Thursday, June 30, 2005


an oil painting i did, maybe it was the third one i've ever painted and yes, i messed with it a bit after scanning so i guess now it's a polymorphic multi-graffiti.

i've been looking at my fellow ashevillians blogs and i have to admit i feel a little remiss in not keeping up and posting my take on the cultural/ political scene. they are a smart energetic bunch. take a look: BlogAsheville

but i've got nothing to say about the disaster, the long emergency. live by PR, die by PR. the brand is king, the logo is the sign, discourse has become talking points (you might blame that last one on powerpoint but i don't want to go there today).

the book club i belong to will next read don't think of an elephant by lakoff. looking through the table of contents it appears to me that this might be something we should all read: it is by a linguist and may explain a lot about how the post-modern persona that is evolving rapidly doesn't consciously feel the fear that living in a bandit kingdom should evoke.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


it's been raining and my phone went out yesterday. i won't go into the madness of trouble shooting etc, you've probably been there yourself. if i can post his - if you're reading it i can - then the only glitch left is that i can receive email but can't send it.

[much later] somedays the bits and bytes just don't play together well. here goes one more try.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005



today is my son and daughter's birthday. i love them both very much. and i almost remember taking this picture, basalt colorado, winter of...69?

i sent them some photos from that era, retouched beyond what i thought i could pull out of some very faded and scratched prints.



colored pencil done last week during visit down the mountain.

today i want to clarify more of the memes floating around concerning the war, the discontent, the frustration, and mostly the trance the usa collective mind set has demonstrated for awhile.

coup d'etat: looking backwards, the phrase brings up images of small groups of - usually - military seizing the govt. you know this image: they roll tanks in, capture the radio station, institute martial law, and wear ornate banana republic uniforms. soon people begin to disappear.

but what about a contemporary event in a first world country? in the miasma of branded culture, such a thing would be laughed out of existence. the thing to do would be to take over, say, the republican party. and by hook or crook or both get elected. present a harmless, inept doofus as el presidente. note that no military force is involved, and the change is "procedurally correct".

note also that one of the most advanced europeon countries in the 20th c. experieced such a deal. hitler did not steal the power to control germany. it was all - barely - legal. and then the first thing he did was to go after the judiciary.

i would hazard a guess that the german citizens then muttered about it, withdrew from any idea that something wasn't quite right, and did their best to keep living as they had before, waiting for it to go away.

maybe i live in a small world, but literally everyone i personally know seems to be in a similar state today. in my lifetime the electorate has gone from being "john q. public" - a little cartoon man with a globe for a head and a mustache - to a "consumer" to "the audience" or viewer.

we're uncomfortable with the situation, but comfortable with being uncomfortable. we're waiting for the national soap opera to surprise us. the next shoe to drop in the drama we are viewing from the living room.

Sunday, June 26, 2005



photo of melissa and brand new granddaughter natalie grace parsons. she was born about ten days earlier than expected, but is all there and more.

looks like i will spend the day fixing blogger so i can post without doing cartwheels around the mulberry bush i dread messing with it.

[i fixed it?]

don't know. but driving back yesterday i picked up WNCW - i can't pull it in at home - and heard the announcer mention clyde mattocks on dobro which tickled me. he's the other grandfather of the beautiful baby pictured above.

Country Standard Time: CD Bill Lyerly"Along with Lyerly's impressive guitar work the album is carried musically by Mattocks' stellar work on dobro, pedal steel, banjo and mandolin."

Saturday, June 25, 2005



just got back from chapel hill in a few pieces. natalie grace parsons is a very special little person everybody a-ok. pleasant interlude with jim and doug. did quite a few pencil drawings.

Friday, June 24, 2005


friday morning, i'm struggling with a laptop. one monumentally obvious design flaw:
they should either have illuminated keyboard or white keys with large black alphanumeric showing,

i'm at nicole's headed for eli & melissa's. heading back sat or sun. haven't established contact w/ jim or doug/ think folks are doing heavy duty online stuff.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005



from card i did for baby shower.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


new grandchild arrived yesterday. details sketchy but mother and new daughter doing fine. seven pounds, red hair. not totally clear on name at this point. congratulations to eli, melissa, and sister lily. i'll be leaving wed. morning to say hello to beautiful new person.

Monday, June 20, 2005


stayed home and worked all day yesterday, several cards and prints the result. at 4PM got out of the house and attended laurel's salon. great potluck.

tomorrow i will continue the list of words, memes, phrases the junta is so skillfully using to keep control of us all. "freedom of expression" might be a good one to look into.

but today i want to talk about my right hand which has become a real problem. i have a brace that i wear. immobilization seems to be the only cure. all agree to that. but i keep pushing it, not wearing the thing, and playing the piano or whatever to see if it's doable. it ain't.

but the last few days an interesting and possibly helpful change has bubbled up from somewhere. goes like this:

when i first started using a mouse way back when, i used my left hand. i write, draw and paint left-handed.

but in cubeland this became a problem. everybody's computer i would often have to use or fix was right-handed. eventually i decided to switch and have moused with my right hand for maybe 15 years.

so i'm going to switch again, back to my left hand. today. right now. i'll let you know how it goes, and no comments on emotional limbic dyslexia please.

Sunday, June 19, 2005



picture i made for my father's day card. taken from the front deck of his house in prescott az. on a clear day you can see the san francisco peaks, snowcapped most of the year.

as a father i can say this: everyday is father's day.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


yesterday i posted about the difference between the wars between nation states and today's war between a nation state and a noun ("terror"). wars change over time. for instance at the battle of waterloo in 1815, the europeans fought while the peasants continued their agricultural doings in the surrounding countryside.

my point is that the "war on terror" is terrible strategy because our side is still thinking nation against nation. obsolete. but the phrase is good PR, good enough to fool most of us most of the time.

there is a second confabulation that the republicans have been using a long time, even some of the "real" republicans and not just today's junta. it goes:

criticize war strategy and purpose
=holding the troops guilty

this one has been around since viet-nam and is a mind blower. how can a bunch of grunts be equated with power mongers in $2k suits who don't answer their own telephone. the troops are us.

to comment or critique the "war" in no way demeans the soldiers who are fighting it. my take on how this is perceived as true dates back to WWII and the subsequent trials where it was established that being ordered to be a criminal is not a legal defense. the republicans took it and ran with it during 'nam, setting up a "straw man" argument. you think the war is bad, check out the people fighting it.

it's like saying if you think there were shenanigans going on at Enron, you are attacking as guilty all of the worker-bees who lost their jobs and pensions.

Friday, June 17, 2005


on an extended media-fast, i am still picking up a hopeful slow shift in the feelings of the hoi polloi or joe six-pack concerning the junta in power.

maybe the downing street memo was the catalyst. i think that the real republicans, most of whom i have little in common with, have been feeling more and more uncomfortable as the invisible coup-d'etat the populace chose not to see has repeatedly outdone itself. note that i said "feeling", not realizing.

still, the stress we accept in day to day life has a lot to do with these feelings. and people are beginning to realize this.

so maybe the fundamental, basic underlying flaw in the "war against terror" is floating to the top of the noise.

it is simply this:

"terror" is a strategy of war, not an opponent. reminiscent of "war against drugs" or "war against fat", it is a war between a nation state with a government and military against a catch-phrase.

how does such a war end? do both parties meet and sign papers? is there an armistice? a parade down madison avenue?

or, like past "wars" against sin, or the wars in 1984, is it over only when the nation-state declares "terror" has been vanquished.

the mismatch between this kind of war and traditional war is in my humble opinion an anachronistic, obsolete response to 9/11. an example of the junta's finesse with language, but one that is slowly unraveling.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


one of those nice day's george and i were talking about the other week. it's 4 in the afternoon and i've been sitting here for most of the day. solved a few problems, that was fun. pushed a few projects a little further. when i finish typing this i will do what i've been putting off for a couple of weeks now and clean up the back room,

Wednesday, June 15, 2005



made this morning. dreamwindow i guess.

so far been playing catchup this morning, got 2 prints done, one left to finish tomorrow. oh yeah, put new strings on guitar.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005



today's picture started life as a pencil and piece of "empty" paper this morning.

highlight of yesterday was a chunk of time working on color landscape prints and then meeting doug at the reitzle's. absolutely beautiful day. we sat outside and did what we do, which included watching a fast dog.

Monday, June 13, 2005


pleasant & unusual sunday.

finished one print in the AM, am happy with it. have two more i' working on. a few days left to complete it.

doug b. dropped by on his way to and from his hideout in yazoo county. then ninian dropped by, heading to work mon morning down east from bluff mountain old timey music festival. as usual the high point of the day was conversation.

i may be wrong, but it seems to me that there is a narrow demographic out there (of which i am one) who because of historical reasons enjoy the rare afternoon of talking. this seems to link back to the bad old days of coffee houses and conversation as an art form, metaphysical and meaningful but without pulling the load of contemporary social stylistics, which all too often devolve into clicheland.

got a kick out of listening to bill hick's latest CD, especially enjoyed song including his helping kerouac pull car out of a ditch. we still remember that week, sort of. a story that reverberates in so many ways today it may be beyond telling.

didn't sleep much last night and "coast to coast" slithered in and out of my consciousness all night long. something i learned: phoenix is the hot spot today of the UFO contingent, largely because of last week's video of lights in the sky. they are expecting first contact anyday now, so to speak.
Amazing UFO Footage, Phoenix
"right in the sky above the mountain appeared a huge formation of lights... So we decided to stop and try to get them on video"

it's noon, gotta move on.

here is a site that i haven't gotten into much but promises a lot: live concert recordings offered with the musicians blessing:
Internet Archive: Live Music Archive

Sunday, June 12, 2005


spent the day yesterday.

and enjoyed it.

the morning was taken up talking on the fone to sister jane and dad. the afternoon on a couple of print projects. i was in extreme slow mode and it took me forever to fix a few simple glitches.

at 4 i was downtown sitting at a table with a group of bloggers from the paris of the south. sympatico bunch, various backgrounds and agendas. beautiful day, sitting outside, talking about this and that.
=====>"Blogs representing at the first ever Asheville Bloggers Summit":

these were the first folks i have ever met face to face that blogged. just that fact was a surprise to me when i realized it. some had started a blog with a goal in mind, some like myself just to see what would happen. quite a few with a political bent, not surprising in this age of the american oligarchy in full swing. i'll add links soon.

the idea of group blogs surfaced again and again, on which has always appealed to me. let a thousand flowers bloom. it's too much for one person to maintain a blog day after day. unless, like this one, you sit down and type off the top of your head. and it's so easy for it to degenerate on your own to self-indulgent self expression like the teen-age blogs ("mom was mean to me today").

one feeling i left with was how much i need to redesign this thing, it's a little bit stale and a shambles at present. of course i've felt this way for awhile. and of course i have quite a few improvements in mind that i might get to someday.

the main evolution of this blog has been away from commentary on the world and towards pictures. this co-evolved with learning watercolor, oils, pencil, and the scads of visuals that i continue to produce for fun. but the image archive is about 2 or 3 years out of date, which must mean i have put up maybe 400 pictures that cannot be found in the archives.

speaking of which i have 2 prints to do by the end of the day, starting pretty much from scratch. at 4 i'll be at unca where will david will have some sort of exhibit of his acrylics opening.

one note: the question i have raised in past posts of what "virtually pain-free" might mean came up in conversation. looking the word "virtual" up this morning, it sure enough is from the same root as "virtue" [ME. possesed of certain physical virtues. fr ML virtualis, fr L. virtu, strength, virtue] (1654). what's the connection between "goodness" and today's usage?

Thursday, June 9, 2005


amused muse
the muse needs amusing

slogged thru more photos for new life book since i last posted. meanwhile keep loading up the front room with piles of "stuff" and going thru it, tossing what i can. as jack says, i am "closing the house", getting ready to depart for parts unknown metaphorically speaking. new insulin pump delivered the other day, waiting for trainer to contact me so i can get into it.

don't have much to comment on today. missed my girlfriend stephanie miller's radio broadcast from aville the paris of the south this morning.

found cd at the library susanne mccorckle sings isiah berlin. sweet. also been listening to billy holiday's decca recordings. they were made late, strings and all.

most of the reading i've been doing is on color theory, so that shows you where my head is at.

the last room i have to evacuate is painting room, should be done soon and i can feel a head of steam building up to paint.

i guess i'll order sony dsc-v3 tomorrow. the g6 fiasco was the result, i think, of no time to figure out i needed USB driver for card reader.

i have a day tomorrow where i don't need to leave the house until 7PM and i'll probably be asleep by then.

i installed a whole bunch of VST filters in vision dsp pro and of course it broke most of the functions. i also installed a couple of standalone loopers. when you bring them up it looks like you're about to fly a 707. lot of complex screen real estate.

i've got new eyes. everything looks far away.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005



last watercolor i tossed off. this one looks a lot better than the original.

been awhile since i posted and that's probably the way it will be for awhile. no news is good news.

jim and isabell paid a visit. jim and i went on old folks hike saturday which was most pleasant. north slope trail of pisgah national forest. about 5 miles?

it was hot and humid but the trail was leafy and shady and a good walk. driving back we stopped at an ice cream shop where i got the first malted milk shake since i was a teen ager. as good as ever.

saturday night 5 of us went downtown and ate dinner in some upscale tapas bar. as usual i felt like an alien interloper amidst the luxury. but then we walked around town and i got a good whiff of asheville on a summer saturday night. lots of action, street musicians, jugglers, mimes, and young tourists. a theme park for the young. in bed by 10:30.

sunday i got a quick 30 minute walk up sunset mountain before the heat became intolerable. spent the rest of the day in house making order out of chaos. more of the same monday. worked on pictures for new life book. i now have a plan that will help us finish, hope jeff and nan will agree to it.

mon afternoon joined non-dual group for an hour and a half. i'm not sure what we are doing as a group but as always it was a welcome respite.

yesterday went to alexander method physical therapy. the object is to improve my balance which has become a problem.

a lot of time napping the last few days. not depressed, just feeling somehow weird, lack of focus and energy.

this is a state where i do best in a horizontal position semi-conscious. hope it goes away. but it's a good one to do the mundane, vacuuming, throwing away stuff, rearranging work areas, putting in air conditioners, sealing a windshield leak in truck, nothing even remotely transcendental.

one note of interest: friday night i went to bed early, the friday night jazz program playing softly in the background. i was pulled out of this state when i heard a woman singing "thanks for the memories". admittedly was in some kind of hypnogogic maze, but i have never heard anything like it. it was a devotional hymn to God from where i was. i got up and phoned the station to find out who it was, but got no answer. the announcer later let it be known it was Susannah McCorkle ~ Jazz-Pop Vocalist, a name i was unfamiliar with. absolutely magical.

Friday, June 3, 2005


got a phonecall from old friend ludie yesterday. it was good to hear from her and talk.

early this morning, still dark out, i was half listening to "coast-to-coast" on the AM dial. call in show from night people, lots of alien and other strange experiences. half asleep, i was listening to a guy relate a very strange experience he had with an electric light and a glass of water. he and the callers before him all seemed non-wacko, just plain old citizens of the 21st c. so many of their thoughts and stories i would have relegated to the wacko-bin not long ago, but i was thinking how they all seemed to be quite normal today.

the signal began to break up and fade to a quiet cacophony of voices from the airwaves, and i realized that it was early morning light outside. so many things change when light turns dark and vice versa.

so i got up to take antibiotic pill, meaning to return to bed. while i was in the bathroom i heard a very strange extended noise from somewhere, looked in the mirror and thought "!??!!#". then realized it was my kat who had just walked across computer keyboard and the sound i had heard was mac chimes booting up.

weirdness in the air everywhere.

last night i caught a bit on TV about new book arguing that kids today are becoming smarter and more capable by staying glued to video games. Books: Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter:
"Johnson shatters the conventional wisdom about pop culture as pabulum, showing how video games, television shows and movies have become increasingly complex."

then this morning's email pointed me in the direction of another book arguing that kids today were being stunted by lack of time spent just hanging out in the woods: Life | Do today's kids have "nature-deficit disorder"?:
"In his new book, 'Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder,' Louv argues that sensationalist media coverage and paranoid parents have literally 'scared children straight out of the woods and fields,' while promoting a litigious culture of fear that favors 'safe' regimented sports over imaginative play."

personally i think the first book is convincing in arguing that cyberkids will grow up to be more successful when it comes to sitting in a wired up cubicle. but the second book is talking about a much wider, bigger, and more important problem that affects us all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005


tip of the hat to tharpa who forwarded this timely piece...i don't know who wrote it, and i'm not going to think about it.

How my Thinking Got Out of Control

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone - "to relax," I told myself, but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid old friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau, and hang out with thinking buddies. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?" Things weren't going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Morris, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job." This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking, I'm hooked..." "I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious." "It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make much money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!" "That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with NPR on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors... they didn't open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous (TA) poster.

Which is why I am what I am today; a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I also avoid people who think. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking. Some people tell me that someday I'll be able, perhaps, to think again socially. I think not.