the mercy of the elements.  That wasn't an easy transition either.  It brought women and children into the workplace, in crowded conditions, often tied to the machines they were operating.  Cities were created and no one thought to install sewers.  It was a long process full of perils and hardships but led the way to Women's Suffrage, public education, better wages
and a long list of good things to come after the bad.
   It freed us from the land and offered us a surplus, energy and money that could be put to other things than just plain survival.  It changed politics all over the world.  It created Revolutions from here to France and beyond.
   As all of this progressed it gave us choices.  We could work on the farm or in the city.  Agriculture and Industry competed for our labor and wages grew.  As manufacturing thrived we could compete there too and it was pretty easy to get a job, going from one factory to another we could mostly find employment.
Henry Ford grew rich making automobiles, creating a production line and churning them out like peanut butter sandwiches.  He was a clever industrialists and not from any sense of fairness but just good economic policy, he paid his workers enough that they could afford to buy the cars that they were making.  His best customers were on the factory floor!  To keep their workers, other factories had to do the same.
   I think there are different kinds of people, different temperaments, suited to do different things.  Or maybe we are suited to do different things at different times in our lives?
Times are changing.  We are losing 50,000 manufacturing jobs each month.  Factories in the United States are closing every day.  Clearly this is bad for the economy but, but maybe even worse, it is bad for us.  We have lost that "freedom of employment", our sense of empowerment, our freedom to choose our work and maybe our identities with it.  If we are what we do it can't be nice to be doing nothing.  Or with no alternative, to be trapped in a job that we hate.
   History is interesting, how we get to where we are is always interesting.  One step in a different direction, a slight change in the weather can make all the difference as to who we are and how we think.

Yesterday I got "pic of the day" HERE!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cut and Paste

We have a Super Committee, a group of Republican and Democratic Senators who have been charged with the impossible task of reducing our National Deficit and their time is running out.  It is an interesting problem and they are in a "do or die" situation.  If they fail to reach agreement then the reductions will automatically come out of Social Security, Medicare and the Military.  Even if they reached agreement it is still not final.  There would be a vote in Congress and whatever was decided still needs to be signed by the President.
   All of this is of importance to Artists because we are people too.  We get old, we get sick, we pay taxes.
We have been in this recession for over four years.  Schnitzer Steel Stock is less than $50 from it's high of $117 four years ago.  Not all but most of the stock market is this way.   Housing has taken a beating and we have lost much of our equity there too.  We are unemployed, uninsured and soon to be hungry.  More people are on food assistance than ever before.  This "new normal" is pretty sad.
   To fix it you have to be a betting person, a bit of a gambler.  You could have the attitude of despair, that it is all going to come down crashing upon us like a house of cards.  We must hunker down and pay the piper,
take what suffering that will occur, pay down the National Debt and suffer the consequences.  This same reasoning will want the creation of jobs at any cost.  The cost could be dear indeed.  Get rid of Government rules and regulations, abandon the clean air policies and pollute our waterways, fracture the Earth in the name of industry.
   One could have a more optimistic attitude.  We could bet that there will be a  future, that these are not the "last days on earth", not Armageddon.  We will continue and decide what kind of world we want to live in.
It seems to me that the biggest difference in these decisions between the Republicans and the Democrats
come down to tax revenues, environmental concerns and who would be more able to stimulate the economy,
private enterprise or the government?
   I am sure cuts will be made and they will be more political than economic.  They won't be about fairness but about power.  Why 99% of us can't get the richest 1% to pay an additional 3% in taxes OVER a million a year is all about power.
   It wouldn't be easy to be on that committee, someone will hate you.  One third of Medicare's budget is spent on the last one year of a person's life.  I am not sure that is a good investment.  I think I miss the days when a person could just die in peace and not be carted back and forth to the emergency room and suffer heroic efforts.  Personally I like an Eskimo tradition of being placed on an iceberg or in a small canoe paddling after that last sunset.  The isolation of our society says to put old people in nursing homes and our guilt for this requires huge investments in last days medical care.
   I am sure there is tons of waste that could be cut, probably easily 10% across the board.  We have a country of Government Workers who all have pensions supported by tax dollars.  Pensions that we do not have.
  Our military is huge.  Much bigger than all the rest of the world combined!  Can you even imagine this?
   As a businessman cutting a budget can be a dangerous thing to do.  Some expenditures make money and are necessary.  Rebuilding our Nation's infrastructure is one of these.  We need roads, bridges, trains or commerce will come to a grinding halt.  To invest money there seems like a good idea to me.
   It is all pretty complicated.  First the banks were bailed out and as expensive as that was it was necessary. They represent "the system", our faith in money, our belief that when we get a check it will be cashable, and when we write a check or use a credit card, it will be honored.  This "system" is not perfect and there is a lot of abuse but it is easier to fix it than tear it down.  I think.
   Now it is "Main Streets" time and the question is what to do?

What I do is HERE

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Key Words

I have learned something really cool.  We are being watched!  I don't think by people, it is machinery that is watching us and listening to every word we say.  I thought at first it was the "labels" we enter at the ends of these posts that are the key markers but now I realize that some computer program is is following the content of these posts!  (Insert Nuclear Energy Here).
   I think this is how the CIA tracks our every conversation, bored to tears with most of them but when the occassional cryptic word appears it rings a bell somewhere, in some program and then someone will look at it.  Remember "Teflon" from yesterday?  Now, who is Sara? and how the heck did she know I was talking about...that stuff?  (Enter Radioactive Here!)
   The ad people do this, we all know that  Think "Hot Russian Babes"!  I've been talking about Remodeling My Shop (all in caps to make their program work a little better), and now I am getting ads and e-mails about remodeling stuff, space organizers and shelving units!  Pretty cool, huh?  (Enter Hot Russian Babes Here!)
   Sometimes you can confuse them.  It is pretty easy really and a bit of fun in itself.  (Please don't take me to Jail).  SoozeeQ and I have been talking about porches and neighborhoods and the "good old days" and somebody wants to know who in the heck is this SoozeeQ?  That's right!  She has been "googled"!
(Enter Hot Molten Steel Here!)
   I have noticed this before when in earlier posts I talked about my European travels in my youth.  I didn't make the connection then but noticed I was getting ads for Norweigen Sailing Adventures. (Enter Fountain of Youth Here, Please!).
   Anyone remember "The Three Days of the Condor"?  The Robert Redford movie about lowly CIA workers who in a new high tech world stumbled upon some secret stuff!  They were all killed while Bob was out getting some take out food and now he has to survive and discover what the secret was!
I don't know anything!  It is just interesting. (Delete "waterboarding"  Here).
   Do we really have to be careful?  Afraid of words?  (Enter Mumbo Jumbo Here).
I am going to try a new tactic!  If the advertizers are watching, maybe the government and corporate headquarters, why don't I just tell them what I want?  Wouldn't that just save us a lot of trouble?
I want ads for cheap steel (American Made!), Hot Molten Iron and Cool Ornamental Stuff! and on Tuesday's only when my wife works late, Hot Russian Babes!
   You might have noticed that I sneaked in "key words" (Enter Sneaked In Here).  If I am not here tomorrow you will know not to do this in the future.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dictates of Architecture

   SoozieQ brought up an interesting point about the loss of front porches so maybe we could talk about that some more?  It always interests me how something, simple in concept, can have far reaching consequences not thought out at all.  Burning bacon in a teflon pan causes cancer but we eat it anyway!
   I have no memory except from the movies and the illustrated jackets of Southern  Novels about the great American Architecture found in the front porch.  Certainly a style that must find its origins in the warmer climate of the Southern States where evenings were still warm and the scent of gardenias filled the air.  Even in colder climates, all across this country, houses were built, sometimes  with a total wrap around front porch.
   These were big porches which allowed real furniture, comfortable chairs and couches, not the plastic stuff of today.  Comfortable places inviting relaxation and conversation.  An era of slower time where we might actually enjoy to sit a spell and "shoot the breeze".
   Front porches could be cleaned with a quick sweeping or a garden hose, not like maybe having to do the whole house in a proper Spring cleaning to have company.  Front porches invited spontaneity, neighbors could drop by and friendships created.  All without a lot of effort, it was front porch conversation.  A place where concerns and compassion could aspire and even a place where politics can be discussed!
   Some idiot architect decided to wall in this area and increase the square footage of a home without  thought to what it would mean!  We lose a lot in our privacy, our isolation.
   New construction offers no porches, in fact, no neighborhoods at all.

   Another thing missing in new construction is attics.   There will be no baseball card collections in the future.  No wooden rocking horses, no baby's first shoes, no comic books saved and put away in the attic.  We still buy this stuff out of habit but having no place to put it we toss it.
   We are rapidly becoming a nation of apartment dwellers and that will have consequences too.  It will change our psyche considerably when "home" can be left with a simple "30 day's notice".

I am always HERE

Saturday, November 5, 2011


How many people escaped the savannas of Africa to confront the Neanderthal of Europe?  There is a theory that we walk upright simply because once we left the safety of the tree filled jungles we needed to stand upright to see the predators in the tall grass of the savannas.  And another theory that once out of these jungles where fruit and nuts were in abundance we ate fish and meat, more protein and our brains got bigger.
Even today people from Northern China are wheat eaters and much bigger than their rice eating Southern counterparts.  Somehow I think we are all related.
   I have more cousins than I could count.  They are a scattered bunch and much like the natives who escaped the deepest, darkest African Continent, they are all over the world.  Eating fish and chips I suppose in England and whatever it is that Canadians eat.  Seal eyeballs and whale blubber?  Just joking, cuz!  I know it is Subway Sandwiches!  Food is so International now.  Meaning we get the same refined processed crap everywhere we go!  Everything measured by the McDonald's Standard!
   I think I have a cousin who lives in the same town that I do but I don't really know for sure.  I have cousins whom I have never ever met.  When my uncles were alive we had family reunions and I would meet these strangers whose only connection might be a smattering of DNA.  They have long since died off and now there are no meetings in the park, no shared stories, no family connections.  We are strangers now
   Somewhere deep in a history I have no memory of,  I miss this Tribalism, this clanmanship, a connecting "Popsie" or elder who held us together.  I think that must be my DNA and not my brain or the other way around.  I don't know.  There is a necessity to escape and like birds who fly their nest we must spread out and venture on our own.
   Yes, Hi, Megandy Moo Cow!  You were two or three and I was nine or ten and we walked to the store a half mile away and I held your hand the entire way and we were careful of the cars!  Tribalism. Protective.

My website is HERE

Friday, November 4, 2011

Time to Remodel My Shop

   I have the nicest "back yard shop" in town.  The main work area is 20' x 28' and then I have outside of these measurements, my 10' x 8' office and another storage area about 6' x 10'.  It is almost two story with a walkable attic the length of it where I store mostly empty cardboard boxes, light things easy to get up and down.  Lots of windows, lots of light, it is a nice space.
   It has seen a lot of work.  I could build 50' of Ornamental Iron fencing per day here or knock out a 16' Entry Gate in a single day.  This is where my arbors were invented.  It is where I created "Stone Posts Co." and was my route out of the construction industry.
   But I am tired of the huge jobs and can't muster the enthusiasm nor energy necessary to do them.  I can't imagine me without the shop so I will just rearrange it a bit, make it a little smaller.  I want to create a clean space, an area which I can heat during the winter months, a "fine art room" if you will, my own personal gallery space.  A place to paint!  I'll do it in stages as I can afford it but I am thinking I will make it really elegant with nicely finished walls and hardwood floors.  I will build a wall down a third of my shop creating a 10' x 20' gallery area right next to my office.  Heated!
 door to my office
   I am pretty impetuous and would start this project today except there is literally a ton of steel to move first, and a lot of tools, benches and equipment.  I have to begin by emptying this space!  and then there is always a job that will interfere.  I am in the middle of one now and have an installation to do tomorrow so it will be a couple weeks before I can get started.  But the idea is there, cooking in my brain.

My Shop and Gardens are HERE

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Texas Beat Down!

Two Posts in one day, you will probably not even read my earlier one!  OMG, that poor girl in Texas who got her ass beat with a belt handled by her Father AND her Mother!  This is Texas Justice? and implemented by a Judge no less!!!  I can't even imagine this sort of thing, never, ever, never under any conditions!  The Judge AND his wife should be shot for the mad dogs that they are!
   You can find this story on Google, it has pretty much gone viral and so it should.  The girl was 16 years old, had some kind of "developmental disability", not sure what but it makes no difference!  She had committed the crime of downloading some music on to her computer for which her Judge Father AND Mother beat the crap out of her with a belt!  That is just plain insanity!
   Maybe they are Muslims?  Where do people get the idea that beating other people, like maybe your own children, is a good idea?  Nuts!
   Nuts and contagious.  Studies has shown if someone was beaten as a child they are more likely to beat their own children.
   I would think that my kids would have had me committed if I had done that to them.  I would hope so.
This is how beating becomes "acceptable behavior" and how wife beaters and women who allow themselves to be beaten are created.
   I remember joking with my daughters, telling them that they were never good enough to be beaten!
Beating, a whipping like this by BOTH parents is all about control and power in a relationship.  Relationships that are power brokered, based on "might makes right" are stupid, ineffective and nuts!
   God, I would just curl up and die if I did something like that!  How can anyone be so very broken?
I couldn't do that to my dog.

Now, go read my earlier post!

Two Subjects Today!

Did you ever have just so much to say that you are bubbling over with excitement and can't get the words out straight?
   Our Capitalists system does work and things can change without protesting on the streets, without riot squads and people camping in the parks.  It is the Internet that binds us now, where the people can find their power, where we can share Rants and Raves and a good idea can "go viral".
   I keep mentioning that we do not need more laws, we may not even need more taxes?  We got to this horrible predicament, this horrid economy, this twisted way of living not because of the evil corporations but because of the greed within us that they have taken advantage of.  It is so easy to lament our lack of power while on our way to Walmart to buy more imported stuff to perpetuate this cycle.
   It is so easy to make a change.  Two thirds of our economy is based on us, our purchasing power, what we buy is who we are, is what we want the world to be.  Easy as that.
   Here are three short examples:
   Bank of America will not be charging $5 dollars a month to access our own money!  The protests were few, nothing was destroyed, no police were called.  A lot of people simply switched banks!  Joined a local Credit Union (where they should have been in the first place!) and let their opposition be known by the power of the purse!  It is a lot of power.  We just haven't learned how to use it.
   Netflex also made corporate decisions that "the people" didn't like.  In these horrid economic times they raised prices and people dropped out of their business in droves.
   One Week.
   That is all it would take and the corporations would listen.  Buy only locally made stuff for one week and 500,000 jobs would be created.  One month of this and we would create Two Million Jobs!
   Even Walmart, the largest employer in the world is listening.
   THIS would be an interesting protest:  go shopping, anywhere you like.  Fill your cart with whatever you desire and at the checkout stand, REJECT anything that is not made in the USA.  For a time you would walk away empty handed but that too would change.  Businesses listen.
   And, I did find American Bath Towels on the internet.  A company called 1888 Mills produces 100% Organic Cotton, Over sized Bath Towels, 2 for $27.  Such a deal.
   My goal, for one day, Christmas Day, is to only wear clothing made in USA...or go naked.  Care to join me?
   My other news I will tell you tomorrow!  I have decided to remodel my studio/shop!!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

to Help or Hinder?

Artists know other artists, other's who dabble in paint or a different material, maybe some just learning and others who have mastered their crafts.  We are a family.
   I have no secrets to my craft.  I will share my experience with anyone who cares to listen, show you my shop, my bending jigs, my work table, how I do things.  I do this because it is my nature and because it is good for business.
   My craft is Ornamental Iron and there are only two responses.  Someone sees my work, or another artist with the same skills and pauses with amazement, enjoying what was created and thinking maybe he might like something similar.  Or they don't.  I think of that old adage where if I do a really good job a client might tell one of his friends and if I do a bad job he will tell all of them!
   I think Art is contagious.  I live in an extended community of almost 200,000 people.  When I began this effort in steel there were very few Ornamental Iron structures worth noting.  No distinctive gates, not a single nice arbor to be found, not much of anything.  Two places in town sold steel and neither sold ornamental iron components.
   I knew that in order for what I wanted to do to become successful I had to create a demand.  After learning the trade and two years of practice I took my wares to the local Home Show.  I bought a big booth and filled it with Ornamental Iron pieces,  stuff that this community had never seen before.  It was a big success and I spent a lot of time talking with metal fabricators, mostly the industrial side of welding.
Now, almost twenty years later there might be six of us.  There are some really nice Ornamental Iron works in town.  The two metal supply stores carry a line of iron components and there is plenty of work for everyone.  Sometimes we get a thrill out of trying to outdo each other!
   Any art is the same.  No one would want their paintings in a gallery surrounded by junk.  I think the better one artist does the more inspiring it is to all of us.
   So this week I am helping a friend.  He is a good metal smith with a lot of skills but has never created a large entry gate.  There is more to one of these than meets the eye.  The art is in the structure and each element provides strength and all of this begins with setting the posts.  There is a lot to know.  A sagging gate that does not work with ease is not impressive and bad for business for everyone.

My Gates are HERE

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Piece of the Pie

It is interesting, watching the "Occupy Wall Street" Protesters.  They are growing in numbers and are all over the world.  It is a protest without leadership and I am not really sure what they are after.  Some are being arrested and I wonder why the bother?  It has to be expensive to arrest someone, the court costs, attorneys,
more police taken away from real crime, jail guards, feeding them, the whole of it.  And then it becomes an issue, doesn't it?  In Syria they shoot them, a bullet from a sniper a half mile away!  Extremes.
   The One Percent have been identified.  They are the ones who make over $700,000 in one year.  Not bad for a forty hour week if that is how they do it. That works out to be $350 per hour.
   These are not the protests of the '60's, not anti-war protests nor voter registration, equality or fighting racism.  These are not the "flower children" of San Fransisco who were just so fed up they opted to drop out.  The new protesters of today are all wearing imported clothing, all have backpacks made in China, carrying their i-phones and netbooks manufactured overseas.  If you removed these foreign items from them they would all be naked!
   It is pretty funny to me, in a strange sort of way.  It is like they have "seeeen the Promised Land" and want a piece of the pie!  They don't seem to be after Truth or Justice or Environmentalism, nothing altruistic at all.
All over the world they want IN!  More big screen t.v's. please.  Yes, I would like it "Super-Sized"!
   Greece now is going to vote for their austerity measures and this has caused the Stock Market to crash.
No one will vote for less when what we want is MORE!
   Where ever did we get the idea that material possessions will make us happy?  Yes, more please.  I want gravy on everything!
   I want to see Paris Hilton, naked, extolling the virtues of American products!  I once read that if we could go One Week, just a week, and stay away from Walmart, not buy anything imported, then we could create a half a million jobs!  We do not need any laws for this, no police, no crowd control, not even a protest.  Just a new slogan, "Don't Do it".
   Christmas will be here soon and Walmart will be packed from wall to wall.  Don't do it.  This year make cookies, find some American made paints and give your art away, support a local artist and buy their works, buy everyone on your list American made towels.  My challenge to you is on Christmas Day dress your best all in clothing "made in USA"! or your own country for my foreign friends.  Tell your friends!  If we all did that we could create over a million jobs!
   So what makes a cool gift?  Any ideas?

I am HERE too.