economics

The Last Anxiety Dream

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“Rose Left For Work This Morning With Her Nose in a Better Place” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 11 x 15″

Rose is my wife. Or, I am her husband. They say possession is 9/10 the law, and to anyone looking, it’s obvious that we are close—married to the hilt— bearing all the positive and negative of that attachment vice/virtue the Buddhists claim is soul draining. So, emotionally, we possess each other, for better or worse, like good/bad attachments. We “get it”, and flow fairly well together, through good and bad, in concert with fluctuating hormonal balances—her month, my month, hair loss, hair gain… We have nearly mastered the art of cohabitation, and she, whether realizing it or not, is primed and ready for a sweet nirvana, if she ever desires/not desires its potential awakening.

Me, on the other hand, is an anxious mess. The culprit (if I must ascribe blame. And I must because I am not healed) is culture, and the roles it pressures us into, wittingly or unwittingly. Rose is breadwinner. We eat and stay dry and warm because she maintains acceptable work outside the home. A steady job that pays well enough for me to stay home and keep life about us steady and content. I am literally bread-maker—stay-at-home cook and part-time butler, part-time painter, writer, curator. These are the chores separating me from Rose, for we are both very sensitive, full time spouse and parent, and there should be no comparisons made in these departments. I am an okay cook, decent butler, yet would fail the most basic Emily Post white-glove inspection.

Selective breeding among male Throops carried on fairly well without me for 56,000 years, and then Rose and I came along and upset the stream. Damned it up good and proper, I’d say, for I haven’t gone a day in my adult life without some manner of confusion about my place and role(s) in a society that worships nothing but abstractions—namely, money.

To say I am an anxious person would be a gross understatement. I am more like an outwardly successful squirrel, yet unsatisfied with myself in a world of squirrels that covets and adores a mutual abstraction. Squirrels around me who act like squirrels day after day, accumulating nuts, building impressive nests, braving seasons and storms, but underlying every accomplishment is the pressing desire to accumulate the abstraction that will make the squirrel a new squirrel, refined prince or princess in squirrel kingdom. I am infected with the abstraction also, which makes me a constantly dissatisfied squirrel. Let’s say this abstraction occupying us squirrels practically night and day is the desire to accumulate human manufactured snow-globes. Many generations ago, some wise and economically trained squirrel scribes thought to create a falling leaf money supply to ease and simplify transactions among squirrels of Squirreldom, however knowing the ubiquitous existence of trees, sought a limited, countable base currency to give an abstract value to something that was readily available in Squirreldom—leaves. Leaf banks opened up practically overnight, followed by upstanding squirrels founding colleges and universities, the development of a million acceptable leaf-paying occupations (none of them nut gathering), and finally a culturally devastating, squirrel-separating atomization.

Anyway, I had a dream last night, my last one about money if hope can help it. I was at Donald Trump’s next wedding and the cheapskate expected a gift. 60 dollars is a lot when you can’t make that in a month from painting. Rose’s brother from D.C. was there with his wife telling her in a false admiring, deeply condescending way, that it was “too cool” that I painted—Oh, but I could see the mockery in his eyes and hear it in the tone of his voice. Shamed again! And not for the last time that night. After the gifts were laid out for all and sundry to see, Trump had my gift, a painting, taken out and thrown in the trash. Rose confided to me that she provided a back-up without my knowledge—a Samsung® tablet for the new bride. I was so mad. I stormed out of the tent and went to sleep on a servant’s cot in some nearby dusty garage.

The end.

Faith that my marriage is secure, I intend to reach my end beating to death inside me this false god money. Whenever I have deep doubt, (and that is as often as dinner), I will take that negative energy and with it,  push as hard as I can into a positive dream.  This money god has got all of us squirrels absolutely frazzled. All my nuts aren’t secure, but I know where to find them. I had no faith in gods. I want no faith in money. I’ll play my faith at this marriage and focus my dreams on a persistent present moment. I will continue to write and paint erratically, like a squirrel caught both ways in the road.

Friends, family, and safe acquaintances, please continue to buy the paintings I paint and books that I write. Heck, $50 is “better than a sharp stick in the eye”, as my bodhisattva wife often proclaims. I leave you now with a few paintings by me and a song by someone else.

“The Bodhisattva Poses With Her Anniversary Pot” 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20″

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“Is the Squirrel My Spirit Animal Or Am I Just Hyper-Paranoid?” 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11″

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“In November, 2051, Rose Will Be Out in the Backyard ‘Digging a Goldfish Pond’. Just Wave, and Carry On” 2017. Acrylic on Alexey’s packaging particle board, 12 x 16″

Please look the other way, and just listen….

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Capillary Reaction Installment #5 and the Book to Purchase to Raise Money for my Self-Esteem/Sad

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2014. Acrylic on canvas. 32 x 48″

You can buy the book and join me in the catch-22 nightmare of never being freed from the poisonous web of “everyone pollution”. Unfortunately, Representative John Katko (The fracking lover) is me is you is brother-sister-mom, and dad. Multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon and landlord of Createspace® which publishes this book on demand, is a leading dark lord overseeing the advent of environmental catastrophe. My wife and I must prepare our taxes today. I have made approximately $- 2658.00 in 2016. The nonplussed rabbit in the painting invented a dollar/despair converter calculator that uses the symbol ‰ (sad) to measure collective species despair for every dollar humans spend on global trade. Negative readings do not offset positive when converting to the sad. So, according to the calculator, in 2016, I contributed 3.7‰ to all of earth’s living things. John Katko, the U.S. Congressmen I intend to unseat in 2018, acquired 3780.00‰ from sad tax payers like you. Neil Young, the talented activist rocker, made nearly 69,000‰ to life on earth. And finally, the great Jeff Bezos, despair-creating delivery tycoon, added 396,000,000‰ (sad) to all of earth’s biological species.

Buying the book will give me the boost of self-esteem I require to increase my sad among sentient beings. Or, you can keep my sad at a break-even more or less, by reading for free from this 2010 Apple computer, charged by coal, oil, or gas, producing about .003‰ per month.

The Eighth Cardinal Sin Must Be The Pursuit of Happiness

Finished a painting yesterday, a study in the human justification of “happiness and all else be damned”. In the age of resources, it could be the great sin that fuels the other seven, and sadly, solely responsible for our final collapse. At least now I know why Jefferson declared it—so he could justify the Louisiana Purchase from a third party, own as many slaves as was necessary to seek happiness, and love make with the attractive ones whenever he got lonely from all that happiness finding.
Even well drillers just want to be happy. So do the anti-well drillers. The fracking protestor doesn’t want a company from Texas feeding subterranean New York State with toxic juices. He jumps up and down with a sign and some friends, and drives his Mexican made Volkswagen 30 miles north back to his warm cozy Christmas house, heated dutifully by fracking labor in rural North Dakota. Likewise, families in Puebla appreciate the pesos generated from the Volkswagen Jetta-making plant, but hate the smell and the silver metal dust cutting into their kid’s scalps. It’s a trade-off for happiness. How else will they afford cable TV and French wine?
A boom economy in North Dakota keeps Lewis and Clark State Park lodge stocked to the rafters with bottled spring water from Maine. The recycling plant in Williston runs 24/7, and nowadays all residents are familiar with the new parts per million science, and therefore happier.
There is no human moral high ground in this debate. Even photovoltaics have to be made somewhere, out of unnatural, non-renewable things. Factories are never earth-friendly even when producing giant rectangular sun-catchers. We could live under a tree by the river, like Ratty in The Wind in the Willows, or all cozy tea-like at Mole End with the frack froth seeping up from the floorboards.  Then we would pursue human happiness like rodentia in the wood, that is, with an amazing frack induced picnic luncheon of: “coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssandwidgespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater—”
“‘O stop, stop,’ cried Mole in ecstasies: ‘This is too much!’
‘Do you really think so?’ inquired the Rat seriously ‘It’s only what I always take on these little excursions; and the other animals are always telling me that I’m a mean beast and cut it very fine!’”
Poor Kenneth Grahame was nervous about the future. No doubt he sniffed in the harsh, coal field stench of Nottinghamshire at some point in his life. Perhaps Toad was the pursuit of happiness amphibia incarnate. He was an ignorant spaz, buying up whatever was offered for immediate gratification, checking his many deeds off on the cardinal sin list, while thinking everyone else a simpleton. For it was only a matter of time before ratty, mole, and even cantankerous badger would want to race about the countryside in a newfangled automobile.
This painting shows nature finally joining those whom they cannot beat. I hate hydrofracking. I hate my pile of discarded packaging waiting to be recycled even more. A sack of oats and brown sugar would get the worst rat character through a hard winter. No need to drive over to the supermarket once a week for a 12 ounce box of already chewed Cheerios®. And any mole could tell you that the cooper would make a tub for the peanut butter if the cooper wasn’t long ago executed by the always boy Peter Pan, henchman for ConAgra. We, the glorious anti-hydrofrackers have not yet learned how to stay put and buy in bulk. We think it’s okay, this day-to-day world we participate in, as long as the water is as pure as our water factories can fake it.
The poisonous web connects us all. I am sticking with my hypothesis—that we need to go all mid eighteenth century with access to antibiotics before catalysts like nuclear winter and cancer water make it so without the hope of repair. Hence, follow through with my anti-fracking show in the spring. Keep the potable water flowing while pursuing our sickly happiness.

They Give Their Artists Streets In Santa Fe?

They Give Their Artists Streets in Santa Fe?

Last night is what economy does to a healthy mind and spirit. I applied to be chef at a country club. An honest job. All kinds of edible fried widgets, never in demand, but the only thing offered. This is the true economy. The interior of a new car made to look like a living room. I would want it to be more like the floor of a covered wagon but one doesn’t get what he desires in economy. Coffee packaged uniformly and sold rot cheap to favor the industrialists, not the consumer. There are plenty of like-minded souls who would prefer to walk out into the groves with José and shake our own cherries off coffee bushes. No, we can only pick from what is offered. Like a job. Supply and demand is an intellectual fib crafted by robber barons and repeated by undergrads who pursued a degree in teaching because the economy refused to allow another individual entry into society. Too many of those rabble-rousers and all Chinese factories would shut down. Who has ever demanded a mass produced laser copied oil painting from Target? No one. But they are there. How about a 10 ounce box of cereal for $4.29? No one. But they are still there. So much for supply and demand. More like “We supply, and you pretend to demand, or else!”

So the best our economic society can do for a lightly talented painter is place him as a line cook at a country club of pot-bellied men. Top consumers hoping to improve their handicap by day and expected to down fried oysters at night. Each one plays the game as if there could never be more than eighteen holes. Less is acceptable, but not counting in a serious way. Two or three stints later they wonder, after a couple scotches (never a drink much liked, but the only one offered), why a bright guy like me is nearing 50 plating fried haddock and cobb salads to old men who would rather be served hot oatmeal and tucked into bed. “Can’t say,” says I, “Maybe things are better in Santa Fe, but probably nay”.

Oh yes. The line cook was a lightly talented word artist too.

So to all southwestern creatives hawking their wares. Do you have room for a painter who doesn’t paint like you or you? I understand how competition can be healthy for the consumer, but must be avoided by the producer at all costs. So I don’t expect the wonders of Santa Fe to be revealed gratis. I just want to know if it’s true that I can offer my paintings on the street. A side street. A park. Are there renegade economics professors up from Albuquerque refusing to play along with the demands of their “betters”? I mean, casual romantics, who visit Santa Fe to buy Throop art at half the cost of a Chinese factory produced Walmart original? I need to know in order to keep from doing crazy and following through with the application for kitchen manager at the local country club. For if it is true, that men and women can create their own demand for luxury goods in Santa Fe, then maybe my hometown can be cajoled into expressing their humanity by demanding that humanity be put back into our economy. Or, might I have to accept the fact that I live in a region of the country hopelessly incapable of ever building a creative economy? If the latter, then death to the spirit or a mid-life crisis move out to Santa Fe.

To put my private economic choice into words: The oily artery of a fried oyster to achieve status in Hell? Or the rice and beans of a poor painter to achieve rice and beans in Heaven?