Saturday, November 26, 2011
This is a photo I took in San Francisco in September 2009. Someday I might try to paint this photo, but for now I have other ideas that I would rather give a shot. Don't forget about my SKI CINCINNATI t-shirts and hoodies that are for sale around Cincinnati as they make nice inexpensive gifts for young and old. Check out my earlier posts where SKI CINCINNATI apparel can be purchased. Also, if you are interested in buying a piece of original art, there is the Collector's Art Group gallery at 225 East 6th Street in downtown Cincinnati on the 2nd floor. I have a few small pieces hanging up down there.
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Friday, November 25, 2011
To say that I am not happy with what passes as political debate in our country is an understatement. Each of us that does not have the millions of dollars to throw at our politicians to get the tax breaks like the upper one tenth of one percent, are feeling pretty helpless. Yes, we can vote, but what are our choices?
Even President Obama knows that he needs money from the big givers to win re-election, and that means Wall Street money is a must to win. So, given that even the most liberal man in the race takes huge contributions from Wall Street bankers, where does this leave the rest of us? Occupying Wall Street is a cry for help and nothing much more. People with no money can't bring about change when corporate money can drown out any appeal to fairness like in the level playing field.
So, what do we do? I am going to vote for Obama again even though I know I am not happy with his willingness to cater to the fat cats on Wall Street and the money they contribute to his re-election.
Perhaps after the GOP loses in 2012, the country can get moving again. Their platform is beat Obama in 2012 and make him a one term president. What kind of platform is that? Well, it isn't going to happen! The GOP does not have a candidate that can beat Obama now or in November 2012. What the GOP has displayed in the many TV debates is a party that is dysfunctional. And, it is my opinion that their many debates have only shown just how dysfunctional the GOP today is.
Change does not come about easily because those that pay for the tune don't give up their place in line when favorable treatment is handed out. Personally, I would like to see financial reform happen and be enforced, but with Wall Street paying for the tune, those changes are not going to happen right away.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
I have 3 new paintings for sale at Collector's Art Group, 225 East 6th Street, Cincinnati, OH on the 2nd floor. They are in acrylic on canvas board and were painted in 2011. These pieces are rather small in size. They will be in the Holiday Art Show.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I just want to wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. This has been a difficult year for many Americans. The sad part of this difficult year is that the difficulties they have faced in some cases came at no fault of their own. Yes, they were victims of a system that in essence cut their legs out from under them. Not all of us are smart and wealthy, some of us just have a job and try to keep a roof over our head and food on the kitchen table for our families. So this year, when you sit down to your Thanksgiving feast, take a second to remember that there are many less fortunate and that the playing field in this country is less than level for many that don't have the smarts to rise above and become part of the one percent or even the top two percent. For those greedy bastards that caused the financial crisis and walked away untouched and unmoved, I hope you choke.
Sunflowers in Vase by F.D. Zigler, Great American Artist, now on sale at Collector's Art Group along with others great paintings by F.D. Zigler.
Monday, November 21, 2011
I wish I could offer something positive about the events unfolding in Europe and here in the United States as it pertains to governments dealing with their debts. I am not going to pretend to know a lot about what is happening in Europe, but it is quite obvious that getting one country, Greece, to do what is right by other European countries is not so easy and may not happen. Who should get the blame for Greece's problems? The people? The politicians? Goldman Sachs and the politicians that put them in the situation they find themselves? The bigger problem is that Greece's problems are now Europe's problem, and Europe's problems are our problem in the United States because all of our economies are connected. Forget for a moment that our Congress can't agree on how to trim the deficit and reduce the debt. Europe's problems are more than Europe's problem.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
This little butterfly (top) came out of playing with a few different shapes for a Butterfly Flag. The original idea and design goes back to the mid 1990s when I made and gave a paper sculpture of the butterfly flag for a fund raiser at the Carnegie Arts Center. I even put one on a t-shirt. I wore my butterfly design t-shirt and I still do, but I guess not too many men would wear a butterfly on the front of their t-shirt. One of my favorite books is titled Papillon and was even made into a movie in 1973. Steve McQueen played the part of Henri Charriere, who at the age of 17 was convicted of murder in France and sent to the French Penal Colony known as Devil's Island. Charriere got the nickname Papillon because of the butterfly tattoo on his chest. Since his death in 1973, there has been much debate about whether all of the escape attempts were by Charriere or were stories he heard while on Devil's Island. Either way, the butterfly represents to me freedom, just as a butterfly is free to travel. The Monarch butterfly migrates between Mexico and the United States without a green card or passport, but please do not infer that I support illegal immigration. As the grandson of four Russian Jewish grandparents, I feel very fortunate to have been born here, and with my passport and a few dollars I can leave and come back like the Monarch butterfly.
Everyone have a nice and safe weekend, and visit an art museum.
Top: Butterfly Flag by F.D. Zigler, acrylic on carboard, 2011.
Bottom: Butterfly Flag on t-shirt by F.D. Zigler, mid 1990s.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Almost 50 years ago I studied American Diplomatic History at the University of Cincinnati. And, right after I graduated in 1964, President Johnson, after his election in November, 1964, took the war in Vietnam to a new level. Before January 1965, the troops in Vietnam were called advisers. I was in basic training when word came out that President Johnson was going to send the 157Th Airborne Brigade to Vietnam as a combat unit. Then U.S. Army sent the 1st Cavalry as an air-mobile division and the bigger war was on. I remember that I read anything I could get my hands on about the fighting in Vietnam and guerrilla warfare. There were even a few books that came out about fighting in Vietnam in the mid 1960s, and I read those too. A lot of good men died fighting in Vietnam and to this day I don't believe our fighting there had anything to do with the National Security of the United States. There were scholars on the history of Vietnam that said the Vietnamese in the North hated the Chinese probably more than they hated the Americans, but our government went ahead and committed men and money at a perceived problem that in reality never existed. I know those are pretty harsh words to say. In 1964, I thought that we could win in Vietnam. I even volunteered to serve there, but the army in their infinite wisdom sent me to Korea.
Today the world is fighting a very different kind of threat. It is not a war in the conventional sense where two great armies meet on a battlefield. The world is the battlefield and their are no great armies. The new "war" is terror, and that is going to be the most difficult kind of war to fight. If we stop terrorist attacks 99 times, but fail to stop them on the 100th time, we lose. This is a type of war that is going to require the very best we have. Foreign aid and building relationships is just a piece of the puzzle to keep us safe. We will win the war on terror by being smarter, not by being louder.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Ski Cincinnati apparel is back for the winter and ski season!
Aquarius Star Cafe on Ludlow Avenue, Clifton Business District across from Graeter's
Benchmark Outfitter on 9525 Kenwood Rd. in Blue Ash, OH
Cincinnati Museum Center gift shop at Union Terminal in Cincinnati
Contemporary Arts Center gift shop at 6th & Walnut Sts. in Cincinnati
Joseph-Beth Bookstore in the Rookwood Pavilion off Edwards Rd at 2692 Madison Rd in Cincinnati
We thank you for your support of our products.
Creative Director of Ski Cincinnati
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I don't remember whether I posted these three watercolor paintings before, but if I have, they are worth seeing again. It is nice that I can use my father's art work to cover for me when I don't have any of my own new artwork to post. I don't think my father would mind sharing my blog with me. While I am not as accomplished a painter as he was, I nevertheless put an honest effort to create a piece that might cause people to stop, consider and think about what moved me to paint that picture. As someone who has enjoyed studying history, I have always been interested in the ways we express ourselves outside of the written word. Art and music are just two forms that come to mind that speaks to the human condition without using a spoken language.
Everyone have a safe and happy weekend.
Friday, November 11, 2011
I know some people are making a lot of the date today. While it is only November 11, 2011, the numerical date can be written 11/11/11. Six ones! What is so special about that? Next year we will have December 12, 2012 and that numerical date will be written 12/12/12.
I remember sitting in 7th grade math and the teacher Mister Freese said today is 5/5/55, and the next time this will happen will be 6/6/66. So, when 6/6/66 came around, I thought of my old math teacher and track coach Ollie Freese. I was in Korea on June 6, 1966 working at 8th Army Headquarters, and I was probably reading The Stars & Stripes newspaper. I will not bore you with where I was on 7/7/77, or 8/8/88, or 9/9/99, but if you ask me where I was I can tell you where I was working then.
You see people that work with bonds have a thing for remembering dates. A bond and a bond transaction has several dates. First, there is the Trade Date, then there is the Settlement Date, next there is the Maturity Date of the bond and Dated Date of the bond. After that there is the First Interest Payment Date, and then there might even be a Call Date that the bond can be called before its maturity date.
But the important thing to remember is that today is Veteran's Day! Take a moment to remember all those men and women that served our country in uniform, and be appreciative that they did!
American Flag Makes The Scene by F.D. Zigler, oil and enamel on board.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore is a film everyone should see and think about. Much of it was not new to me as I know about much of what is covered in the movie. I spent a number of years working with investment securities, traders, and portfolio managers for equities foreign and domestic, fixed income, hedge funds and private equity funds. I have followed the ups and downs of the markets and interest rates for many years. Michael Moore is entertaining and at times even funny, but the message he is trying to get across is very serious.
Everyone wants to be a winner. No one enters the markets to lose money. But, winning all the time is almost impossible. What some people have tried to do to win all the time is modify the rules or flat out cheat. The Federal Government was lobbied hard to modify the securities laws that helped our country avoid a serious financial crisis since the Great Depression. Laws were written in the 1930s to create the Securities & Exchange Commission and in 1940 the Investment Act to deal with mutual funds. Over the next 70 or so years Wall Street bankers have lobbied Congress that the old laws were no longer needed. Several members of Congress bought their story and even some took money and went to work for the banks after leaving government.
Those that did not try to change the laws that governed banking and the securities industry decided to cheat. Cheating by insider trading was just one of several ways that the cheaters cheated. Ponzi funds, like Bernie Madoff, was another form of cheating. Then there were those less understood methods such as "buying" a credit rating that was clearing not deserved. There are other ways to cheat, but they are too complicated to explain for our purposes here today, but they exist.
There is way too much closeness between the bankers on Wall Street and the people in the Federal Government that are charged with protecting investors, both institutional and individual, from fraud in the securities industry. Something needs to be done to correct this problem that clearly exists. But, nothing will be done until enough people understand that they have been cheated. There are those that cheated by going outside the laws and there are those that "cheated" by changing the laws that protected investors for over 70 years. Nothing is going to be changed by either Democrats or Republicans until the public understands that the Wall Street game has been rigged and not in their favor.
Level Playing Field Out The Window by F.D. Zigler, acrylics on paper envelope. This piece of political satire is framed and for sale for $850.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Remember to vote!
As a citizen, it is your responsibility to vote. Naturally, I hope you vote the way I vote. As I am a flaming Liberal and believe in trying to create a level playing field for all people, I vote . I believe in capitalism, but I don't support crony capitalism. I believe that government has a role to play to prevent unscrupulous people from selling products or services that are harmful or injurious to adults and children. I support people's right to bargain collectively. I believe that women have the right to decide what happens to their bodies and that it is between them and their doctor, and it is not any business of the federal government. I believe that all children should have an opportunity for health care and a good education so they can grow up to be strong good citizens and productive adults that help our society strive for a better life for all.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Beware of Greece accepting a gift? Yes, beware of the Greek Prime Minister accepting a deal from France and Germany and then going home and asking for a vote on the deal that was agreed upon.
I don't know anything about the politics of Greece, but I do understand a little bit about bonds and debt service. The deal that was offered to Greece was a 50% "haircut" that those holding Greek bonds would take in exchange for Greece receiving financial assistance. There is a difference between finance, paying off your debts, and politics which is an entirely different ball game.
This latest move by the Prime Minister of Greece has created a great deal of uncertainty at a time when uncertainty is the last thing the world capital markets need. Capital markets around the world are going to suffer because of the vote purposed by the Prime Minister of Greece.
I sure hope that the vote can be done quickly and that the Greek people will accept the bailout. There are other weak countries hanging in the balance, and the last thing the world economy needs is a collapse of the capital markets.
I find it interesting how one relatively small country can cause so much damage to the world's economy and world confidence in the capital markets. I think someone needs to build a better financial system. The Euro is not working if Greece can take down not just Greece, but several other European countries as well. Cheating in any system of currencies will eventually fail. The Euro is about ready to go down for the count.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
It has been learned that the Somali Pirates have been hired to replace Goldman Sachs as underwriters of Greece's next debt issue. Greece is still under considerable pressure to find a way out of its huge debt service on outstanding Greek Bonds, and has decided to take a new course of action. Details have not been announced by the Greek government or the Somali Pirates as to how this will work, but at this point any ship in the sea is worth a look. No word from GS on how they are taking the news about being replaced by pirates.