Monday, December 31, 2012

Out With The Old - In With The New

Out with the old and in with the new year. Another year has gone by and again it is difficult to believe that 365 days have gone by so fast. The drawing above is from several years ago. I did this drawing on the back of an envelope with a ballpoint pen. Just playing around with shapes and this is what I came up with. So, let me try and take this sketch apart for new year's eve: the numbers on the left, 1,2 & 3 and the mask to the right could be arranged to form 2013, if you use your imagination. Art for some of us is our imagination. It is not just what is in front of us, but what doesn't even exist. The cigar is a nice smoke, and represents the celebration of welcoming in the new year, but also remembering the year that just passed. So, now we have a story to go along with the drawing.  Let 2013 be a Healthy, Happy & Creative New Year for you all!

Monday, December 24, 2012


Christmas Eve 1965 (Korean Style)

Christmas eve 1965, I spent in a tent in Korea right up there near the DMZ, and close enough that I could hear the North Koreans play their music on big speakers for all of us GIs to hear.  It wasn't Christmas music they were playing, so I had little interesting in listening to their folk music at night, but if you listened you could hear it. Fortunately, no one was shooting at us that year, as many many soldiers in Vietnam were being shot at. We had a big party in the mess tent I remember and even the Brigadier General came to our Xmas party.  Back then there were no women in the Imjun Scout Training Camp, as I said this was 1965. We listened to Xmas music and ate and smoked and talked to each other about what we might be doing if we were back home in the states. All in all, it wasn't that bad.

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to everyone!  It is nice to be in a warm house instead of a tent on a hill in Korea this Xmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

We Have A Problem & We Need A Solution

When I was in the U.S. Army 47 years ago, I had the opportunity to go through some pretty decent training.  In one exercise we were given several pieces of equipment, and a job of getting an object from one place to another with the equipment provided and a team of men, where I was the leader. Some of the equipment had nothing to do with solving the problem at hand, and it was important for me as the team leader to recognize this right away because there was a time limit that I had to complete the task. Sizing up a situation that requires thinking, whether the job is mechanical or otherwise, is good training as life is very much like that. There was no blue or red ideas out there that summer day, nor were there liberal or conservative ideas laying on the ground for me to pick from.  The only idea that I needed to come up with was the right idea for moving a large object with a team of men over an obstacle in a limited amount of time.

Protecting children in schools has nothing to do with protecting people at shopping malls or theaters. Children must go to school by law, and therefore the government owes the parents of those children the protection necessary to ensure the safety of those children.

Schools traditionally are a soft target, but in our society today that has to change. In fact, it is faster and easier to make a soft target and hard target, than to get guns off the streets and change the 2nd Amendment. Putting guns in schools with trained personnel and/ or teachers is something that can be done fast. In first aid, the first thing is stop the bleeding and our schools are bleeding, and it needs to stop.

I don't care if my ideas are accepted by the right or the left, my ideas come from a place that is concerned with solving problems.  I don't give a f**k about ideology! Protecting children's lives in school is the problem and it should be everyone's concern.  Our children's safety is an issue of national security to my way of thinking.

By the way, I did successful move that object from one side of a barrier to the other in the time required for those who are interested.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gunplay USA 2012

I am up late tonight reading about the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  20 first graders gunned down by one sick young man has been on my mind most of the last 2 days.  We in the United States have some very bad characteristics in our culture, and I am afraid it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I haven't written anything on my blog about this, but I have given it some thought.  Gun laws are not the answer alone, it is just a piece of the equation. Movies, TV shows, computer games and even our language ("gunplay") need to be examined as a source of teaching violence as a way of life. Guns are portrayed so often as the answer, the solution, the hero's way of solving problems.  These problems do not exist in other countries to the degree we have it here in the USA. And, finally, the safety nets of a caring society are not there. It does take a village to raise a member of society. Those who mock that are ignorant of what it means to live in a healthy society. Mental health has to be more comprehensive and available.  We need to care more about each other.  A culture of "I" needs to be replaced by a culture of "we" and "us".  I don't want to think about the families that lost a child Friday in Newtown, CT. The pain is too much to comprehend. Their lives have been changed forever. I wish I could see something positive come out of this madness.  We aren't the best country in the world. We can chant USA until the cows come home, but that will not make us better. The death of 28 people say differently.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Christmas Card 2012

This linoleum block was made in 1996, the first year I was living and working in Columbus, Ohio for the OBWC.  I have decided to do another block print project for later and went looking for my cutting tools, and when I found the box they were in, I got energized to make a few Christmas card prints.  This is a home made card using just some sketch paper.  I made a few of these to practice my printing as it has been a few years since I made them in '96.  The background is Golden paint's liquid gold paint and the print is an oil base red ink by Speedball.

Some of you may wonder, why was this old Jewish man making Christmas cards in 1996?  Well, my wife celebrated Christmas, and so I got to go along for the ride too.  I even put up the tree and hung the lights on the tree and decorated the tree.  I wrapped gifts and drove the car to her parents' house on Christmas day. Perhaps if we all helped each other celebrate each other's holidays we could all get along a little better as the mystery of each other's holidays would be removed. Most people are trying to get to the same place, we are just taking different roads to get there.  Merry Christmas & Happy Hannukkah to all!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving 2012!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Altarpiece No. 3 - A Work In Progress

Altarpiece No. 3 is less than 17 inches in height and about 9 inches wide.  I am in the photo this time to give some indication of scale. The materials at this point are: half inch birch plywood good both sides, pine molding and popular held together by wood glue and a few nails. the 2 doors are attached with small brass hinges, a pair on each door.  The wood is then coated with gesso and painted with GOLDEN liquid acrylic paint in red oxide and then metallic gold. Oh, I forgot to mention that I sand after each coat of the gesso and try to build a nice undercoat to which I apply the red oxide and then the metallic gold.  I am now working with a nail and nail set to decorate the center panel and inside of both doors.  When I can get back to work on this project, I will be developing the patterns which I will trace onto the center panel and the 2 doors.  Then I will apply the acrylic paint. Yes, this will be a piece of political satire.  No, it is not for any ecclesiastical purpose; however, if anyone wants to worship my creativity, they are free to do so.

Altarpiece No. 3, by F.D. Zigler, in progress 11/17/2012.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Obama 44 Stamp" painting by F.D. Zigler

Obama 44 Stamp by F.D. Zigler, acrylic on MDO plywood, 27 1/2" x 19 1/2" in black wood frame $2,012.00 delivered in USA. Foreign shipping to be determined by cost. Anyone interested in purchasing this painting, can contact the artist directly at

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Barack Obama: He Has My Vote!

Why is it that when white people vote for a white person it is not for racial reasons if he is running against a person of color, but if  black people vote for a black man who is running against a white man, their decision is purely based on race?

In my 70 years, I have seen much, I have read a fair amount of history and I have experienced a few things.

My country has a lot of good people.  They come in ever shape, size and color, and I have had the opportunity to get to talk with and know many of them.  I also know that most people have not had the opportunity to meet, work with or get to know people of color, that are very bright, creative and talented that live and work in these United States.  I am not talking about actors or singers.  I am talking about people of color in the business community.

Why do I bring this up and mention this?  Because Barack Obama is not that different from the many talented people, men and women, that I have worked with and known during my career working with some of the biggest investment firms in the country.  I don't need to see his college records from Columbia or Harvard law School.  He isn't that different from the many people of color I have worked with that have multiple degrees from some of the best universities and colleges in the country.

For those that don't know it, there is an African-American intelligentsia in the United States. Barack Obama is just one of thousands of people of color that are high achievers in their chosen field of endeavor.

So when people that should know better, like John Sununu make cheap racists remarks about Colin Powell, you have to wonder, what are they afraid of?

I am voting for Barack Obama.  I don't think my endorsement will help persuade anyone to vote for him, but I like what he stands for.

After taking over the presidency at one of the worst possible times in our nations economic history, I think President Obama is deserving of another 4 years.  I hope he gets re-elected. He has my vote.

Monday, October 15, 2012


This is the poster for the exhibition this weekend in Lake Orion, Michigan.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Just The Tip of The Iceberg: 2012

For me the presidency is just the tip of the iceberg.  I am more concerned with the level playing field and the political party and their people that work to make a more level playing field a reality for more people, not fewer people.

I have been around now for 70 years. I have read a fair amount of political history.  I have observed over many years, and at times, I have even been a part of it all. I have been a liberal for a long time. I am not a communist; however, I recognize that even in a capitalist economic system that there are some things that are better handled by something called socialism.

Money as we know it, is only one aspect of wealth. Wealth encompasses so much more. Yet, the ability to raise money for political purposes, drives a great deal of what gets translated into economic policy. This I saw up close.  It is not something I read about; it is something I observed first hand. And, I know my party, the Democrat party takes money from the same people that gives money to the Republican party.  Buying influence is what campaign contributions is all about.

But, the economic philosophy of trickle-down-economics is not a philosophy I believe in, and nor do many wealthy people that I have known in my years of working with investment securities and some very large investment portfolios.  I have had discussions with millionaires and billionaires that line up with my philosophy of government and a desire, while not perfect, to see that those peoples that are not millionaires and billionaires have an opportunity to advance their station in life.  The Republican party in my opinion does not make an effort to do this, and furthermore, only moves to the left at election time in an effort to win elections, but not to help and protect those most in need.

The people that are the most vulnerable are the people that need government policies that help them. The very wealthy do not need government policies to make them even wealthier. I vote for the ideal of a more equitable society, and an equitable society helps those most in need of help not those that least need help.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Paintings From 2009 Revisited

These 2 paintings were inspired by magazine covers and are in acrylics on plywood that is coated with a paper surface and then gessoed. They measure 27 1/2" x 19 1/2" framed.

Vanity Fair 42 Stamp by F. D. Zigler, 2009.

Obama 44 Stamp by F.D. Zigler, 2009.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

9-11: My Thoughts 11 Years Later

Tomorrow marks the eleventh year to the day of September 11, 2001.  I remember the day quite well as many of you.  I was in Washington, D.C. on business attending the annual meeting of a private equity fund headquartered there that our State Insurance Fund had invested.  As was my habit, I had gotten up at my usual time that Tuesday morning, and after getting dressed, had gone downstairs into the basement of the Hotel where I was staying and in which the annual meeting was taking place to have a cup of coffee and a breakfast roll.  I sat with a few men that were attending the meeting  and just talking casually with a retired Secretary of Defense, who was having his morning coffee too. This was the last day of the annual meeting.  A little while later that morning, I entered the large hall in the basement where the meeting was taking place and took a seat just behind the last row of tables and chairs that had a wider aisle so people could walk through.  I liked having a little more room to stretch my feet. There I took my seat and placed The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal over my lap to read. At 8am, the usual introductions were made and the meeting began.  After a couple of speakers, the meeting to a break so the late arrivals could get something to eat outside the meeting hall at a long table filled with an assortment of breakfast foods.  Since I had already had my coffee, I stayed in my seat and started to read The Wall Street Journal.  I hadn't got very fair when the two huge screens behind the podium lit up and I looked up.  On the screen was New York City with a view of lower Manhattan.  I remember how blue the sky was except for the black smoke that was coming from one of the World Trade Towers. The man on the TV said they thought a small plane had crashed into the tower, but no one knew how big a plane.  Then I watched as a large jet came into the picture and banked and slammed into the other tower. Someone had declared war on the United States. People started coming back into the large hall and took seats or stood and watched the screen. Then the location switched to the Pentagon where another plane had hit.  Now this was very close to where we were. Three planes and then talk of a fourth plane headed for D.C.  A few minutes later, it was announced that the annual meeting was over.  Later lunch was served next door at the athletic club and the room was filled with people talking.  After lunch, I walked outside to get some fresh air and found groups of soldiers parked in vehicles on every corner.  D.C. was on alert.  There was no way to leave D.C. as all air travel was grounded.  All except for those Saudi nationals that were permitted to leave the country. To this day, I wonder why the United States Government had to let those Saudi nationals leave so soon. Shouldn't they have been held for questioning? 15 of the 19 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia! How could 15 Saudis pull off such a terrorist attack without some help or aid from inside the United States? It is 11 years later and there are still no answers to why they had to be sent home so fast, and why they were never questioned by the FBI. What was so special about President George W. Bush and those Saudi nationals that the FBI was not given the opportunity to talk with them?  Some day perhaps we will find out.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Little Advice To the DNC for 9/4 - 9/6/2012

I watched several hours of the RNC this past week.  The Republican Party is not my philosophical partner politically, and yet I wanted to hear what they had to say.  Perhaps they do have some new ideas. Perhaps they might say something that I can connect with.  The so called facts of several of the speeches I listened to this past week were filled with events that were not stated correctly. But, their convention is over, and the Democrat National Convention will begin this coming week, and I intend to watch their convention too.
My one piece of advice to all the speakers at the DNC is to check your speeches for errors and make sure that you can footnote every fact.  When copies of the speeches are passed out to the press and the TV media, the footnotes with sources should be listed and numbered at the end of each speech.  People do not want to listen to BS, whether it is coming from people you love or people you dislike. Do not insult the intelligence of the viewer of your political convention by making errors in dates that events took place. Be careful that you speak the truth and make sure that you can substantiate what you are saying with reliable sources for your information.  It is not necessary to stretch the truth, a little understatement, in my opinion, is a lot more effective.

And, finally be civil.  I don't care to see gross behavior by either delegates on the floor or the people at the podium.  If you feel like fighting, fight with the strength of your ideas. I don't know how many of my suggestions will be followed, but if I were in charge, this is the way I would want the DNC to conduct their business.

Flag by F.D. Zigler, acrylic on paper envelope.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Art Exhibit in 2 Months: More Info To Follow

I am getting ready for an Art Show the third weekend of October, 2012 in Michigan.  The last time I was in a solo art show where I was one of the featured artists was May, 1992.  That was the first time I exhibited my work to the public. Now 20 years later, I am going to have an opportunity to show my work again.  It is my hope to put together a list of all the pieces I will be taking to this show in Michigan, and that the list will include the title, size, medium and price of each piece.  A few people have expressed an interest in buying my artwork.  I will try to post a photo of each piece, that will be in the exhibit in October, on my blog before the opening of the show so that individuals interested in purchasing a piece will have an opportunity to do so. (I will simply exhibit any artwork purchased before the show with a red dot.) My artwork will range in size and materials.  From wood pieces large and small that I have designed and constructed to pieces painted on envelopes that I have referred to as The Envelope Collection. Today is the third weekend of August, so, the show is roughly 2 months away. If anyone is interested in purchasing a piece of my political satire artwork, I hope you will contact me either on my blog, Facebook or by email. Thank you.  

Level Playing Field Out The Window by F.D. Zigler, acrylic on paper envelope.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Is For Art: Altarpiece No. 2

Altarpiece No. 2 is almost completed.  Perhaps I can work on a few small details, or throw it against the wall to season it a bit. Either way, this is pretty much how it is going to appear when finished. There are things about this piece that I really like, and there are pieces of it I would have liked to have done a better job with.  I love the shape of the piece as I got my inspiration from an altarpiece in the Detroit Institute of Art. Now that I got that shape out of my system, I can move on to other things. The altarpiece is constructed of birch half inch plywood and popular with pine moldings and painted in acrylics.

Altarpiece No. 2 by F.D. Zigler, 2012.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday Is For Art: 2 Small Wood Icons

Here are 2 small wood pieces that I made from some leftover wood.  The 2 Icons measure around 12.5 by 9.5 inches and are painted in acrylic. I like the one on the right best.  See, sometimes I like things right of center.

Mother & Child: An American Icon and Level Playing Field With butterfly by F.D. Zigler, July, 2012.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

President Baruch Shalom Obama?

Hating people is back in vogue!  Perhaps, hating people never went out of vogue.  I am to the age that I would have to stop and think about who I hate, or, if I even hate anyone.  I hate intolerance and cruelty, and monsters in the human form that have no respect for human life.

There are a lot of people that hate President Obama in the USA.  Several people say they dislike him because of his policies and his political ideology.  That is fair as we don't expect people like people who we disagree, or do we?  I don't like people that have a political ideology that fosters intolerance, cruelty and lies.

Since so much has been made of Obama's place of birth, his father's religion, his upbringing and his education, I have wondered: what would have been said about a President Obama had his father been from Ethiopia instead of Kenya, and his father had been a black Jew instead of a Muslim? (There are black Jews in Ethiopia and they have lived there for a thousand years or more.) Ethiopia borders next to Kenya's northern border.

What if Obama's first name had been Baruch instead of Barak? What if his middle name had been Shalom* instead of Hussein?  If his name had been Baruch Shalom Obama would he have been portrayed as a Jew if he claimed to be a Christian? How many people would have accepted his Christianity, or, would people say he is a Jew?  Would they claim that his policies have made him the worst U.S. President towards Israel?

Would people question his admission into Columbia or Harvard Law School.  There are lots of Jews that have attended Columbia and Harvard Law School?  Would people question how he earned his money?  Jews are known for knowing how to make a living and taking care of their families.

What other things would be said about a President Baruch Shalom Obama?  I can only wonder?

* Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, middle name is Shalom.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Just Flies: Where Did It Go?

July has to be the fastest month of the year.  At least for me it is because July seems to fly by like a week or less. I can't remember much about July 2012 except the Cincy T-shirt Festival which was last Friday.  I haven't been drawing or painting much this past month, but I do remember going swimming at the Y several times to cool off. Now it is the last day of July 2012, and I guess it is time to get back to work on several pieces started or prepared to start.  Here is a wood piece that I took a break from that I am going to get back to work on.  Altarpiece No. 2 is a small wood piece that I am having a little fun with and that is not finished. Hopefully, I will get to work on it this coming month as it is a rather small case that still needs lots of work.

Here are 2 wood surfaces that I hope to paint later that I put together from smaller pieces of wood that were leftovers.  I never know what gems might come out of just playing and having fun with pieces of wood. Anyone care to make a suggestion what I might paint on the 2 pieces below.

The summer flies by much too fast, so enjoy it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Car Insurance v. Healthcare Insurance

I agree that if the private sector can do the job then the public (government) sector does not need to get involved.

Let us take automobile (car) insurance for example.  If you watch just a little bit of TV, you see a plethora of car insurance commercials. Why is that? Why is the government not involved in car insurance other than stating that you must have liability insurance just in case to run into another car and injury someone in the car or standing nearby on the street?  I think the answer is because there is competition throughout the country when it comes to car insurance.  Have you ever counted how many different insurance companies are offering car insurance on TV?

Now let us take a look at healthcare insurance.  The Congress has given healthcare insurance companies a virtual monopoly within states so that there isn't really any competition like with car insurance. The healthcare insurance companies were able to manipulate the laws so that they could maximize profits and not maximize coverage of individuals and families.

While the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly known as Obamacare, may not be perfect. The insurance companies did not ingratiate themselves with the people by canceling policies when people got sick, or, not giving coverage for the so-called preexisting condition, or keeping children on the family's healthcare insurance until age 26.

I think it is safe to say that healthcare insurance companies used a variety of strategies to payout less for healthcare while at the same time charging the insured with higher premiums nearly every year.  Insurance company personnel receiving bonuses based on the number of people denied treatment for serious conditions is no way to run a healthcare system, in my opinion.

So now we have Obamacare. Well, many more people will be insured and once families get to know what benefits they will have because of it, I think more people will like it.  I did not say everyone will like it, as I am sure the presidents of the large healthcare insurance companies will never like it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

IBM and the Holocaust - A Book That Needs To Be Read

For the last several weeks, I have been working my way through a book that has opened up a  piece of Holocaust history that I was totally unaware.  I have mentioned this book before, and I will mention it again and again, because it has importance as a historical record of past events, but also because it is relevant to the present and the future, in my opinion.

IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black (2001) is a long book filled with details about one of America's most powerful corporations in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and right up to the present day. What they did, or what one man, Thomas J. Watson, Sr., did to make vast amounts of money is a story that needs to be told and retold.  Making money is not a crime, but making money while others die and suffer is another story.  IBM played a very significant role in the Jewish Holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s. There is no way that they can say they were unaware of what their machines were doing as it related to the destruction of European Jewry.

That the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum does not sell this book in their gift shop at the museum is only a temporary situation.  As soon as I finish this book, my next action will be to write to the executive director of the museum and state why IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black needs to be on their shelves. A museum dedicated to telling the whole truth can not selectively decide that this book should not be seen and read.

Monday, July 2, 2012

4th of July is Coming

July 2nd, just a couple of days until The Northside 4th of July Parade at noon down Hamilton Avenue. I missed it last year as I was laid up from surgery on my left leg.  I tore the muscle away from the tendon and had to have surgery to repair my leg.  (Dr. David Argo and the people at Beacon did a great job putting me back together.)  This year I plan to be out there in my folding chair watching the ladies with the folding lawn chairs do their thing along with the rest of those in the parade. Over the years Northside has become more conservative in its parade antics, but there once was a time when the people in the parade really pushed the envelope. Not so anymore, Northside is now middle-class.

So, after all the fighting about issues that concern us all, perhaps we can all take one day to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

4th of July, collage w/ acrylic paint on envelope, by F.D. Zigler.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court & Obamacare

The decision Thursday by the United States Supreme Court and the reaction by several governors over the health care act known as Obamacare, reminds me of an earlier time in American History, but a time I was around to experience and remember.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education (Topeka) declared that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students was unconstitutional.  This case overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) which allowed state sponsored segregation.

In 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out his states' National Guard to block black students' entry to Little Rock Central High School. President Eisenhower responded by deploying elements of the 101st Airborne Division and federalized Faubus' National Guard. Over 40 years later, I met one of the Little Rock Seven, Ernest Green, who had become an executive in the securities industry.

In 1963, I watched on live TV as Alabama Governor George Wallace personally blocked the door at the University of Alabama to prevent the enrollment of 2 black students.  Wallace, an ardent segregationist, had been known to repeat his mantra "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" several times for the TV audience. Wallace moved aside when confronted by General Graham and Nicholas Katzenbach, Asst. Attorney General. General Graham of the Alabama National Guard was ordered by President Kennedy to intervene and moved Governor Wallace to make history.

All Southern States required segregation by law and it would be many years before the fighting over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 1954 was fully implemented.

Now we have many of the governors of these same states fighting the implementation of the health care act as it relates to Medicaid. They are going to opt out of that part which would help the poorest citizens of their state. The south is still fighting the federal government, and I wonder how much of this fight is also tied to race?

Well, that is my opinion, and I am sure you have yours.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Nation's Strength: The Health Of Its People

There is a lot of discussion these days about socialism, and just what is socialism.  I am not going to attempt to define socialism, but I am going to give my view on what some may think is socialism.

Years ago, when I was in the U.S. Army, the question was put to us during training: what weapon took the longest to produce.  The answer is 18 years and it is the soldier. Yes, the person, in those days it was only men in combat, and you needed to be at least 18 years old, or, 17 with a parent or guardian's signature to enlist.

The health of the nation was dependent upon a healthy fighting force.  There were no drones in those days that I know of.  So, in essence, our national security is tied to the fact that there will be enough healthy 18 year old men and women that can serve in the military.

If military spending and modern weapon systems are necessary for the security of the country, then how far behind that is the health of future soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and coast guard sailors?

I think that the health of our country depends on a healthy military, and a healthy military depends upon healthy future men and women who can serve.  Then, is not the health of our people not directly tied to the national security of our country? And, if that is true, then should not health care be an issue of National Security?

Some people may say I am a socialist for thinking that health care should be a right of all citizens because our nation's strength is in the final analysis dependent on the health of its people. A healthy people makes for a healthy country.  That is my opinion.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Altarpiece No. 2: Getting Back To Work

I am back from my little trip to Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C.  I had a great time with family and friends.  Now it is time to get back to work on Altarpiece No.2.  The above photo is where I left my work in progress when I took off a week ago Friday.

I love to drive. For the most part, there were no problems except for a stretch of about 6 to 7 miles where traffic got backed up on I-70 westbound just after entering Ohio.  Why the Ohio Department of Transportation did not reroute traffic along eastbound I-70 (sharing the road), I don't know.  I guess the geniuses in Columbus decided it was cheaper to let hundreds of cars and trucks sit in traffic for an hour and a half or more, rather than spend a little money to do the reroute as it is done in so many other states.  Maintaining the highways is important, but moving traffic during the summer months is equally as important.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Today I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D. C. It was a beautiful day, but I had decided that on this trip east I would make a special trip down to Washington to visit this museum.  For the last few weeks I have been reading a book titled IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black, 2001. I have written a few of my remarks about this book in the post just before this one.

I liked what I saw, and I looked at everything including a special exhibit on the lower level called "State of Deception - The Power of Nazi Propaganda".  Like permanent exhibits this too was very well presented with photos, videos and enough written information to fill a book.

The architecture of the interior of the museum was not lost on me.  I am old enough and I have seen enough photos of the Holocaust to know what the architects were trying to achieve.  In my opinion, they were very successful.  I wonder if the younger generations realize why the architects used red brick, steel, glass and wood in the interior construction.  The feel of the place took me back in time to Germany in the 1930s.

One more thing.  This is just my opinion, but after viewing all of the exhibits, I personally don't think children younger than 12 years old should be taken to this museum.  Yes, I know there are many children visiting the museum with their parents and club leaders and school groups, but this museum packs a punch, and I am not sure young children are ready to absorb that punch. Naturally, children that are gifted or more mature than their contemporaries might be able to handle what they see at a younger age.

This museum packs a powerful message. A message not just about the past, but about the present and the future of humankind.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

IBM and the Holocaust - A Most Unsettling Book

For the last several days I have been reading IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black, 2001.

The parts in the book about what the Nazis did to the Jews and other peoples that the Nazis saw as undesirables is not new to me.  Over the years, I have read several books, each dealing with a piece of the bigger story about the Jews, the gypsies and others that the Nazis deemed unworthy of life itself.  In 1968, I visited the Dachau concentration camp memorial outside of Munich.  So, I have seen and walked the grounds of a piece of history as well as read about what took place in Germany between 1933 and the end of WWII in 1945. This part of 20th century European history I am very familiar, but what I did not know was the role IBM played in the effectiveness and efficiency of the Third Reich's war against the Jews!

Reading the pages of this book, and then thinking about what took place and how a large American corporation, IBM, and its leader, Thomas J. Watson, were able to turn a blind eye to what was happening to the Jews in Germany for the sake of profit is a story I knew nothing about until now.  This is not a simple story of greed.  This is a story of power and greed on steroids.

It causes me to ask the question: If people will do what IBM did to make Nazi Germany IBM's second biggest client next to the U.S. government, what would people do today for power and money?  I don't intend to answer this question as I think each of us needs to give that question some thought for ourselves.   I can tell you this, I am concerned with the role money plays in politics.  I am concerned with people that would destroy the civil rights of others that do not look like them.  Corporations today have huge amounts of financial resources to lobby governments. What unlimited financial resource lobbying does to a society and the civil rights of its citizens remains to be seen. What will that next chapter look like?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ride Cincinnati: My 6th Year

This was my 6th year to participate in Ride Cincinnati, the fund raiser to raise money for breast cancer research at the Barrett Cancer Center of the University of Cincinnati.  This photo of is taken before the ride with my trusty bicycle.  This morning was a nice day for a bike ride, as there appeared to be about 2,000 riders out on the road.  I rode my 26 miles and now I am going to take a nap.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Altarpiece No. 2 - a work in progress

I have given the piece a coat of acrylic red oxide and then a first coat of acrylic metallic gold. Next is the drawings and then paint.  There is no deadline for this piece this year.  I hope to take my time and have some fun doing it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Altarpiece No. 2 - The Primer Phase

This is a progress update on Altarpiece No. 2.  I have covered the piece with white latex primer, and still doing a little sanding before I will start the drawing phase where I place my images on the inside of the 2 doors and the inside of the case.  I am still working on what exactly I will be placing on all 3 interior surfaces.  The treatment of the outside of the 2 doors I am still undecided. It takes time for my ideas to simmer before full reduction takes place.  I love the shape of the piece with the doors open.  I received my inspiration for Altarpiece No. 2 a few years ago on a visit to the Detroit Institute of Art.  The height is 28 inches and width with the doors closed is 20 inches.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Altarpiece No. 2 In Progress

Here are a few photos of my latest art project, Altarpiece No. 2.  I am using popular and 1/2" birch plywood.  There is more woodworking to do on the case and the 2 doors.  I haven't decided what additions I would like to make before the latex primer coat.