art

This Week I Painted Some While Lake Turned and Weather Charmed

lakeontariospring

“I Know Lake Ontario Doesn’t Look Like This in April, but Maybe It Should” 2017. Acrylic on birch panel, 24 x 24″

puzzle

“Only Jay Leno and Other Jingoes See the American Dream From Outside the Dollar Store” 2017. Acrylic on 500 piece puzzle for a dollar. What a deal!

peartreedollar2

“After Sacrificing 23 Pieces of Crap From the Dollar Store, I Planted This Baby Pear Tree” 2017. Acrylic on dollar store frame, 8 x 10″

dollarcordonbleu

“Dollar Store Frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu and Blueberry Muffin on Ceramic Plate Made in China, $3.08” 2017. Acrylic on plate, dinner plate size

dollarclip1

“This Dollar Store Clipboard Does Not Want My Dream of Mexico Unless I Make It So” 2017. Acrylic on Chinese dollar store clipboard, 10 x 14″

dollarstore

“How I Look and Feel at the Dollar Store in Town” 2017. Acrylic on dollar store frame, 8 x 10″

alligator

“Even at 50 My Attempt at an Imaginary Alligator Should Spark the Professional Curiosity of a Bored Psychiatrist” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 11″

50Train

“For Those of You Living in 1 of the Other 195 Nations, the Reason Americans Don’t Love Trains Anymore is Because Our Brains Have Been Usurped by Cognitive Dissonance Aliens” 2017. Acrylic on Stepanov packaging particle board, 12 x 16″

1940’s or 50’s Autumn Forest Stream When Rich People Were Still a Bit Embarrassed About Their Wealth

rich

2017. Acrylic on loose canvas, 41 x 13″

My friend and I are submitting to a regional show with the theme “abstraction”. I think I will frame this under glass, and sell it for less than what it cost me to make. The frame will be the big expense. It’s usually the case. I just want to see if Americans will barter or purchase a luxury item—it’s visible worth not even detected as a tiny greed smear on a corporito’s brain scan—even when it’s priced cheaper than a Denny’s® brunch and a few gallons of gasoline.

I do not fool myself about the material value of this painting. It is what it is. Canvas, paints, brush use, light overhead, man, man’s thoughts, man’s moods, man’s dreams, man’s hope, and man’s hands in his pockets—No, wait. After “man” it’s mostly a squat pile of private abstract suffering. And very few besides a friend or two would pretend to want a material representation of that big idea!

I can’t blame them!

And yet, people would want it, even more than shaving cream, if people’s desires were real and not abstractions. Not so much in want of the painting as any true thought, true feeling, true expression of another man or woman cut up into pieces, and each piece set on a cultural conveyor belt of behavior controlled and monitored by abstractions.

People would want it if they trusted men.

I don’t trust them either, hence the painting, another in an endless bombardment of material representations of Americans worship of abstraction.

And maybe after my demise, someone will pay a few thousand dollars for that “forest stream” painting. Provided the post-mortem marketing team is sharp and can make some abstract tool think valuable a material fool.

 

The Painter U.S. Congressional Representative

katko

“Dear Parents in the United States, Is Your Congressperson as Weak and Ineffectual as Mine?” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″

I want Medicare for all. I want this, and can have it because I do not want another aircraft carrier with a Taco Bell® catering subsidized careers to high school underachievers. Drones are cheaper and can pick off innocent people, or cumbersome dictators thousands of miles away. My government tests them out of Syracuse, N.Y. Some pimply little brat from x-box school pretends suburbs like Mattydale and Liverpool are hostile insurgent camps and he aims its sights on a Syracuse school bus from an air-conditioned cubicle in Reno, Nevada. Drones are very affordable as they are immoral, however, as a replacement to the Lockheed Martin and Boeing dinosaurs, they potentially free up billions of dollars for prenatal care to expectant mothers, and a college education promised to their newborns approximately 18 years after delivery.

I know that the national treasury can afford these things because I can find out the cost of an obsolete fighter jet online. So can you. I declare this morning that during my 2018 independent run for New York’s 24th district congressional seat, I will do my best to refrain from spouting statistics to back up an argument. Americans pay a federal tax, the numbers add up to a very large sum, and from that sum funds are distributed by Congress back to government and its many bureaucratic functions. Paying what we pay now in federal tax, and foregoing 20th century investment in aircraft carriers and airbases in Afghanistan and Okinawa, I know our nation can afford health care for all, make significant payments on the national debt, and offer top notch education to our children.

Here are some campaign promises. I can offer nothing more or less. I will not debate another candidate. I will not speak of qualifications, nor defend my past. The constitution has qualified me. I am over 25. I have been a citizen of the United States and lived in New York State for 491/2 years, and my children love me. That’s enough.

1.  I will serve only one term.

2. I will take the salary for the two years I am representative, and donate half to a one time meritorious scholarship opportunity for one boy and one girl in my district.

3. I will not take a pension in any form.

4. I will hire only one staff secretary.

5. I will only vote on bills that I am able to read in full, given the time allotted to read them. I will only vote in a manner ascribed by the United States Constitution. That is, read it yourself. If you like it enough to vote for me, then please do.

6. I will make no appearances in public outside my office, the steps of U.S. Congress, or on my way to the mailbox.

7. I will openly advocate for an amendment decrying term limits on Congress.

8. I will not have any contact with lobbyists. Only individual constituents representing themselves or local non-profits.

Finally, and this may come as a surprise to both established parties, I very much intend to win, or lose, depending on how seriously I am taken. Still, I believe if given a sober third choice, that only an ignoramus would cast a vote for a same ole republicrat, or same ole democran, knowing what he or she knows now about our corrupt institutions.

I think I have a pretty good chance.

Or not.

My Psyche Went to Florida But All I Got Was This Used 3rd Century Hair Shirt

Mockingbird

“Of Itself So” 2017. Acrylic on wood panel, 11 x 14″

hawk

“Back Home, the Hawk Got Windowed by a Cat” 2017. Acrylic on wood panel, 11 x 14″

carryon

“Carry On Regardless” 2017. Acrylic on wood panel, 14 x 11″(plein air)

useful

“I Am a Useful Fiction” 2017. Acrylic on wood panel, 11 x 14″

homeless

“The Homeless Man Gets Mocked by his Own Sky” 2017. Acrylic on wood panel, 11 x 14″

capitalists

“After the Capitalists Leave South Florida” 2017. Acrylic on wood panel, 14 x 11″

trees

“The Lackluster Tornado Run Through the Tree of Cities” 2017. Acrylic on wood panel, 11 x 14″

Bonita

“There are Too Many Waste Pipes Connected in Bonita Springs” 2017. Acrylic on wood panel, 14 x 11″ (plein air)

 

 

I Covet My Brother’s Toxic Stink Pool For Its Local Color

covet1

2015. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24″

One morning these unlucky animals ventured near the frack pool for a drink. Raccoon knew something was wrong when he peered across the liquid stink and saw rabbit turning pink. Moments later the three were asphyxiated and fell into the pool, dead.

Now I don’t know about you reader, but I am bowled over with envy at the man who can get ahead by leasing land that will remain his until it gets sold, or as long as legacy can hold out. Property rights once temporarily shared for hunting, or leasing fields to a farmer to grow experimental soy and corn, now can provide a potent chemical pool to all and sundry. A good neighbor won’t be so greedy. Maybe he’ll invite the local children over for a dip on a hot day. He already made his money. Anyway, it’s safe as poison, and their collective pee, no matter how acidic, won’t dilute the deadly levels of toluene unless the kids were pre-soaked for several days in 55 gallon drums of Kentucky bourbon.

When I found out my brother built one of these pools, I was so jealous of his country living. He always seemed to be one up on his city mouse sibling. He got to kill deer and eviscerate them on the ground. He got a big diesel pick up truck. He got to ride a green tractor around the property, and say words like “wood lot” and “water well”. He used to boast about the latter whenever his family came over for dinner. He said our water tasted like swimming pool, and he’d get all proud about his purer supply, and start bragging about the strawberry patch and vegetable garden, on and on about how good irrigation ditches made big fat watermelons grow.

Of course that all ended the morning the results came back from oncology, and it turned out his whole family and the dog had cancer.

I still envy his pool. It has a sweet smell. It never freezes over, even in February, and the crystal colors on the surface shimmer all rainbowy.

Now for a serious talk about Ron Paul, libertarianism, and property rights, and how to apply these concepts to hydrofracking. I have a weak spot for Ron Raul, the retired twelve term congressman from Texas who ran for President three times, once as a libertarian, and twice on the Republican ticket. He is a minor thinker, more of a philosopher than a politician. Even if his philosophy could be challenged in healthy debate, I voted for him in the last election because he was the only candidate available who was not a disgusting human being. Lobbyists always stayed clear of his office on Capital Hill. He believed like Jefferson “that government is best that governs least”. Money in government, according to Paul, is the bane of modern society, in that there will always be tremendous winners and losers. In our present day, the winners representing the military, medical, educational, industrial complex, and the losers being everyone else, divided into warring factions, all pining for their teeny-weeny sliver slice of the government pie.

Through Paul I realized that I have always been of a similar philosophy, more or less. That is, I am a libertarian who believes strongly in the Golden Rule. I use it as an individual, more so than a political philosophy. That is, I am a moralist in theory, but practical enough to never apply it seriously to others, and expect good results. Because…

“Preacher was talkin’
There’s a sermon he gave.
He said, ‘Every man’s conscience
Is vile and depraved’”

—Bob Dylan from Man in a Long Black Coat

Enter the concept of property rights, a basis of libertarian philosophy, and an example of cheap lip service paid by the Republicans and Conservatives of my country. Basically it means that you and I as individuals, through rights of property, whether that property exists as owning land, or just owning the rights to ourselves, should in theory have more power than all groups or governments that lobby and/or make laws. Individual rights trump group rights always, as long as no one else suffers from an individual’s actions. Property rights only work if courts invoke and society enforces them equally for all.

So, according to Ron Paul and libertarians, if you own a piece of land, not only should you be free from paying property taxes, but you can do with the land whatever you please, as long as you’re not infringing on the property rights of your neighbor. So again in theory, libertarians will tell you Monsanto is criminal because it’s pollen escapes boundaries and destroys the individual farmer’s seed crop. However, a guy selling seeds on his own land has every right to do so, without local, state, or federal government regulation, so long as his seeds do not hurt anyone.

In an interview a couple years ago, Paul was asked what he thought about hydrofracking. True to his form, he applied libertarian philosophy to the controversy. He thought out loud for the interviewer and came to a decision. First, he noted that if there is a strong potential to infect the groundwater that others connect to, then hydrofracking should be outlawed. Then, after further thought, he admitted that just the actual process defies a libertarian point-of-view. Hydraulic fracturing runs horizontal, across boundaries. It crosses properties below. So if Fred has a well, and the well shoots toxic chemicals sideways, then his neighbors Bob and Mary lose their individual right to keep their property free from toxic chemical invasion. From another angle (my own) it could be said that gas companies would be liable to pay Bob and Mary for use of the property a mile below their feet, which of course, would make such a venture impossible to profit by, making gas companies pay individuals for thousands and thousands of affected subterranean square miles.

It’s true, after the well is drilled, hydrofracking ignores the property rights of everybody else affected, whether that be from potential health risks to the individual, or loss of compensation from unauthorized land lease below ground.

Republicans and conservatives are lying to themselves about hydrofracking if they also subscribe to the concept of individual property rights. Now again, in theory, if they allow a legislative body (the state) to determine if hydrofracking will be allowed, then might it be that the Republicans and Conservatives are so in name only, yet may actually lean more toward a philosophy of socialism, or even a light totalitarianism/fascism?

I think so.

A quick note about libertarian philosophy. It cannot work beyond the political machinations of a clan type of government. Property rights for individuals are not, nor have ever been universally applied in the history of civilization. But it can act as a very good justice indicator. Applied to hydrofracking, one can easily prove to a Republican or Conservative brother-in-law that his philosophy is just made up of re-hashings of Fox News diatribes mixed in with a hot shot of greed and entitlement.

 

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Grief is Productive Non-relief

bob5

“That’s a Lot of Paint For an Uneducated Elephant!” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″

bob7

“Robert Allen Mazza (b.11/7/1934—d.1/12/2017) Was Born and Raised in East Utica” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″

bob6

“Microbial Facebook Politics” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 10 x 8″

bob8

“I Don’t Think That Insects Care if People Love Them or Not” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″