Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Is For Art: 5 Photos From The Summer of 1964

This morning I am going to put up 5 photos from the summer of 1964. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati on a Sunday, I started to hitch-hike to New Orleans on Monday to begin my summer of freedom and fun. I signed on to work on a Norwegian freighter, S/S Lionne, and left the U.S. for the first time. My first port was Maracaibo, Venezuela. These pictures were taken in Santa Marta, Columbia.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We Don't Need Air Traffic Controllers!

In fact, why bother having air traffic controllers as they just sit on their asses all day telling planes when to land and take off. If someone is smart enough to be a jet pilot, then they should know when to land or take off without being told by someone sitting in a control tower at some airport. Hell, didn't that pilot land that plane in the Hudson River and he didn't need permission to land or an air traffic controller to tell him what runway to land on

The above I wrote tongue in cheek in January. Yesterday, an American Airlines jet landed in Washington, D.C. without contact with the tower and an air traffic controller. Who says we are not downsizing the Federal Government? If they can land in D.C. without an air traffic controller, they can land anywhere without air traffic controllers. We need to find ways to do more with less, and air traffic controllers can be just the beginning.

Stay tuned tower.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Is For Art: The Fiddler by Simeon Zigler (1911-69)

Later this summer, I hope to put on an exhibition of my fathers drawings and paintings to celebrate his 100th birthday. Si never had a solo show of his art, but now with a facility to be announced later, the art show that I have thought about doing for some 40 years will happen. Many of his best works are already framed and ready to be exhibited, but there are a number of pieces that still need to be framed or reframed. I am selling prints of his watercolor painting he called The Fiddler for $79 unframed and $199 framed with a dark reddish wood molding from Suider's Art Store (see photo above). Prices include shipping. If anyone is interested in owning this print on quality paper that measures 19"x13", please contact me at Thank you for your support.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The S.E.C. - Hold Their Feet To The Fire!

When you read an article like this one about the credit rating agencies, you can not help but feel that the Federal Government is broken. Even after the passage by our Congress of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation,our own Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) is short circuiting the intent of the new law. The SEC is protecting less than one tenth of one percent of the population and in effect telling the remaining 99.99% of the American people to go to hell.

What is this all about? The Congress, in their newly passed financial reform legislation provided that the credit rating agencies have their feet held to the fire. In other words, they would have liability for the credit ratings that they passed out to mortgage-backed bonds issues as well as any other bond issue that they gave a credit rating. The credit rating agencies defended themselves after the mortgage-backed bond market meltdown and the financial crisis that followed by saying their credit ratings were protected by the First Amendment - free speech. If you hire expensive enough attorneys, they will argue that anything that comes out of your body is protected by the First Amendment.

So, what did the SEC do? The SEC in their wisdom suspended the liability portion for the credit rating agencies so they now can not be sued for their credit ratings on mortgage-backed bonds. Not only did the SEC give them one get out of jail free pass, but now they have taken the date off the pass and it is now good indefinitely.

Who benefits? The credit rating agencies, the big ones, benefit from this ruling by the SEC, but most importantly, the investment bankers that put the bond issues together really benefit because now they can turn the money faucet back on. Unfortunately, the system is back to square one in my opinion. The credit ratings given by the credit rating agencies are back to being meaningless again. So, this is what Washington calls progress and change you can believe in?

It is times likes these that I think a wise king is the best form of government, but unfortunately there is no guarantee that his or her successor will be as wise. Every Attorney General in all 50 states should be outraged at this conduct by the SEC. Every state sponsored pension fund, and there are hundreds of them, representing public workers like state employees, teachers, school employees, police and fire fighters stand to lose because of the actions of the SEC. Who does the SEC represent? The few credit rating agencies and their owners? The investment bankers on Wall Street that securitize loans and make them into bond issues? Or, should they represent the 99.9999% of the American people?

I keep coming back to this basic question: For whose benefit is financial reform written? It is the same question I have repeatedly asked of the bigger picture: For whose benefit is monetary policy made? One of these days, enough people will realize what is going on and people in positions of authority are going to have their feet held to the fire. But, unfortunately, in my opinion, it will not be soon enough!!!

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011 & What's on My Mind

I haven't written anything about the economy for some time as I have been painting and working on my Ski Cincinnati business. Politics appears to me to be still pretty crazy with so much fiction being floated as fact, and perhaps a little bit by both the left and the right. But, one thing is pretty clear to me, what America calls "the middle-class" is not and has not been doing as well as it had been doing 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Yes, many of us have laptop computers and HDTVs, but many of us took a huge pounding when the financial crisis hit, and still more families lost their homes.

Perhaps the struggle that is going on in several states will result in the middle-class coming together and understanding on what side their bread is buttered. We can only hope, but when a group of people go through tough times together they build a common bond much like a team builds a bond after going through harsh obstacles.

Besides painting and working on Ski Cincinnati t-shirts, hats and now mugs, I have added one more new project for 2011. On June 30, 2011, my father would have been 100 years old had he lived. Since his death in 1969, I have wanted to hold an exhibition of his art work. It now appears that we have a partner in this endeavor, and we will be able to celebrate his life and his art work with an art show this year. The details of which have yet to be worked out, so, there is nothing to announce as yet. However, as soon as there is a date and a time set for Si Zigler's art show, I will certainly post all of the information. In the meantime, I will be working with certain individuals to review, sort and select pieces for the show. I am looking forward to putting together this art show as I think people will enjoy seeing the many different types of art work Si Zigler created.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Altarpiece: 3/1/11

Yes, I am still working on The Altarpiece, but it will not take me 10 years like the Ghent Altarpiece took the Van Eyck brothers. I enjoy taking my time and savoring the good time I am having with my project. The Pope can wait until I am done before he starts finding fault with it. What is this? The simple answer is: it is mother and child: level playing field out the window. If you want a more detailed explanation, you have to ask questions. Then, if I can answer them I will write more. The work is not finished, The case painting is not finished. The 2 doors are not finished. I work slow and I take my time and every now and then, I stop to smell the flowers.

Stay tuned.