Saturday, October 28, 2006


Y’know, even though this blog is titled “Ramblings from a Painter”, I haven’t written much about painting. Over the past few days, I’ve had some interesting conversations about painting with different people. Might be time to share the substance of them here.

A couple of years ago, I was asked, "What do you really want to do?" At the time, I had gotten very concerned with selling my paintings, and was painting pictures with only sales in mind. I wasn't at all happy with myself or the work, and they didn't sell worth a hoot anyway. Then, out of nowhere, came that question. It brought me up short and I thought about it for a long time. I finally realized that I had to tackle the issues most important in my life. All this occurred right after the 2004 elections. I decided to plumb my own feelings about the state of the country, and it led me to much stronger paintings. This year I've added a series on another subject that has affected me personally: war. And lately I'm beginning to see these two series start to merge.

These works (particularly the satirical ones) are often overt and didactic. I felt they had to be. Nothing like a sledgehammer between the eyeballs to get somebody's attention! They've proven to be attention-grabbers wherever they've been shown. But there are a lot of subtle details in them. I want people to get my idea immediately, but also be able to discover new things in them no matter how many times they look.

While sales would be nice, my goal for now is just to get them seen. That's proving to be difficult, since even most non-profits have an eye towards either sales or continued support from their major donors. I approached the local Democratic Party office to see if they'd be interested in using them in campaigns or fundraisers, but when I had to explain that the paintings were satire, I kinda lost all hope! But I'm keeping on with this theme. Don't know where it'll lead, but this is the kind of art I need to make.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rolling Stone on Congress

For a ripping, no-holds-barred review of Congress for the last six years, take a look at this article in the current issue of Rolling Stone, "Inside the Worst Congress Ever". And check to see if your congressman is on their list of the 10 Worst. Mine isn't, but he is on the list of the "20 Most Corrupt" prepared by the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

But hopefully that'll change with the election in two weeks!


It's been a while since I posted anything here. So much has been happening that I don't have much time to spend at the computer. Then when I do, there's too much to write about. It's the same way today. So I'll just bite off a small chunk and chew on it a while, and save the rest for later.

Much news about Iraq over the past few days. 60 Minutes had a report on corruption in the new Iraqi government. The Bush administration gave 'em $1.2 billion to buy equipment for the military. They spent $400 million on junk and siphoned $800 million to private bank accounts in Europe and elsewhere. CBS's intrepid reporter found one of the Iraqi officials living high on the hog in Paris. Yeah, that's just the sort of visionary leadership the world needs, huh? And that's YOUR tax dollars at work. We can't fund Katrina repairs, we can't fund schools, we can't fund health care for National Guard members mobilized for duty in Iraq, but Bush has no problem wasting $1.2 BILLION on his Iraq pipedream!

Meanwhile, George has been closeted with senior military officials. They're not using the term "stay the course" anymore ... seems they finally realized that the "dead-enders" who are "on their last legs" (remember those Cheneyisms?) have dragged Iraq into a full-blown civil war. (Okay, so Busy isn't acknowledging what the rest of the world knows, that it's already a full-blown civil war ... that would be bad for politics, what with the mid-term elections only two weeks away). Anyway, now Bush is starting to talk about "benchmarks" and turnover to the Iraqi government.

About time, I say. I've long felt that the two alternatives of the right and left were dead wrong. Bush wanted a blank check (literally) to maintain a policy that was obviously failing. The Democrats wanted a definitive pull-out date. Neither answered the real question, which is how to get Iraq to a stage where it can limp along on its own. Now they're finally getting to the right questions that they should've been debating a year ago, but it's probably too late. The questions have changed now. Iraq has a corrupt and incompetent government, a civil war raging between Shi'ites and Sunnis (and now beween Shi'ite and Shi'ite), no economy to speak of, and a growing influence from Iranian-style fundamentalism.

So George Bush has removed a thug from power and turned a repressed-but-functioning country into a cesspool. Way to go, George!

Sunday, October 01, 2006


In my note on Camp Democracy a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about talking with a guy who claimed that the government was controlling his thoughts through the chips implanted in the fillings in his teeth. Later, I shared this story in an email to a friend who works in one of the federal security agencies. He sent me his own story:

"I know you're not making it up. I've run into a few of those folks along the way as you can well imagine. One time I took a call from one of these guys, a regular who called our office several times a week. I asked him for his name and address. He didn't want to give it to me until I said, "How do I know whose chips to turn off if you won't tell me your name and address?" He thought about it, then told me. I told him we didn't need his devices any more, and I would turn them off as soon as we hung up. We never heard from him again!"