Rapt attention

Friday, November 28, 2008

pete townshend

now and then

Let's forget identity politics.

Ruben Navarette is upset that Obama passed over latino Bill Richardson for Secretary of State. I know Richardson, like Richardson and gave him money this cycle. But no way does he have the muscularity of Clinton in this position. I think Commerce will be a waste of his substantial skills but what do I know? Certainly Hillary has that Gravitas stuff everyone seems to be talking about.

Feminists are outraged that there aren't more woman in cabinet positions. Republicans are demanding GOP appointees, lest Obama fail to be post partisan in a way that their current leader never even considered . I haven't made a yid head count myself. Brennan was chased from the CIA spot because he wasn't liberal enough for the Daily Kos. Eric Holder is an African American attorney general in case anyone is keeping count.

Can we just give it all a break and let this guy put together his team, regardless of gender, creed, color, liberalism quotient and political favors owed? I think that it will be a good mix of highly competent public servants. Can we get beyond identity based scorecard politicking? It's time to grow up. No idiots, no bigots, just effective pragmatic human beings. That will work for me.

Questions, we got questions...

Kassam Missile Strikes, Jerusalem There have been reams of discussions and dissertations on why toast always lands butter side down. Why men have nipples. Why the grass is always greener, yawn, etc. (By the way, my friend Bruce wanted to know if you strapped the buttered toast on the back of a cat, would he still land feet first or would he or she be plunged into some weird black hole space time continuum. Please don't try it at home!)
Here's a couple things that I've been wondering about. When you're sitting in the bathtub, why does the water behind you get cold while the water in front of you stays hot? Even when there is space for the water to get by, the discrepancy seems too great to explain. Have any of the astronauts had sex yet in space? If I was in the space station, I think I would want to set that record very quickly. Zero G orgasms. Even if it was a solitary effort, plant that first flag on the moon. But space travel has become so matter of fact and ho hum, it would surprise me if this primal human urge had not yet been fulfilled. I don't think the NASA front desk will be very forthcoming with an information request on the subject. Why are razor blades so expensive? They can't cost that much to produce. Why is it cheaper to buy a new razor with a new cartridge or two than a replacement pack of cartridges? I always feel ripped off when I'm buying blades. I read a story about the fanatical muslim terrorists that were executed in Indonesia a few weeks ago. They expressed no remorse, only sorrow for any muslims that might have been killed. Now we have a new Muslim group wreaking their devastation and horror in Mumbai, India. They found an orthodox jewish community center to carry out their murder and dastardly attacks. Islamists have exported similar grief to synagogues in Argentina. Why target jews in India? I was reading the website for the National Lawyers Guild where they call for Israel to remove the blockade and hardships for the people in Gaza, who refuse to stop shooting katyusha and Kassam rockets into Israel. Various letters from Palestinians are routinely printed in the newspaper periodically about Israel's use of this "collective punishment." Similar sentiments have been expressed by a cavalcade of U.N. and Human Rights organizations. My question is why is Israel's self defense against missile attacks collective punishment when it is permissible for Islamic terrorists to kill jews anywhere in the world simply because they are jewish? Why the collective myopia from the world community? It seems to me that the Palestinian populace is shielding these unknown assailants at the same time that they are condemning Israel. Can you imagine the condemnation that would occur if jews killed muslims around the world in unprovoked attacks merely because they were muslim? Yet we have become inured to this behavior on the part of Islam. No other culture or creed has so much apparent disregard for harming innocent human life. I hope that they can ultimately join the human family.

In Praise of the Mighty Ornette

i just checked out this cd from the library, hadn't listened to it in a long time... back in the day, when i worked in a record store, this was the album i'd frequently put on at closing time, to drive the remaining customers out of the store (it usually worked)... i guess what i'm saying is that it's not everyone's taste-personally, i loved it, and still do...wielding his alto saxophone like a happy blow torch, Ornette Coleman was/is an original, and probably a genius, who went his own path in the jazz world; like Sun Ra, he was in his own orbit, and he's still out there... Coleman's music doesn't have a lot to do with harmony or chord changes, instead it's built around recurring melodic fragments or motifs... Song X was originally released in 1985; this is the remixed and remastered version, with added tracks... it was actually guitarist Pat Metheny's debut album for the Geffen Music label, and who better to bring on board than the OC-Pat's playing is brilliant on it as well, atypically hard-edged for him; rounding out the lineup are uberbassist Charlie Haden, Ornette's partner in crime from the beginning, and drummers Jack DeJohnette and (son)Denardo Coleman; the tunes were all written by Ornette... listen to it sometime if you're in the mood for something weird and wonderful; this one will stand the test of time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sam Maloof - National Treasure

One of the great joys in my life has been my good fortune in building friendships and relationships with talented artists, writers and craftsmen whose work I really admire. Allan Adler, Rick Griffin, Andy Powers, Roger Zelazny - I treasure my relationship with these people. Sometimes they happen to be fantastic human beings as well. Such is the case with Sam Maloof. (as well as those other guys!) A ninety something wonderkind, Sam is the greatest furniture maker in the world and pioneered his clean line look from scratch. An early associate of the great painter Millard Sheets, Sam has an incredible sense of style.  And he is the sweetest guy you would ever want to meet.  I have been fortunate enough to sell several of his pieces over the years and now have a gorgeous dining set in my gallery.

I had to deliver a painting to Rancho Cucamonga today and stopped by to see Sam, Bev, Roz and his longtime staff of compatriots, Larry, David and Mike. He is working on more new designs, a chase lounge amongst other things and his new museum facility is now finished. Incredibly awesome, if you are in the Alta Loma area you should make an appointment to see it on the periodic days he is open to the public.

We may be working out a trade for some stuff in fiddleback maple so I am super stoked. Here are a few pics from the day. It started off auspiciously with a full rainbow. Nice rainy day like we need out here.


William S. Burroughs - Thanksgiving Prayer

Art and History

I am an art dealer. I used to be a rich General Contractor/Real Estate Developer/Art Collector until a Los Angeles Billionaire seduced my father into selling him an apartment project we built and never paid us the twelve million he owed us. The deal was literally written on the back of a cocktail napkin. I went from the high life to the alms bowl in one dramatic swoop. Maybe the last chapter hasn't been written in the saga but that will be a tale for another day.

Anyway like many of us, there came a point in my life where I had to reinvent myself and I became an art dealer. A pretty good one, I might humbly submit. I primarily sell art created from 1890 to 1940, although there are occasional exceptions. I covet the great regionalists, Benton and Grant Wood, printmakers like Spruance, Martin Lewis and Kloss. Love the great Taos, California and Pennsylvania artists, as well. Garber, Kleitsch, Redmond, Redfield, Ufer. Rich for me would be rich enough to buy my own Edward Hopper, one of my absolute top favorites.

I really love great illustration. N.C. Wyeth is another one of the titans of painting. Pyle, Leyendecker, Cornwell, Rockwell, these guys had more talent in one finger than your Rothko or Stella could summon up in a lifetime. Give me a person who works every day for decades mastering a medium over a schmuck like Warhol or Haring or Leichtenstein who keep regurgitating some trite cartoon like idea again and again.

I love some of the great illustrators today that seem to have been forgotten or not given credit for their artistic chops. Matt Mahurin, Marshall Arisman, Robert Giusti, Brad Holland. Tremendous and brilliant, all.

I personally don't collect any more except for the work of my old friend and mentor Rick Griffin. A brilliant, revolutionary artist who purloined from the best of the illustrators and had absolute integrity and consistency in every brushstroke. I watched and worked along side Rick on many projects and he would give every job, no matter how small, the attention that Michelangelo might have bestowed on the Sistine Chapel. Frustrating at times, but utterly beguiling, he feared nothing and treaded where no man has ever dared to tread.

Modern Art is a scam. Rich sheep licking each other's arses. Damien Hirst is the current fraud of the month. Maybe god's way of extricating extra cash from fat bastard's wallets. Jeff Koons, Scharf, Pollock, the list stretches back a mile. I think Basquiat had real talent. I really like Serra. Lucien Freud. Richter. Thiebaud is a freaking god. But most of these guys are carney hucksters. In my opinion. When I was painting in college, we talked about getting anointed by the gay art mafia. Maybe that's not fair, it just always seemed that that was how the game was rigged. The stuff just seemed so snide and cynical and devoid of lasting beauty. And there are real guys out there who will unfortunately never crack the pink ceiling and never find an audience until they are long in the grave.

One day my brother and I stood in front of a broom that a janitor had mistakenly left against a wall at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla and I did a twenty minute riff on the piece's artistic sensibilities. The nearby docent was none too pleased.

My friend Denis, who is a collector from Oakland, has asked me to write more about art. I plan to start doing posts on current artists that I like. I have never used this website to promote my business and will not start now. But I would like to introduce some artists to you whose work I think is relevant.


I was tooling around the web universe yesterday through the Fallbrook Blogosphere portal and I ran across this woman's site - evidently from Florida.

She had just got back from a "praise circle" retreat with 10 women who she says were responsible for 16 abortions between them. They are now apparently doing some sort of human penance for their ungodly crimes. I wrote a very respectful comment that in these painful times, where so many children are abused and uncared for, their decision to abort or use contraception might have been the most responsible decision they had ever made.

Not twenty minutes later, my unholy posting had been excised from the blog which was assuredly bleached and scrubbed clean of my heretical presence. Kerry wrote me that it looked like it was I who had been aborted. I will continue to monitor.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blues Guitar 101

Gary Moore, Blues Boy King - Oh ya, Grumpy - don't bag on Gary Moore because he's white - he couldn't help it.

Monday, November 24, 2008


all pictures © 2008 Robert Sommers

RUFUS THOMAS - Walking the Dog

c. 1965

Oh the Irony...

I heard on NPR today that Christie's is having it's first punk rock memorabilia auction. Your chance to get John Lydon's safety pin or maybe Sid and Nancy's old works...
I have a few of these old handbills that I kept from the Skeleton Club in San Diego - saw the Alleycats and go-go's before they went commercial. Used to purloin lots of the visual art from the period, especially the San Francisco stuff.

I have a book that was put out in the early eighties' called Streetart that has all this cool Winston Tong and James Stark and Gary Panter punk art and the book said that this auction crap would happen one day, mockingly. And lo and behold, no future starts to appreciate, too, it's just too weird.  The aesthetic was cobbled together, irreverent and cobbled together but certainly anti-materialist and well, kinda nihilist.  The Smart Punks must have kept a few souvenirs so that they could speculate.

I guess we all cash it in sometime. Note - Still trying to find my Wendy O. Williams blow up figurine with chainsaw. Pathetic.

I just noticed that this is my 500th blog - what a watershed. Kind of crappy month for blogging - not really on my game. Thought about pulling the plug but what the hell would I do with my time? Thanks for sticking with it.


STEPPENWOLF - Sookie Sookie 1968

You asked for poorly recorded sixties music, and by god, we deliver. Bad lip synching to boot, but damn, that my friends, is an afro. John Kay was maybe the Canadian version of Jim Morrison, I saw Steppenwolf several times in my distant youth and always enjoyed them. Believe they came up with the phrase Heavy Metal (as in Heavy Metal thunder) originally. My friend Rick Griffin did a classic cover for their monster album from his epic work Man from Utopia. I have the original art seperation for the Utopia cover, but not the album cover.

Saw John Kay at street scene several years ago and he was grayer but the old wolf was still entertaining.  One of the guys like Orbison that everyone thought was blind because of the Ray Bans.

Sweet Cherry Wine

Click on the title link for a badly recorded but energetic version of Tommy James and the Shondells classic from a concert in Indio, California last month. 

 I think that the dulcet sounds and nice writing of Monsieur James are fantastic and under appreciated.  Nice to see he's still rocking.

Monday Meanderings

I think it's funny that we can spare 25 billion dollars for a no strings attached Citicorp bailout (with another 300 billion in loan guarantees) but not 25 billion for the auto industry. Yeah, flying in on their Gulfstreams was not a great p.r. move but frankly we may need a domestic auto industry someday and they really managed to help the country in World War II when they retooled and started building defense equipment. I read a good local letter by a longtime Ford designer yesterday. He pointed out that they didn't create the demand for big gas guzzlers, they were responding to the insatiable desires of the soccer moms and compensating short men for large SUV style machinery.

I have heard that the 75 dollar an hour average wage figure for the auto worker is a load of hooey as well, it's more like 28 dollars but will need to, as Reagan put it, verify. But I wonder if this resistance to a bailout isn't a way for the right to stick it to the unions as a final parting death blow? I personally hate Citicorp, they held a long time mortgage on my home and were simply detestable. Where are all the cries of socialism from the right now, with the government buying stakes in all these financial concerns?

I drove through the tony burg of Rancho Santa Fe all week on the way to the show and found myself wondering how many of these folks are cowering right now in some corner of their castles.  I imagine a lot of people thought that they had impenetrable teflon covers.  And they've now discovered that the hard rain has fallen.  I don't care how cush you think you've got it, we're all about 20 seconds and a well timed disaster from becoming utterly destitute and unmasked.
It looks like Obama turns out to be a real pragmatist after all, while Bush II became unmasked as the true ideologue. Gates, Scowcroft, Hagel, Leach, Geithner - the Republican names that are surfacing as potential cabinet members resonate as centrist professionals. He seems to be really rolling his sleeves up for the long fight ahead to bring our country back to solvency.

I really admire the Dalai Lama.  This week he once again preached the middle way and hoped openly for a path of conciliation with China.  I studied Mahayana Buddhism with a Tibetan Rinpoche, Kalu, for a short period in the seventies. The Dalai Lama is consistent in his message of peace and integrity through the end.  The Han Chinese look more and more brutal and repressive in their attempts to vanquish this beautiful culture.

I ended up kicking a little ass this weekend at the Antique Show I exhibited at.  I took the advice that I myself doled out to a friend last week.  I danced with the ones that got me here and gave great deals to loyal clients - made a fair profit and moved on, cutting my sticker prices but delivering a lot of value.  There is certainly a shakedown in my business and yours right now but if you treat people well they will remember and just might keep you alive someday.

I may not have mentioned this on the blog before but I am a long time cancer survivor.  I started peeing blood one day in 1985 and ended up having the majority of my left kidney removed due to a hellacious tumor. Then we found a multitude of tumors in my bladder and ureter.  I had at least four successive operations to remove them from what my urologist termed my "angry" bladder.  I was sign painting at the time and was exposed to a lot of toxic chemicals.  They called my type of bladder cancer "painter's cancer" and I have endeavored to limit my exposure to toxins in the last couple decades since.

I eventually became part of one of the first BCG study groups at UCSD.  I met Dr. Sheldon Hendler and started an experimental regimen.  I went to the Bio Med library at the University and researched every arcane study in the world.  Next stop was West Germany for Thymusin from 14 week old cows but we luckily found the right combinations. I went to Mexico and smuggled in a still banned drug I heard about, whose name somehow escapes me but something like isoprinosine. I started getting regular lymphocyte enumeration panels from Specialty Labs so that I could chart my own T-cell progress.  My counts went from the low hundreds to the thousands in a matter of months and I recovered.

Bacillus Calmette-Guérin is an inoculated tuberculin vaccine that has proven to awake the bodies immune system and fight cancer and it worked for me.  It seemed to do the trick and I have had no further problems these many years.  I try to talk to cancer patients when I can and give them the benefits of my little wisdom and experience.  One thing that I learned is that a cancer patient (or anyone seriously ill for that matter) makes up two lists, the people that should have been there and weren't and the wonderful people who showed up out of nowhere for you.  And I had to fire some people from my life.

And as most of you know, I had heart valve problems that required surgery two years ago as well atril fibrillation problems and fun things like Amorosos Fujax and a little pesky heart attack this year.  Things have been going along ok.

Until Saturday, when in the midst of the show, I started pissing buckets of blood.  Not just blood but thick obstructive clots and dried blood.  All day and all night.  Literally gallons, like I was shedding an organ or something. Didn't, couldn't sleep. I called my urologist and he thinks I may have some coumadin toxicity from the drug that's regulating my coagulation.  I have had occipital swelling and headaches all week, have an attractive green pallor and now a major pain in my left side.  I will be going in for a cystoscopy next week and have chosen to back off both the rat poison and the aspirin.  It is possible that long term coumadin use can affect the bladder lining - I have my fingers crossed.  

So this is more info than anyone needs but that's what I did on my weekend, made major ducats and pissed blood.  Hope that yours was swell as well.


Function at the Injunction


...interesting and thoughtful article in this past Saturday's North County Times regarding the pros and cons of a possible legal injunction here in Fallbrook to counter the perceived threat of our very own Latino gang (FVL i think they call themselves), estimated membership about 50...personally i find such a step troublesome, the prospect of racial profiling disturbs me... all in all i find Mr. Favela's arguments more compelling than Ms. Braendel's- better to find a way to get the hispanic community involved in solving the problem, along with the sheriffls dept, instead of the heavy handed injunction approach...better still, brush up on your high school Spanish and speak it with those who are still struggling with their English, a simple buenos dias, como esta? goes a long ways, they really appreciate it, don't be afraid to make mistakes- by combining the two languages, we can communicate...it's not us against them, it's all us, we're all in the same boat...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

One Hit Wonders

i got to thinking about "one hit wonders" today, songs by artists who never had another hit, of course there is a website devoted to this topic:


anyways i checked it out, under songs from the 60's quite a few i wasn't familiar with, here are the ones that stood out for me, though:

"I Remember You"/Frank Ifield/ 1962
"Everyone's Gone to the Moon"/Jonathan King/1965
"A Walk in the Black Forest"/ Horst Jankowski/1965
"Walkin' My Cat Named Dog"/ Norma Tanega/1966
"Let it Out(Let it All Hang Out)"/ The Hombres/1967
"MacArthur Park"/ Richard Harris/1968
"Harper Valley PTA"/ Jeannie C. Riley/1968
"Something In the Air"/ Thunderclap Newman/1969

Nina Simone

Surviving the Nuclear Winter

I am a sitting at the Del Mar Fair, trying to hook a bass or a trout. Or a customer, maybe. Times are bleak and I don't think I will make the booth rent. But many of my peers are in the same spot. And I got my wireless card this morning so I can write my blog. Can't be too far from the cyber tether, can we?

I have a business associate that is loading everything up on ebay buy it now for pennies on the dollar. I was making fun of his panic attack last week. Now I'm not sure if the choking sound won't soon be emanating from my own gullet.

I have been accused of not being a happy blogger and been implored to write more feel good stuff but think it will have to wait for another day.

Zounds - I just sold a painting, hot damn! Can't be depressed - gotta run...Blog will have to wait until another day.

i dreamed i saw cheap gasoline

click on this link, if you dare, it will take you to an online book by the name of Ten Thousand Dreams Interpreted, by one Gustavus Hindman Miller (i love this name), copyright 1931, wherein you can at long last unlock what those movies in your head are actually trying to tell you, example: under "gasoline" the author asserts that "to dream of gasoline denotes you have a competency coming to you through a struggling source" (huh?), similar entries can be found for "hemp seed", "tapeworm", "tarantula", and so on and so forth...thank you and good night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jorma Kaukonen, David Bromberg: I Am The Light Of This World

Great Rev. Gary Davis song.

Sommers Bible Study

I was writing the other day about judging others and recited some biblical verse I vaguely remembered about "coming as a witness and not as a judge" and Grumpy called me on it. Wasn't familiar with it but said that it might have been John the Baptist. I pulled the Ryrie Study Bible off the shelf and went hunting and guess what - it doesn't exist. Could not find any scripture even close. And I thought "but it sounded so damn good - gee maybe I have a talent for this" - swear I read it somewhere...

Anyway my fingers started wandering through the Colossians and John and in the natural right to left direction ended up in Leviticus or some such place and I read a passage where a biblical law is set forth that you can't grow two different kinds of seeds in a field. And I thought holy heck, not wanting to blaspheme in front of the good book, gardeners everywhere are screwed! And crop rotation has proven so good for the soil. Drat!

Then I read where you can't, according to biblical precepts, mix wool and linen in clothing and thought "there goes the garment industry, too".

I started reading about the kind of lawbreaking that could get you stoned and not in a good way, and thought "these damn hebrews sure are a bloodthirsty lot." And lets not even go into "spilling one's seed upon the ground" because if its punishable by death this earth is going to be one lonely place.

The rules are set forth thusly:

The Torah of the Jews, which is contained in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible and as such serves as a common religious reference, prescribes death by stoning for a long series of offenses, namely:

* Touching Mount Sinai while God was giving Moses the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:13)
* An ox that gores someone to death should be stoned (Exodus 21:28)
* Breaking the Shabbat (Numbers 15:32-36)
* Giving one's "seed" (presumably one's offspring) "to Molech" (Leviticus 20:2-5)
* Having a "familiar spirit" (or being a necromancer) or being a "wizard" (Lev. 20:27)
* Cursing God (Lev. 24:10-16)
* Engaging in idolatry (Deuteronomy 17:2-7) or seducing others to do so (Deut. 13:7-12)
* "Rebellion" against parents (Deut. 21,21)
* Getting married as though a virgin, when not a virgin (Deut. 22:13-21)
* Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman engaged to another man (both should be stoned, Deut. 22:23-24)


The Mishna gives the following list of persons who should be stoned (Sanhedrin Chapter 7, p. 53a [2])

* A man who has sexual intercourse with one of the following (see Lev. 20, which however does not specify the form of execution):

his mother
his father's wife
his daughter-in-law
another man
an animal ("bestiality")

* A woman who allows an animal to have sexual intercourse with her
* A blasphemer
* An idolater
* One who gives his seed to Molech
* A necromancer or wizard
* One who desecrates the sabbath
* One who curses his father and mother
* One who has sexual intercourse with a betrothed maiden
* One who incites or instigates (toward idolatry)
* A sorcerer
* A wayward and rebellious son

Some of the other rules with harsh punishment were also edifying. If your wife or girlfriend tries to help you in a fight, if you want to be old testament square, you must cut her hand off. Yes it will hurt, but take comfort in your obeisance to the almighty. There will be major points in the hereafter.

By the way, we know that eating shrimp and Oysters Rockefeller is forbidden, but did you know that eating locusts is not only permitted but an old testament delicacy. Yuck!

And don't let cattle graze with other kinds of cattle (Leviticus 19:19)

People who have flat noses, or are blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God (Leviticus 21:17-18)

Anyone who dreams or prophesizes anything that is against God, or anyone who tries to turn you from God, is to be put to death. (Deuteronomy 13:5)

If anyone, even your own family suggests worshipping another God, kill them. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)

If you find out a city worships a different god, destroy the city and kill all of it's inhabitants... even the animals. (Deuteronomy 13:12-15)

Kill anyone with a different religion. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7)

God commanded his people to observe three annual festivals — and they weren’t Easter, Labor Day and Christmas (Exodus 23:14). They were the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering (verses 15-16). He commanded all men to appear before him at a designated site in the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 16:16). He told his people to make shelters out of tree branches and live in them for a week (Leviticus 23:39-43).

Do not mate different kinds of animals. Now what kind of sickos started trying these experiments?

Anyway all I can say is it's a good thing that Jesus came along because these people were way too tough and put the capitol G in guilt.

I talked to my brother in Spokane yesterday and he said that I was starting to sound like a republican, which really does worry me, and that my blog was okay but a little too zionist. And I don't know where that came from. But I will surely watch both behavior patterns carefully in the future. And try not to judge. I'm slightly dyslexic, dog is my witness.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hot Tuna w/ Grace Slick - Third Week in the Chelsea

Back to School

I took an intaglio, aquatint class from my friend and printmaker N. Dixon Fish this weekend at the Fallbrook School of the Arts. This was a two day class, and my first one in a little over 25 years. I thought that it would be fun and it was and since I sell a lot of prints and especially like aquatints, it gave me a new understanding of my material.

The method I used for making the aquatint pictured above went something like this. I started with an image I took of the roofline of John Fillmore's house in Santa Fe. I made a drawing in reverse and then used carbon paper to transfer the image to a zinc plate. I selectively covered the white areas with asphaltum and used spray paint to cover other toned areas in various gradations. After each step, the plate went into a nitric acid bath and I swept the plate with a feather. I used an etching tool and added some engraving along the way. I inked the plate, rubbed it with a tarlatan cloth, polished with a page from the phone book and then pulled impressions on the press.

All went swimmingly along until the eighth pull, when something terribly wrong happened to the emulsion layer and I lost a lot of contrast and detail, depressingly. I am going to try again one of these days with a new plate. It will take a while to figure out the tricks and idiosyncrasies of the media.

My favorite aquatint artist are Charles "Chili" Capps, Gene Kloss and Doel Reed. I hope one day to discover their secrets for making such beautiful prints!

But it was fun while it lasted - and I humbly post a picture of one of the intermediate pulls.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hate the stupid.

Twenty thousand supporters of gay rights showed up in San Diego this weekend to march in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8. I was astounded by the number of people. I was not one of them. There has been a heavy backlash against the Catholic and Mormon Church for months for their support of the bill. Doug Manchester's Hyatt Hotel and Hoehn Motors in Carlsbad are two businesses that have been targeted for their principal's large donations to the campaign.

I personally think that all marriage should be illegal. It is statistically proven that it is the leading contributor to divorce. Or at least as John Cleese says, make it like a dog license, renewable every five years unless there are children around. It has certainly destroyed a lot of great relationships. I know that crane's mate for life but its a little tougher for homo sapiens.

The culture war is definitely back on and I would like to pull off a few scabs if I may. I was talking to a mormon friend the other day about the gay marriage thing and said that I didn't have a problem with it, why shouldn't they be as miserable as the rest of us, (it's a joke honey, okay)? We got through the bullshit and down to brass tacks and he said "Robert, do you know what those people do after dark?" Did I know about the tremendous violence inherent in gay relationships? No, I did not and I think frankly that it is a load of crap.  Promiscuous yes, violent no. I pointed out that the majority of pedophiliac incidents are opposite sex oriented and that most of my gay couple friends' relationships lasted longer or certainly as long as my straight couple friends. And the domestic violence statistics among heteros are nothing to crow about.

The interesting thing is that he wasn't against gay marriage, he was against gays themselves, and a behavior that he felt was abhorrent. Now there are many gay mormons, ex or current that would probably differ with his feelings but I think that they are widely prevalent. I find it interesting that when randy liberals stray it is most often with members of the opposite sex, when conservative congressman's peccadilloes are uncovered, it tends to be some torpid gay thing. Can you spell repression and denial? Proposition 8 passed because it's proponents superbly sold the case that elementary schools would be used as incubators in order to educate young children about the great joy of gay love.This false canard awoke terror in every homophobe's breast and doomed the opposition.

There are a bunch of anecdotal stories out about racial incidents popping up post election, mostly in the south. Still the same old south, except for Northern Virginia, which is now apparently, well, north. White people are worried that blacks will get uppity and lord over them now that they have the upper hand. And I'm thinking, you mean show the same behavior that you have shown them? Isn't payback a bitch?

Do you remember when Bush gave tax breaks to the racist Bob Jones University? This administration has helped perpetuate an environment where it was intolerant to hate intolerance. Where federal funds could be used by companies and creeds that practiced discrimination because of their religious beliefs. This will be a difficult web to untangle. But rest assured that if your company, church or synagogue helps foster hatred, it is my right to boycott and protest and I hope it hits you square in the wallet. You have a right to your beliefs, both personal and religious, as do I, but when they infringe on my space and we don't have an agreement, I would appreciate you taking them elsewhere.

So we are back to old paradigms, that stubbornly refuse to shift. But now an extremely intelligent uberblack president to give the thing a unique twist. Conservatives and Republicans will grit their teeth and wait for an opportunity to lash out for the first failure of the new administration and hope that they can reclaim their mantle on the next pendulum swing. We do not have the capacity to speak to each other civilly any longer, let alone have understanding or empathy for each other's positions.

I hope that Barack Hussein Obama is up to the task ahead because it is an extraordinary and difficult time and it is going to take an extraordinary leader to extricate us from our dilemma.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Taj Mahal - Corinna

Save Detroit?

I was a little amused reading the WSJ last night. Republican lawmakers are apparently ready to draw a fault line and not bail out the American Auto Industry. Now I have heard cogent arguments yea and nay on this and I don't actually have an opinion one way or the other. Yes, Detroit has buried it's head in the sand for the last thirty years, we have worsened the fuel efficiency and mpg of our cars, they build ugly, crappy product that doesn't seem to have the care and craftsmanship of their competitors. (I drive a Chrysler Town and Country by the way and it's just fine.)

Some democratic lawmakers want to save the U.S. auto industry because of the horrific effect on labor in MIchigan and elsewhere if it was to tank. I wonder if providing jobs for an industry that has shot itself in the foot so many times is smart or even "american". A part of me says die already, we don't dole out jobs and subsidies to keep people busy. Sink or swim. But a failure of the big three would be as least as catastrophic to our economy as a failure at AIG.

The thing that I think is funny about the whole thing, that as I stated previously, even amuses me, is that the conservatives can be so pious about not extending the bailouts. Hey memo guys, you're not virgins anymore, you can't stuff that genie back in the bottle. You gave a largely unsupervised gift to the banking industry but god forbid you should do anything for the american worker. Now that's socialism, isn't it?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ride Captain Ride (The Blues Image)

The Carpenters 1973 visit to the Nixon White House

Good clean American youth, not like that nasty Grace Slick*, trying to dose the White House punchbowl with LSD. Karen was a hell of a drummer - she could actually rip - Buddy Rich, no less, said that she was one of his favorite drummers. I think the prez had a slight buzz on.

*Slick and Tricia Nixon, former President Richard Nixon's daughter, are both alumni of Finch College. Grace was invited to a tea party for the alumni at the White House in 1969. She invited the political activist Abbie Hoffman to be her escort, and planned to spike President Richard Nixon's tea with LSD. The plan was thwarted when they were prevented from entering after being recognized by White House security personnel.

Nixon with Prescott Bush, W's quirky* grandpa.

* Quirky as in Hitler supporter who attempted to stage a coup here in World War II. See my April blog here.