Posts from — June 2011
Recently I was talking to someone and the subject of marijuana came up. This person claimed that they didn’t rationalize marijuana as a drug. An old argument that I have heard ad nauseum, and I can empathise.
I support at least the de-criminalising of the weed. When you look at it, there are far worse drugs out here, creating far more damage than ganja… and some of these are legal. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and a host of prescription drugs.
The war on drugs has been a costly failure, filling the pockets of a chosen few while costing lives, wasting lives and filling the prisons with people who ought not be there.
Heck, the government could make a lot taxing ganja, and also save money by not putting some users in jail. I agree with all that. But it is foolish to deny that marijuana is a drug. It is a mind-altering substance and like most mind-altering substances, strong people don’t need it.
Of course I do drugs. I drink a little wine, rum, beer and a vodka shot every now and again. But the difference with what I do and the weed smoker, is that the cops ain’t gonna arrest me for sipping my hazelnut flavoured mocha cappuccino.
I might very well support the legalization of ganja, but don’t tell me now, or even when that happens, that marijuana isn’t a drug.
Memorial Day is Urban Week in South Beach. The last one a few weeks ago saw one major incident in which a black man was killed by the police. Remember that ‘urban’ is the code word for ‘nigger’.
Amongst other things, the Miami Beach police became a little ‘Francoist’ if you get my drift. They seized several cameras, harassed anyone seen with a camera phone, even the legitimate media, and essentially anyone whose skin was darker than JLo.
So. I saw a story on a local station by this local ‘bigwig journalist’. And he was doing a story which essentially was “Do we really need Urban Week?”. This was of course to be balanced with a perfunctory ‘investigation’ of the police action. It was such a sickening performance of journalism, he could have just have added, ‘As if anyone cares what happens to these monkeys’.
He never questioned any answer the police chief made, even wit obvious gaping holes in what the police chief said. Obviously, a pact was made, ‘We’ll just go through the motions to satisfy a minority that we hate”.
Which by the way is the feeling of many in South Beach. The shooting incident was just one incident of one man amongst over 200,000 visitors. Yet again, it is painted as if every African American in South Beach was part of a violent mob. Now I’m not saying that everyone against urban week is racist, but I know that a lot of the opposition is driven by race.
But just a moment my friend, this is where good ol’ capitalism trumps even racism. Urban Week increases visitors to Miami by over 300,000 annually. 300,000. That’s a lot of moolah pouring in to the clubs, restaurants and hotels. So guess which will win out in the end… the racist feelings of the residents, or the greedy wallets of the businessmen. I just love when 2 dinosaurs fight.
By the way, mucho violence interrupted after Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins. The violence was far beyond what happened down thar in Miami Beach. I guess the fans must be ‘urban’, or perhaps because they are Canadians their race don’t count.
In order to attempt to legitimise slavery, backward-facing ‘historians’ are making a big case out of ‘blacks defending the south during the uncivil war’. I have no doubt that some did. Did some even fight as soldiers? Perhaps, perhaps as bait and fodder. And guess what, when someone in blue is shooting at me because I‘m wearing grey, hell yes I’m gonna shoot back.
But one cannot use the extremes or the exceptions to create a rule or write history. It would be a lie to say that no black supported slavery. But black support would be an exception, and even an early example of the ‘stockholm syndrome’. It happens.
But did blacks in any large numbers endorse their own slavery? Hell no! Slavery is evil. Accept the misdeeds of your ancestors and get over it.
For some time American gays have been following the exploits of a blogger ‘Gay girl in Damascus’, who not only chronicled her ‘gayness’, but her role in events happening in Syria. Then it was rumoured that she had been kidnapped by the Syrian government for anti-government activism. Many major media followed her.
As it turned out, this lesbian blogger, wasn’t gay, wasn’t Syrian, wasn’t living in Damascus, and wasn’t even a girl… but a white American hetero-male living in Scotland. It soon turned out that one of those investigating the identity of the ‘Gay Girl’, Paula Brooks, editor of a lesbian new site called LezGetReal.com, was in fact a white 58 year old American heterosexual man.
Now a rash of heterosexual men posing as and giving opinions as lesbians are being ‘outed’.
Now I understand the motivation, trying to bring the issues of gays to the forefront. But hey, many of the best writers are gay. They don’t need a hetero to write about their issues, especially when those issues eventually prove false.
Now every real lesbian website is suspect, and the gay agenda will be set back a step or two, not advanced. Want to do something. Step out as a heterosexual person and state your position. This subterfuge does no one well.
Several weeks ago when I was talking to someone who had fears about gas prices reaching $5 a gallon by summer, I told them that it wouldn’t happen. That was just part of the media/political campaign to add to the steady diet of fear cloaking the American people.
It was obvious. OPEC had already announced that there was a glut of oil in the marketplace. And it was already reported that the increased prices were due to speculation in the American stock market. And any media person should know this. Even when prices started to fall, they kept pushing the sad-ass line.
Why? Fear is a good way to keep people unfocussed, confused and in check. Unfortunately, gas prices soon will move back up a bit. But certainly not to the fear-mongering figures of $5 a gallon.
Collecting Art is itself an art form. Living with art is not just about style but also a reflection of how you see yourself, how you feel about the world and its rich cultural history. There are several ‘accepted’ ways to collect art.
One is for investment. This is where you buy a piece hoping that it will appreciate in price depending on the artist or swings in the market. The thing is that many people end up buying pieces that they don’t really like but to which they are steered to on the belief that it will turn out to be a good investment.
But it is vile to try to live with a piece that you don’t really feel attached to, that doesn’t really appeal to you, because someday it might be worth ‘something’.
A second method is to buy decorative art. Many times people buy art (and ‘art’) to fit in with their décor. Most of the furniture is red so they buy art that has red as a distinctive color. You have seen it. The thing is the art itself is not distinctive, tends to look like it’s off some production line in Shanghai, and not much of a conversation piece… unless you think you can carry a conversation starting with ‘Oh that, I bought it for $19.99 on sale at Wal-Mart’.
And when you want to get rid of your red sofa… oops!
There is a third avenue, and that is starting a meaningful collection. Now you think that that means expense. Well, it certainly will be more expensive than Wal-Mart or Walgreens. But it will carry a much higher form of uniqueness and validity. You will only purchase it if you like it. And you will have a true conversation starter. And it will have a longer shelf life of enjoyment. And there is the possibility, that because the artist is legitimate, it could very well appreciate in the future… but that wasn’t why you bought it in the first place… that’s only the gravy.
Next time we look at how to buy art.
June 17, 2011 No Comments
I’m back. I guess I could hype and say “I’mmmm baaaaack!”. But no, I left quietly and without fanfare and will return the same way. So why did I stop blogging in the first place?
After a while, it seemed so useless… rant after rant without anything changing. Not that I expected to change the world… and I do know that I did reach people. In fact, I’ve had almost 13,000 comments. Unfortunately most of those were after I stopped blogging and in the technical world, those comments are called ‘spam’. Ouch. Yep, I have been spammed.
When the floodgates of spam opened, that just sapped my remaining energy. Imagine trying to delete over 700 spam a week, trying to separate trash from real comments. It was overwhelming.
But enough of that. Over the period of rest, I decided to re-formulate this blog and it will be a process of evolution. I will still blog serious stuff, but the blogs will be shorter and likely more frequent. Also, I will be adding a segment on art, which is the primary focus of my being. But I will still put it out there. No PC crap. Tough talking yo. A spade, no matter what you call it, is still a spade. I’m back.
What have I missed? A whole lot. It was all I could do not to get back behind the keys. One of those burning issues is of course the economy… and I will start there.
The republicans have formed their point of attack at first, around jobs and the state of the economy. But as they reasonably suspected, the recovery was on the way and that when the economy improved, they would have no chance of beating Obama in 2012. So they decided to focus on both job recovery and the national debt, knowing that one or the other can bring down the Obama administration.
The problem about this focus is that they are sabotaging the United States of America. Job recovery is not compatible with reducing the national debt. Like having a triple whopper and a diet coke but expecting to lose weight. To improve the economy, any administration has to increase programs that create jobs. This necessarily means that government will have to have a larger budget and in the case of any administration over the last 50 years, necessarily borrow to meet payroll demands amongst other things. This will increase debt.
On the other hand, a focus on the debt means reducing government, by cutting government-backed projects and employment. Cutting employment feeds unemployment.
The intention is to force Obama to fight on 2 different incompatible fronts… and to some extent they have succeeded. This country has a crumbling infrastructure that will get weaker and more expensive to fix the longer they are not attended to. The republicans have cut that.
They have also forced job cuts in key sectors including education, social services, emergency services and the police… all in the name of cutting the deficit. So they personally are making more unemployed while blaming Obama for the high unemployment. Education will continue its downhill plunge and they intend to blame Obama for that. If crime rises, well, that’s on Obama too.
In any sensible country, such a tactic would backfire day one. But this is America my friends, … where most voters are incapable of common sense and hypocrisy is acceptable.
Many must have seen or heard about congressman Anthony Weiner and online affairs with numerous women. Move over Tiger Woods.
What’s wrong with these guys? Obviously products of power and living in a sexually repressed nation. Most places, we’d just have a mistress or solicit a ‘ho every now and again. But politicians and religious moguls just feel that they have to put their ‘thing’ digitally as well… even after knowing about the fall of a colleague just weeks before because of online sexual egotism. Dumbs and dumbers.
Listen, technology is great but like fire and water, the digital age should not be allowed to master us. Anything you put online, can come back to haunt you. Digital footprints are harder to erase that real ones.
One of the things Weiner did was sex on facebook, though I’m not sure you can call that sex. But that brings me to the insidiousness of facebook. Shortly, facebook is introducing a feature where people’s faces will be tagged even if the person who posted the images, don’t want the images tagged. It will be done automatically.
“Great,” you say, “Saves me time”. Well let me just let you think about the implication of that for a while.
Facebook is a dangerous master. It is changing society but not for the better. It is making many people less sociable, more homogenous, more narcissistic, lazy thinkers, and ass-kissers. It appears to me that facebook is creating little ‘pseudo-societies’ where the self-absorbed can populate it only with people who daisy chain each other. Daisy chain? Look up the sexual reference.
True case in point. I was recently ‘unfriended’ by Hilaire (no need to know more), a lawyer I know who seems to be addicted to fb. He is always on it (have no idea when he gets to do any lawyering… but that’s his employers business).
Recently, on one of my infrequent ventures into this lalaland, I happened to post some rebuttals to things Hilaire said, me thinking of course foolishly, that this would be an exercise of rational discourse. More fool me. As someone more savvy explained, “There is a reason why there is a ‘like’ but no ‘dislike’ button”. Ooooh.
As imprudent as Hilaire’s post was, there were enough people to rain praises on him for his ‘unique’ insight… notwithstanding that his online criticism of someone was already old news. “Nothing new here folks, keep on moving”.
But I’m not part of anyone’s mutual admiration society and stated my disagreement. Wham! It was like I was carrying a “Ban automatic weapons” placard at a gun convention. The beatdown came, even though all I was trying to do was to stay within the salient points. Nice try son, but it doesn’t work that way. Some people don’t let facts and logic get in the way.
When I replied to someone whose idea of expressing her intellectual self-importance was to try to amateur psycho-anal-yse me (bad mistake), well I was ‘unfriended’. Boohoo.
So, if you decide to go on fb, be careful, be very careful. It’s seductive, deceptive, and addictive. But through fb, your personal information becomes a part of a worldwide database including marketers, the FBI, security agencies and employers. My expert tells me that potential employees have their facebook accounts scanned before they are employed. So what you put up today, can get you employed or fired.
By the way, while writing this piece, I checked my fb account. The first thing up was a page informing me to “Keep my account safe” while telling me that my protection was low. Then it asked me to give them my phone number. Like right, I’m reeeeally gonna give you another piece of personal information. Thank you but no thank you very much.
For many years now Art has been my saving grace, the thing I do to keep my sanity. My entry into art began back in 1984 when I joined my university’s photo club. But I never intended to become an artist… it was too high a calling for me.
But as my work progressed, more people impressed on me that I was an artist. I won this, I won that but it was but a past-time, something to not only keep me occupied but sane.
When I was freaking out because of significant pressures of life, it was art that I turned to, and it began becoming a part of me. This led to an increase in art, and a slide away from ‘working for the man’. More accomplishments followed with the most important being my one-man show ‘Beyond the Ordinary’ in 1999. The plaudits grew but I still couldn’t fully reconcile myself as an artist.
It was only when distinguished artists as Karl ‘Jerry’ Craig, Cecil Cooper, Donnette Zacca, Christopher Gonzalez and others affirmed my work and accepted me into their fraternity, that I believed. Trust me, not everyone who says that they are an artist is, and being an artist is not easy. Personally and professionally, it is a long arduous journey, filled with pain, rejection, self-doubt and failure. But those only make us stronger.
As an artist I believe I’m here to serve. Not like the politician who yearns for power, or the priest who yearns for control. Most artists serve as either our consciences, or as bringers of calm, reflection and beauty. This is my passion.
But as I said, I wanted to keep this short. More anon.
June 13, 2011 2 Comments