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!