Month: October 2014

Happy Halloween! The Misanthrope Got Her To Carve A Pumpkin

The Misanthrope Got Her To Carve a Pumpkin

From the smash 2002 publishing phenomenon, On Rainy Days the Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself. Although a kind of poetry below, the book is mostly prose, so you’ll get more words for your buck.

This leans between PG13 and Rated R. Keep the little ones away.

American Football’s Popularity Rising In Equal Proportion With Mass Infant Circumcision

Why do it
After listening to those glad humming sounds?
Why slice
after the giggling,
The evening tummy rubs,
The bouncing rides..?
Surely these jolly moments might preclude
the beginnings
of ecstasy outside the womb
You know,
actually a happy, gentle, caring child.
That’s all us boys dream of
even after they snip off our foreskin.
Happiness
Wisdom
Strength to stand up for the uncircumcised
For the whoosass in the lunch line
To fight for his honor
To let him know in no uncertain terms
that sure you’re pissed off
that the first thing they thought of
after nine months of sweet dreams
was cutting up my dirty little pee-pee
and Frank and Sal’s and Dave’s
dirty dick
Now we’re all nuts
having the potential to murder too
because after circumcision
they didn’t stop and hug us and give us dolls
We played with trucks, footballs, and guns
And looked down into our shorts
always in the know
that something was wrong
Very very wrong
So incredibly wrong
that’s it’s no small wonder
each of us hasn’t thought
more than once about
hanging from a tree.

How out of place do you feel?
The circumcised watch Monday Night Football.
Little boys push a backhoe
Little girls color horses on the floor
Girlfriends and wives
think about hair and skin products
and improving the smell of the house
I mean
how do you look on the couch?
Do you stare at them and wonder “how
can their movements be so pure and innocent
after they’ve done this to my prick?
How can they want me?
Where did hope go?
What is a man?
What is money?
What is a job?
Why am I so selfish?
How is it that all of us know what football is?
That angry player just said “Mother fucker”
These are pigs who have nothing in common
with me
and yet everything is sadly the same since
we’ve been cut back to expose the head.
Football. TV. The Presidency. Paying taxes and the garbage bill. The company. Health insurance. An entire row in the supermarket dedicated to dog food and cat shit. The Internet. The 40,000 dollar truck. The 10,000 dollar used truck with rust. A stereo. Video games. The radio. So many shirts and pants.
I want my foreskin back. I want to be different.
I want at least twenty feet of foreskin
to make up for the difference
of years of not-knowing what I am.
I want to be a man

 

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Ancestors From Hamilton

Here is this month’s work, getting ready for show opening in Hamilton in two weeks. These are my ancestors, looking pretty good. Two farmers, a surgeon, an engineer—so liberal, wise and optimistic. And somehow, who knows how, a painter in the family!

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Dan and Sally Welcome the Intellectual Season To Cole Hill Dan Throop (1777-1831)

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Farewell, Ye False, Deceitful Joys, William Huntington Throop (1807-1883)

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James Mott Via PTSD Mutilates Young Henry’s Politics, James Mott Throop (1838-1889)

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KI + 2S —> KISS, Henry Grosvenor Throop (1880-1956)

More Paintings After I Sing The Mind Desperado

The latest book. Published last week.

Armistice Day is just around the calendical corner. Purchase Last Communion by the eleventh hour of the eleventh day on the eleventh month for a brief discount on my misanthropy.

From the book:

Answer to Agora Gallery’s Twitter Question “Is Art Urgent?”

When viewing the work of an artist I seek the biography of the man/woman expressed in hard copies. I mark the energy of the joy or angst living in each piece. If there isn’t any, there isn’t art. Easy marker. With that said, allow me to cite a piece of yesterday that I hope will help answer this important question.
Early in the day I shared with my wife a break time video (via e-mail) of Tom Jones and Janis Joplin back in 1969 singing and dancing “Raise your hand”. I wrote to her that this is what gurgles through my veins most days.
Go watch it on YouTube (skip corporate commercial):
Tom and Janis
Did you see it? Got up and danced, yes? Made you almost feel ashamed to live in a land that has warped the meaning of joy and dance (which is often art) into Beyoncé, a phony by-product of Proctor and Gamble, Coca Cola, or AT&T smartphone toothpaste glued to your face:
Phony Faker
Not ever, even in a very weak moment, say solitary confinement in a boy’s prison or island castaway, would I be interested in the choreographed faux-dance of Beyoncé. It is without real desire. I think it hasn’t loved since it was a little girl. It says “Me” like a blazing sun, but not a star. More like a thermonuclear detonation. All in all, I think Beyoncé hates art, and has sent her husband into gallery show rooms to rap about it.
Her dance is not an “outward expression of an inward harmony of the soul.” It is, to me, a kind of death of individuality and its right to expression. Poor Beyoncé. She is just a tool, as were Tom and Janis in their day to a degree. The difference is in their humanity. That unlikely 60’s couple each got to dance like any nerd in the lunch line and feel good about it. Real good. Today the corporations steer us to do the impossible and copy the world’s champions, which sets up stone walls to our dance as expressive creatures. Then this negativity gets revealed in our every day lives: Paint a picture? Not if you can’t out dance both van Gogh in color and Wyeth in boredom. Chisel marble? Are your balls square? There has been only one superstar worthy of that! The world’s champions, (a Kurt Vonnegut idea), existed in 1969 too. Yet from watching the “Raise Your Hand” video (I was 2 years old at the time thinking about becoming a painter), it is so obvious to me that the door was open for humanity (at least for those existing in a healthy economy) to virtually explode with creativity per capita.
Art’s urgent task is to reopen that door. It must go back a generation to Tom and Janis, further back to the Mohawk and Santee Sioux; I say shine light on the first clan even, to notice how Glub the Firestarter turned a rock into a Mastodon with his smoldering magic stick. Hurrah! Let’s party!
And Glub’s brothers and sisters gesticulate the wild human dance while drinking spit beer late into the night.
Beyoncé, Jeff Koons and Rita the corporate-sponsored conceptual artist who uses her feet to throw rocks at spider monkeys, are invaders in our once deeply expressive village. ABC and PBS are working overtime this week getting us to authenticate their celebrity. This will sell more Crest, more Toyota Corollas, and less and less of the truth that each and every one of us is deeply expressive if we dare to dig that deep. The entertainers can be amazing and excite us to our own expressive joys, which is art manifest. I got up and raised my hand with Tom Jones, but I didn’t want to be like him. I writhed and wrinkled and spilled my spit fermented beer on the hide carpet. I woke up and painted a saber-toothed tiger stalking a Super Bowl celebrity into the forest.
Art must coax art out of the box that money and power have stuffed it into. Museum is art history. Instrumental in preserving art’s stories. However, no joy comes from paced, clockwise observation at a respectable five foot distance, whether that be an afternoon at the Louvre or your local, struggling art association. And celebrity is anything but celebratory. Lady Gaga is Cindy Sherman. Mick Jagger is Jasper Johns. Millionaire super jocks with dead style choreographed. I think their art is as much fun to be around as burning plastic. It is urgent that we support the expression of our neighbors Donna, who paints us the real news, (what the fourth estate has abandoned for advertising deals), and Fred, the marble sculptor sweating out angst in the oppressive July heat. His suburban neighbors doze the live long day long in the cool of the swimming pool.
Hey, crank up the music.

Yawn. Just another Beyoncé tune.

Here Is A Book That Trolls The Bottom Of Amazon Ocean

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“On Rainy Days The Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself” book cover image

It received one sour review ten years ago by a local guy who ran an appliance store. He was taking a class on novel writing at the city library and picked out my book to study the competition.

Oops. Not quite a novel. In the appliance world of writing, those looking for established certainties like Maytag® and Frigidaire®, be forewarned that On Rainy Days The Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself reads like six dry-rotted washboards repurposed into an icebox.

The second edition resides at createspace. It reads better, very much better, than the Seattle warehouse volume.

That said, please buy it, and move my Amazon rank up to angler fish light:

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Winter Lessons Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein Ron Throop

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Left: Winter Lessons by Oswegonian Ron Throop /Right: Drowning Girl By escaped Oswegonian Roy Lichtenstein

A post from March, to introduce Oswego to those arriving from Hyperallergic:

Wow. Yesterday I read a 2004 article on Roy Lichtenstein, a very famous painter of the late twentieth century. I already knew that he taught for a couple years at the state college in Oswego. I also read in a biography that his wife hated it here. The winters were tough and she began to drink like a fish. My elderly next door neighbor said she caused quite a stir at the faculty wives’ club the night she wore colored stockings. I never knew what a great failure Lichtenstein was the day before he started painting comics. He was an abstract painter who loved Picasso and Cézanne. His paintings amassed unsold in the basement.

Yesterday I read with laughing eyes the early tale of Roy. The parallels are enough of a story to keep me plugging away at my own failure. I quote at length.

“Roy would say, ‘I know any minute someone’s going to come and shake me and say, Mr Lichtenstein, it’s time for your pills, and I’ll be back in Oswego, in a wheelchair.’ There was a touch of Lichtenstein’s characteristic self-deprecating humour about that. But also a sense that he had been, as she says, “very lucky to have been where he was at a given moment”.

Roy knew, like all painters do, that success is a crap shoot with a 1,679,616-sided die. Only a wise, self-deprecating Oswego artist would admit to this.

“But the teaching post he held in Oswego from 1958 to 1960 was a low point of his career, very far from the wealth and art stardom that were his within a couple of years… At the time he got the job in Oswego, Lichtenstein had been working as a painter for nearly 20 years, and achieved almost no success. Bruce Breland, a colleague of the time, remembered that Lichtenstein ‘had shown in New York—with no results. He was showing paintings and they were going stone-nowhere.'”

All my paintings also going cement-nowhere in the basement.

“Lichtenstein did a series of part-time jobs—window dresser, draftsman, furniture designer, painting dials on instruments—while his wife, a successful interior designer, was the main breadwinner. Lee Csuri, sculptor and wife of another old friend, remembered that in the mid-1950s, ‘Roy was very despondent about what he was doing. And feeling he was nowhere. His painting of that time was abstract expressionist, but it was very muddy'”.

Yahoo! My wife is a graphic designer, the bread winner, and my feelings of despondency on a good day have me yank off just enough mustache nose hairs to goad me to the next chore.

“Then in 1958, he got the job in Oswego. But as Avis Berman, a researcher into Lichtenstein’s life, concluded: ‘Living in Oswego was disastrous for the Lichtensteins. The winters were brutal and Isabel lacked fulfilling work, and began drinking in earnest.’ So at 37, Lichtenstein had a dead-end post in the sticks, a wife who was rapidly becoming an alcoholic, and a studio full of paintings no one wanted to look at. Then his luck began to change.”

Oooh, I can only hope.

“As Dorothy Lichtenstein tells the story, ‘Roy was always trying to get back to the New York area, and in 1960 he was able to get a job teaching at Rutgers University in New Jersey. And there was a group of interesting and lively people there, including the artists Alan Kaprow and George Segal. Roy had a feeling that if he’d still had a job teaching out in the boondocks, he might have done his first Pop work, but not carried on. He felt there was something that comes from response and encouragement that fuels you to go further than you might in a vacuum.'”

Response and encouragement. Roy had a feeling. Ron has one from time to time. He expresses it, and in return receives the appreciative song from a cricket stowing away under a stair in an abandoned Oswego factory.

“But there might have been another trigger. As Chuck Csuri, Lee’s husband, recalls, Lichtenstein’s son David came home one day from school and complained: ‘Joey’s father’s a policeman, and Henry’s father’s this, and Virginia’s does that. And you’re an artist and you can’t draw.’ Roy said, ‘Oh, OK.’ So he got out a canvas and drew a comic-book image. The result might have been Look Mickey, with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. In it, Donald is fishing, and says, ‘Look Mickey, I’ve hooked a big one’. And a big, new idea was exactly what Lichtenstein had got hold of himself”.

That is all the parallel I need. Back in 1998 Roy’s spirit must have hightailed it back to Oswego, and flew up my nose.

Now to focus on the work and the big break which is sure to come at fifty, using the logic of arrested development afflicting the middle-aged in the 21st century. I shall keep at work, seek escape, and let my mustache hairs grow into my mouth.

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Still Time Before Christmas To Purchase Cookbook For The Poor

Published December, 2013

If you buy it on createspace (an Amazon affiliate), I make (n)oodles of more dough. 292 pages of sustenance, and very little to do with cooking. Published last December, I have yet to sell one. A November royalty check ($5) from the sale of this book will pay for both a writer’s homemade pasta dinner and local spiritual enema.

From the back cover:

Here is a book of autobiographical essays from a man placed out of century by a malfunctioning time machine, yet needing a culture, so building his own. It is replete with reactions to the present day land he is marooned on, and interspersed with recipes which will bring peace to spiritual vagabonds via the art of fine cookery.
   The author is glad he appeared in a wealthy nation of easy food and time galore to repair machine, and hopes others struggling in similar space-time continuum can use book to temporarily escape cockamamie culture. Or at best make a fine meal at any hour while caught in dimensional exile.
This volume is for the physically young and old alike provided they suffer from atomically produced disassociation. It should be used as a tool for the unfortunate poor yet pleasing neurotic to connect back or forward to the era of his or her choice. Set the stock to simmer on low and find a free spot to read and wonder.

A piece of the book to whet the appetite:

Two Types of Individuality

One is spiritual, one material. The material hastens the final blow to humanity via the runaway, atom-smashing train of consumerism. Its tracks were laid by the politics of blind greed and extra comfort for the very few.
The spiritual boob the world over wants lustily for an adequate supply of rice cakes, water, and two strong legs to carry his skin sack burden to eternity.
I have proof of a desolation at full throttle:
The Way of the Pilgrim vs. the television sitcom, “Friends”. Perhaps more than a hundred million people the world over can explain the concept of “Friends.” And since a majority already share an identity with actors who covet fashionable boredom and Pottery Barn Inc., would-be converts of this individuality type are expanding rapid-exponentially. Being born again anywhere onto the runaway train is actually cross boxcar individualism. That is, you can be a lone lover of corn cakes, coca-cola, the Sermon on the Mount, a 1968 Chevelle, the TV show “Friends,” most Keebler products, Maxwell House Coffee, or air travel to Baltimore, etc., and nobody asks anything meaningful from you when all insanities meet for poker in the club car.
Maybe twelve of these hundred million people have read about the individual, private joy in The Way of the Pilgrim. A story about continuous prayer while walking across a wild Russian landscape. Finding a friendly villager in a snowstorm, who shares his bread, and offers a bed beside the stove. Soldiers pummeling his skull until it cracks open, and he’s left for dead smiling up at an invisible friend Jesus. Thanking him.
Of these twelve readers, maybe one will have satori, leaping from the caboose of the runaway train. Yet no matter how pure his thoughts, and the blowing snow in the storm, while the blizzard rages, Chandler, Monica and sexy Rachel the demon wayfarer will have pressed their material pillow of memory over his freezing face.
He will die of hypothermia while dreaming of a Joey joke and Ross gaff to the glorious church bell tune of “Smelly Cat”. Audience applause please.

I know Keebler. I will for the rest of my life. That crime was committed long ago, by the time I had reached six summers. On a string of autumn Saturday mornings, some invisible cartel of brainwashing market scientists snuck into my parent’s parlor, stealthily drilled into my skull, and shot a microscopic package of soft cookies into my brain. A thirty second covert procedure, Saturday after Saturday after Saturday.
By winter the cupboard never lacked for processed chewy, chocolate wonderment. I grew kid boobs.
Today I could leave society for good. I could float around the world on a massive ocean with no land in sight for the next thirty years. Fear of sharks, tropical storms and running out of seaweed toilet paper would trump fading memories of people and places of the past. Of course by old age I would be practically insane. But not solely because of spiritual loneliness. No matter how hard I tried, day after day, in practiced meditation of the Lord’s Prayer, I would not be able to erase the vision of “Toll House Cookies®” from my mind.
Technology is Satan on a fast train. Militarily it has subjugated a living, breathing planet under its might. Medically it  has treated the symptoms of its own industrial disease. Morally it has created a mass class of individual comfort devotees with infinite purchasing power. The Evolution King dealt his subjects a fatal blow one Thursday night back in 1994. Who knew that twenty-two minutes of fun with “Friends” and a bag of Pecan Sandies would unleash the wrath of portents from our collective corporate memory. It took up a steel bar of rage, five hundred years in the making, and smashed the train’s brakes to smithereens.
Next stop: Armageddon. Please be seated and chew quietly on your cookies. Audience applause please.

Throop Troll House® Cookies

Preheat oven to 375º.

Whisk together:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon baking soda

Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar

Add and beat until well combined:
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons vanilla

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended. Stir in:
1 cup chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Drop the dough with spoon onto cookie sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are slightly
colored on top and edges browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate sheet halfway through baking. Remove and let stand for 2 minutes.
Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Say How Do You Banker Become?

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How do you become a
banker cause I want to know fast
I’m falling asleep
I’m tired all the time
If I had a thousand bucks
I wouldn’t know
what to do with a woman
They’re so open
when it comes to money
Bankers get it legitimately
and steadily over time
Dostoevsky
is such a poor word
I want two hundred thousand
out to dinner every night
train rides to New York
Stop living
like a piss poor poet
when you can bank on
a hundred thousand
overnight
a million
a pool
colorful leaves
running all over the yard
rich neighbors and
quiet Sundays
Patchen is a desperately
poor scab
dead with a lot of pretty
pretty words
stuck in the ground
I got grays
and sunshine Saturday
with a green hose
and a brand new car
I want to be a bank boy
crawling over the grass
playing games with myself
all day long
and somebody cooking
special for me