Sunday, December 30, 2007

time management

Some weeks back I lied when I titled a post 'I used to be disgusted'. In actuality, I still am disgusted but if I weren't a little bit hopeful I wouldn't post at all. The problem I have with writing a reasonably entertaining and informative politically derived blog is one of time and leisure. I have little of either since I do have a full-time and frequently irritating job in which I'm responsible for obtaining insurance authorizations for people needing surgery. No more need be said about that at present. My paintings take ages to plan and uninterrupted time to actualize even though (if they work) they look as if they were dashed off with the speed and grace of a skilled calligrapher.. or so I'd like to think. I enjoy reading, so besides novels, philosophy, science etc., I also read 20-40 pages of editorial stuff daily. I know it hasn't shown in my posts but doing any kind of well thought out overview requires even more time as well as some ability to be clear and concise.. funny helps too. But at the moment Fairlane at Jonestown appears to be unavailable, Gary of Withinsight is sunning himself in Mexico and I think Scarlet at Invisiblewoman may have overindulged in ale last night - so maybe this is my opportunity to rant a bit..

The photograph above is of our old favorite monster cum dictator, Adolph (why didn't they love my art?) Hitler and his very talented and adoring chronicler, Leni Riefenstahl. In 1934 she made a film called 'Triumph of the Will' which was a loving testimonial to the delights of Nazism and the powers of mass persuasion. It came to be extolled as one of the most extraordinary examples of political propaganda ever produced and one I believe everybody should attempt to see. It's available on dvd and would make a very lively evenings worth of entertainment and a good focus for anyone wanting to compare what happened then with what's going on now. Fascism didn't die at the end of WWII.

Check this out for instance:

It's a still from the film showing the crowds assembled at the Nuremberg Nazi Party Congress in 1934. Now check this out and see if you notice any similarity:

Why it's none other than little George's Inauguration in 2004! Isn't that amazing? From what I've read no previous inauguration was set up in just this way. Naturally, we were told it was specifically to keep terrorists at bay but it was one of the scariest things I've seen in my life.

Anyway, I wanted to point out that all of this happened in Germany after the great Reichstag fire of 1933 when the Parliament was burned and an unemployed Dutch worker was blamed. He was said to be a Communist although that was never proved. Soon after Hitler made short work of either getting rid of or co-opting his opposition. Should I post a picture of the Reichstag next to one of the World Trade Center or would that be too obvious?

Of course, I have no more idea of what really happened on 911 than anybody else does but I do believe it was nothing like what we were told by the 911 Commission. 911 Truth has a lot more plausible suggestions.

This may seem to have little relevance to what's going on now and an upcoming presidential election year but a lot of people lost faith in our government when the tragedy was used as an excuse to grab an unprecedented amount of power both abroad and domestically. To a large extent the MSM has become more like Pravda than an honest and open forum for disseminating real information. This morning, along with my morning coffee, I got the news that William Kristol (famous conservative pundit of The Weekly Standard and Fox News as well as chief apologist for attacking Iraq etc. etc.) has been named to the editorial staff of the NY Times where he can help sustain the reporting balance of Thos. Freedman et al. If they wanted some balance, why didn't they invite Noam Chomsky or David Ray Griffin or just about anyone we could name that they will never consider.

Yeah, I'm disgusted.. but I'll continue to be hopeful too.
Now to find a cup of tea...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

tagged? moi? oh well..

Since it's Gary by way of Sera who's proposed the tag - eight random facts or habits I'll try - even though I thought that's what blogging was about in the first place.

1. I love Japanese video games. Sometimes I even get to play one like the RPG pictured here - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. My character was Castra, the skinny one on the right with the bullet bazoombas, a Yuke magician. A couple of times a year there'll be a game we can share.

2. I'm a coal miner's daughter. My Dad went to work in the mines in northern England when he was 13 - the oldest son when his father was killed in a mining accident and there were 10 sisters, a brother and a mother to look after.

My mother once danced with Maurice Chevalier. Her name wasn't Gigi.

3. I wear black clothes (although sometimes they're dark gray if they've been washed a lot) since I can't be bothered color coordinating my wardrobe.

4. I rarely drive. I got my licence at 32 and a car 10 years later but since I've always lived in big cities I prefer public transit or walking.

5. I still smoke which probably means they won't allow me to move back to Canada since I hear it's become a non-smoking country since I left.

6. I was once the youngest artist's model working in Toronto. I spent 2 years in Europe and worked in art schools to fund the journey.

7. I have a small gold-plated lion's head from the Buckingham Palace gate. It fell off in my hand (honest!) and my uncle wrapped it up in his raincoat before the Palace Guard could take me away to the Tower.

8. Every morning I get coffee in bed.. even when we travel and the closest good coffee shop isn't necessarily in the hotel lobby. I know how lucky I am.

Since I never pass on chain letters I'm afraid I can't pass this tag on either. Besides, I don't know enough other bloggers to send one to - so for me the tag stops here. It was kind of fun just this once. Thanks Gary :-)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Christmas - War is Over

I painted this one ten years ago after reading about a mother's march in Belgrade against the war that was being waged then in Serbia-Kosovo. The women carried brightly colored plastic toy swords and shields as symbols of their opposition to the carnage. Those who weren't arrested were tear-gassed, beaten and dispersed. Yet it was a very brave thing to do. I wish there was a huge Christmas march planned that we could all join to voice the dismay of good people everywhere about the current meaningless war in Iraq.

Please only watch this if you're ready for something that's very sad:

John Lennon died very suddenly and unexpectedly more than twenty years ago in another Christmas season. I still miss him along with many more - perhaps you too.

I have my purple and yellow plastic sword freshly polished. Let's all Imagine Peace on Earth in our time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the meaning of life

Every morning I walk to work and today the sun was actually visible as it rose above the distant mountains and I found myself singing this song in my head. Really, it's better that way since I can remember Eric Idle's voice and not listen to my own or have anybody staring at me or dialling 911 on their cellphone.

I also remembered a talk I had with a doctor friend a few years ago when he was stressing the importance of stability. Easy for him to say. At the time I couldn't help but point out the fact that although we tell ourselves day and night follow one another in regular patterns as the seasons change that what is really happening is this: The earth is spinning around fast as hell and also wobbling back and forth while our entire galaxy is heading for an eventual tug of war with another that will cross our path in a couple of billion years. So where's the stability? The only place I can think of is in our hearts.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I used to be disgusted

now I try to be amused. My wings have gotten rusted and the angels have stolen my red shoes. Elvis Costello is surely one of the best song writers of our generation and his "Shipbuilding' explains much about our common history. I thought about posting a link to it but it's easily found on youtube if you're interested.

The picture posted here is part of our collection and was found during the last presidential election. It seemed pretty apt then and perhaps even more so now since a lot of my American friends have expressed interest in moving to Canada - including us considering moving back someday. The problem for us and for some among our Canadian friends is that most of the country - global warming or not - is so damn cold most of the year. The islands of British Columbia are lovely and the weather is milder there than anywhere else but it's not Orange County. Toronto is huge and has spread like a fungal infection of housing developments and strip malls across the remembered farmland and woods of my childhood. Imagine, if you can, Los Angeles with snow and ice seven months of the year and you'll have a close approximation. Montreal is great and even has underground access to most of the downtown buildings but the only French speakers most Quebecois will converse with are native born ones. I don't even want to think about living in any of the Prairie provinces since winters there make Minnesota and N. Dakota look balmy. The Maritimes can be compared to Vermont and New Hampshire but colder, damper and darker by the time November rolls around and the ice doesn't break til May. Brrrrr

Therefore, I think we should start a petition to switch around some of the unnatural lines drawn on political maps. After all, a map is not a landscape. The problems of having an Electoral College decide the presidency would be moot since we'd have a parliament and as many 3rd, 4th and 5th party candidates who felt like climbing on a soapbox (what's a soapbox?). The Canadians could enjoy a warmer retirement and we could all use some free health care. Anybody feel like contacting Michael Moore?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

in case of emergency

Okay, holiday parties are coming so here's a story that's worked for me when the conversation lags or turns to uncomfortable subjects like - "Have you gained more weight?". If you've already heard it..

A duck walks into a bar, hops up on a stool and says to the bartender "Got any grapes?" The bartender says "No" and the duck leaves. Next day the duck comes back, hops on his stool and says to the bartender "Got any grapes?" The bartender says "I told you yesterday we don't have any grapes and we still don't have any grapes". The duck left. The following day the duck comes back again, hops on the stool, looks at the bartender and says "Got any grapes?". The bartender gives the duck a long stare and says "I keep on telling you we don't have any grapes and if you come in here one more time asking for grapes I'm going to nail your bill to the bar". The duck left. Next day the duck walks back into the bar, hops up on his favorite stool, looks at the bartender and says "Got any nails?" The bartender says "No, I don't have any nails". The duck says "Got any grapes?"

Sunday, December 2, 2007

what next?

Some days I can't help but make unfavorable comparisons of this little blog I've been playing around with the past couple of months with others I've got into the habit of visiting. My early posts were an attempt to show the best of my artwork done in the past decade and since I work slowly, deliberately and intermittently, the gallery show aspect came and went fast. So what do I dedicate this blogging time towards? I wish I could rant to great effect like Fairlane and his friends at Jones Town but I'm no ranter and worse, unless you get to hear me at work, I'm not very funny. It would be wonderful if I could cartoon like Seraphine at Encore Seraphine or Kathie at Crazy Irish Chick but those talents aren't part of my repertoire much as I admire them. Scarlet at Nvisiblewmn is hilarious when she gets on a roll and although I've had my own semi-disastrous dental appointments I've been too traumatized and angry afterwards to write anything amusing that everybody could relate to. Gary at Withinsight has a gentle and lovely way with his blog where everyone is welcomed and praised. How I admire that. Kalyan with his Heaven's Garden blog shows some of the most beautiful pictures and descriptions of India, its places, people and customs that one could hope to see. I used to travel a lot but was too intimidated to go that far on my own and there were too many stories about people who never came back. There are a couple of other blogs on my favorites list (and some I look at that aren't listed) and all are worthy of attention but what's my contribution going to be?

I read a lot - books as well as news and science articles - but if I want to do book reviews I can go to Amazon or Epinions (something I've been known to do). It's the same with movies and since we rarely watch first run that would be pretty boring and irrelevant. I do have a job but spend too much time there already without writing about it too. The family is very small at this point in time and members distant in the physical sense so there are no big in-house events to plan for and gifts get mailed at appropriate times. Visits are a rare delight.

A lot of the news upsets my tendency to find equilibrium but I find a need to at least witness the events of our time. Lots of times I find hopeful and challenging ones like this man who is planning to walk from Boston to Washington to convince Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against the administration immediately. Why else were they elected in 2006 if not to do that?

Yes, I tend to get as irritated as anyone else about our consumer society and the especially relentless and desperate advertising that goes on at this time of year. December has become the least likely time for us to browse our favorite bookstores, gamestores and moviestores. We've been known to have soup on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day just because we either forgot to go shopping or just couldn't bear to stand in line with people buying tons of processed junkfood. See, I'm opinionated and not always very nice. Nevertheless, I do have hopes that the current mess can be ameliorated if not completely turned around since it seems to be a natural fact that if so many people in the country are aware of the illegality of the Iraq war and all its byproducts that perhaps something will change. It would be nice if television went away so people would talk to each other, wouldn't it?

So I'll go on posting when time and inclination permit. It's never likely to be a particularly focussed blog although the idea of doing one from the point of view of someone who has been kidnapped from a sane world and dropped off on Earth at this particular time is appealing.

Stay well, everybody.