fracking

Capillary Reaction Serialization #7 is a Ghost Story

The Boar Thinks Benzene Poisoning is Funny

“The Boar Thinks Benzene Poisonong Is Funny” 2012. Acrylic on panel, 18 x 14″

France Paintings

These paintings were made during a brief residency in Southwestern France. There was a sixth, a trout “swimming joyfully in a river pool of toluene paint thinner”, that was bought last year at a show in Cooperstown. In America a purchaser of a trout can be a fish lover and a gas drilling supporter at the same time. Here it is not necessary to connect art with conscience. Hence the ridiculous Croesus wealth-building of perverts like Jeff Koons and Lady Gaga.
I do not speak or write in the French language. These translations are pathetic, but that’s okay because the fauna of France do not speak French either. But they are inclined to chew off our arms for the audacious move by the bad (rotten) apples among us who are encroaching upon their property rights.
These paintings and more aim to stop the hydrofracking industry from invading our beautiful upstate New York countryside. A tough front to form indeed. My local public radio station, WRVO, at the behest of fracking millionaires, is telling us to “think about it”. That is, accept the reality that propaganda is king, even among our supposed publicly funded institutions.
I had a nice time painting in France. For eight days I was hounded by an angry ghost in a 13th century bastide. It was late October and it drove me to bed down in the unheated studio. To be polite I told my hostess that I was keeping myself in a restless state to stimulate creativity. No. I was terrified, painting every waking moment while watching my back. Beside a farmer’s fallow field, I took one long walk down a Roman road, and visited a castle on the last day of my trip.

The Existential Worker Hornet Thinks It Might Prefer Euthanasia By Methane Gas

“The Existential Worker Hornet Thinks It Might Prefer Euthanasia By Methane Gas” 2012. Acrylic on wood panel, 14 x 18″

The Trout Swims Joyously in a River Pool of Toluene Paint Thinner

“The Trout Swims Joyfully in a River Pool of Toluene Paint Thinner” 2012. Acrylic on wood panel, 14 x 18″

 

The Roe Deer Wants Cheese to Taste Like Vanadium Curd

“The Roe Deer Wants Cheese to taste Like Vanadium Curd” 20112. Acrylic on wood panel, 14 x 18″

The Stone Marten Waits at the Pipe Fitting For a Sip of Napthalene

“The Stone Marten Waits at the Pipe Fitting for a Sip of Naphthalene” 2012. Acrylic on wood panel, 14 x 18″

The Slow Worm Hopes a Garden Soaked in Formaldehyde Will Bring Longevity

“The Slow Worm Hopes a Garden Soaked in Formaldehyde Will Bring Longevity” 2012/ Acrylic on wood panel, 18 x 14″

This last one has a translation error most likely because the ghost was breathing its hot 14th century bad breath down the back of my neck…

 

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Installment #6 of Capillary Reaction To Record the Joys of Naphthalene for my District Congressperson

Primary

“Primary Fast Frack With White and Black” 2011. Acrylic on (3) paper, 30 x 16″

Superfly.jpg

2014. Acrylic on wood panels, (6) 6 x 6″

First the Sun and Then the Moon Waxes Poetic The Radium-266 Superfly

I learn something new each time I research the side effects of hydrofracking:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/09/fracking-and-radioactivity/
Radium-266 is bad for humans, but inspiring beyond words to its namesake mutant species “superfly”. All day and night the superfly sings lustily of days to come and gone by—the willow that stretched to the stars and cracked with the first big wind, the last squirrel to pack soil over a nut, pick its head up to the sun, and cough up a blood clot, the dreams of a mate to fly with over the lake counting the floating fish in the moonlight… The superfly is a poet and a visionary. He sleeps subterranean for seven years subsisting in a bath of charged radium ions. Then at pre-dawn on midsummer night he rises with the sun to sing the song of the world and find a mate to cuddle up with for the next long radioactive sleep.
It wasn’t enough to have a hundred toxic chemicals bubbling in a murky frack pool, so we opted for mining some well-known carcinogenics too.
With a three-year lease, Landowner Ted can now afford an F350 run on natural gas, a tiller with its own choke, and cash payments for his grandson’s chemotherapy.
Also, unfortunately, for the next 16,000 years, Landowner Ted’s descendants cannot step outside without a mosquito netting cage. The superflies’ bite is instant death, and no pesticide can kill it.

It’s About Water You Suicidal Turtles! Water!

2015. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20″

It’s About Water You Suicidal Turtles! Water!

Opening night in Hamilton is over. I am freed up to continue amassing the first local environment painting exhibition that will be the last ever necessary. All adults of earth shall pass through the gallery thinking, “What has happened?” and “Why was I not meditating like an old ghost after having babies and teaching them the Golden Rule”?
I am convinced that, in the West anyway, art and artist must become the moral bullhorn to check humanity’s penchant for cardinal sin. I remember back during the Iraq “war” when I wrote to 40 local ministers and priests chastising them for being scared little puppies to their congregations. It seemed not one of them had the guts to outwardly protest the slaughter. The SUV’s kept driving in on Sunday mornings to hear of their personal greatness—the holy men had bills to pay, bell towers to repair at exorbitant union wages. Either way, protest or not, there would be many more crimes committed by the lost sheep, so keep quiet and share the spoils. I scolded them with the knowledge of how the church became the Hummer became the church. Not one response. Of course I never supplied a return address (I was an artist not a prophet).
Environmental disaster, like war, is not a concern to the corporate God men and women. Heaven is hard work. Few have time to think about earth, water, and air anymore. A good economy will refurbish the church, and while so many are frantically busy applying themselves to bloating the coffers (by all means), little artists paint pictures hand-slapping the bad men, who include even ministers and priests!

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

cardinaltumblr

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.

Capillary Reaction #4 Installment in Year and a Half Long Attempt To Replace Seat of Congressman With My Seat

ItsAlimentaryMyDear

2013. Acrylic on (5) 6 x 6″ wood panels

John Katko, New York’s 24th District U.S. Congressional Representative, thinks that fracking our land is an a-okay prospect and glorious economic opportunity for rural, landowning New Yorkers. So is drinking HCL if dissolved human flesh and bone was a marketable commodity. And believe me, bottles of it would be on supermarket shelves tomorrow if this were so. I think John likes money and dreams of reelection more than the biological systems of New York’s toddlers and infants. During the campaign I will challenge John to a month-long tour of Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and North Dakota fracking country where his water can only be drunk from residences within 300 yards of a frack well. If he isn’t green or blue by month’s end, I will cease to use fracking as a campaign issue.

It’s Alimentary My Dear Manslaughterer

In with the bad, out with what used to be bad, but is better now than what stayed in. Proof that the Beatle’s song “Helter Skelter” was bad medicine. Charles Manson took it in innocently enough, not knowing how it would mix things up inside, jive with his homicidal entitlement dreams, and be released into the wild. So he formed a cult and planned gruesome parties.
I believe that what makes a crazed Manson character must lie dormant in each and every one of us. We are guilty of abusing our own small powers sometimes. When power becomes absolute, whether expressed as micro from a stinky, run-down homicidal maniac’s ranch in Death Valley, or macro, by the state mandate from a Mao Zedong or Andrew Cuomo, it will corrupt absolutely. We are familiar with the popular phrase. We repeat it at parties, yet at election time, still vote for either party in a one party-pretending to be two party-system. The one, true party is made up of the corporitos. They party all summer long on the private beaches of Lake Superior. In Oswego at late summer, one can get a glimpse of their yacht captains battening down the hatches before a morning intercoastal departure to Florida. A month later they anchor their master’s ships for many warm winter parties beneath Miami moons.
You wouldn’t give Charles Manson the power to determine the potential fate of an entire people’s water supply for profit. Even if it would employ all the violent LSD soaked hippies on earth. What has Andrew Cuomo written on his “saint” wall to have you assume that he is looking out for your best interests? Who is your state senator and assemblyperson? Are any of them hobbyist nutritionists, chemicals scientists, structural engineers, mothers and fathers who would struggle to afford a year’s supply of home-delivered spring water?
The man in the painting knows the science. It’s alimentary dear Watson. If you drink benzene, you suffer benzene. What might not be so obvious is that your representative in power would trade your physical well being for a small profit if a corporito told him to.

2015. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36″

Think About It

The fact that a 48 year old man, simple, shy and nearly as honest as his neighbor ever was, feels the need to take up what the elites of my state are claiming is a cause célebre over the pros and cons of chemically infecting our water supply, is a sign of the black SUV times.
Even our local “public” radio is in on the money game, selling advertising to the gas men who espouse child leukemia as a justifiable result of fake farmer Fred’s purchase of a speed boat to play with while the subsidized high fructose corn syrup grows tall.
The governor is corrupt, his friends all greed punks, his girlfriend a very bad human being, and not even a good cook, really. Phenol crab cakes. A mixed green salad washed in naphthalene. A glass of formaldehyde Finger Lakes wine delivered to her door by the sleazy state senator who dreams paper money is happiness.
It amazes me that these lawyer-cowards are not hanging from a stick, by a thread, over a frack pool bubbling with mass community rage.
Stanley Milgram would have nodded his head while the people of the village turn the voltage up on their own screaming children.
So I take up paint and mix in what I think is the second most audacious power grab ever made by human beings. The first being the advent of probable nuclear annihilation by future lawyer-cowards. My neighbors watch and listen to the fake debate and wait to judge which side the hippies fall on. They all love CSN, and even Neil Young before he broke away and wrote the poetry of a grown-up. They just don’t appreciate hippies bearing a conscience. All are waiting for the lawyer-cowards to set up the tent of the crazy circus debate on hydrofracking. And established tools like my local public radio people perpetuate the power grab with credit card payment glee. They don’t need to be millionaires. They all just want to look like one.

fissures1.jpg

“Fissures!” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18″

Fissures Make Colorful Carcinogens, Yes?

A self-explanatory painting. Chemicals can be colorful. They are sent into the earth under high pressure. They come back up and float in a pool. That’s the way the gas men want it to be understood. Innocuous, maybe even slightly normal, and downright grand if it provides jobs to the job hungry.
Atmospheric temperatures must have stabilized overnight. No longer news worthy. Nobody is talking about it. Huzzah! Tomorrows are purified for our progeny!
No, not really. But that is how the established 4th estate expects us to think.
Headlines from NPR would have us assume that global warming just stopped, and that summer’s upstart is warm breeze and strawberries and wild fauna nesting soundly in the tall grass, swimming peacefully in pure and wild, wet waters, nibbling moist berries off the endless lush produce of mother earth…
NPR is government propaganda. Someone at the top of their machine is having lunch with Goebbels.
We could stop to get our bearings, reassess our dependencies, head into the future with strong backs and determination, but will not move a millimeter until our dollar takes its final nose dive into oblivion.
Still, with minimal effort we can break out of surface denial by making atmosphere talk our first attempt at every conversation. We could become mindful once again and use our cleanliness and good health and swell science to imitate 14th century Japanese royalty. We could write poetry, take day walks, stab to death the Carnegie Steel and Rockefeller Oil earth-hating drive-about we depend on more than our neighbors and families. We could naturalize our lives with creative job creation. That means we choose our local economies and dress them to our own survival tastes. Oil execs might have to be tortured gently. Fracking giants could have their heads politely lopped off. Military brass would get the picture after a sound fragging by its own sentient cannon fodder.
These punishing days will come. What’s unbelievable is that the majority of intelligent human beings refuse to articulate this with any regular pattern.
Geeze, even without a blog to help clear her fuzzier dreams, the woolly mammoth got smitten with bright yellow buttercups still digesting.
So, carpe diem, verdad?
Yes, of course. But let’s do it with some class. Let us witness some poetry crawl out of this Walmart funk hole we’ve born ourselves into. Use our liberal educations—read what the dead dogs wrote to become living lions once again. Don’t let the consumer culture barons fool you any longer. The woolly mammoth was a blind consumer too. What was lost in non-acquisition of petroleum plastics, she made up for a thousand times by expressing her true nature.
Express your true nature. Become who you were before you were born. Focus your dreams toward creative survival. Yes, even with the weekly trade off of coins for Scott Tissue paper. Doom should be the only preoccupation of any species’ grown-up. Even the crazed mega-neuronopolis doom of the human being king.

Installment #3 of “Capillary Reaction” To Counter the Simple Sentences of Politicians

Panem_et_Circenses

“Panem et Circenses”

John Katko wants to frack New York State. It will not bring money to poor Republican voters more than it will bring sadness and sickness. It is said quite often that we deserve the government we have. Tell that to the German Jew in 1935. Good government will allow the cream to rise to the top. Bad government just stinks because it is spoiled. Unfortunately, in a civilized world, we can’t just poor old John down the proverbial drain. So, we have to vote his kind out, and for good.  My campaign manager quips that it’s all well and good to complain about fracking, but tell us Ron, what do YOU use to heat your house? He’s right! By virtue of a rich, bad government, I am a poor hypocrite.

Vote Throop in 2018, and that distinction will change very quickly for all of us poor hypocrites. I will vote “no” on any and all subsidies/favors to the gas and oil industry. Above all, I will vote to make it much more difficult for oligarchs to fossil fuel exhaust our atmosphere, and push into the public discourse reasonable options to renewable energy. And like the poor hypocrite President Jimmy Carter, I will persuade my constituents to wear sweaters and cozy bed caps in the wintertime.

The “Bread and Circuses” wine bar. 2013. An old secretary turned into a morality kiosk to display my politics and country wines. New York summers are a fruity lush paradise. The forager can feel all squire-like berry picking along the public road. With some vine yeast and modest initial investment in equipment, delicious, potent wines can be had by the time the four month lock down of a New York winter temporarily close all doors to hope, health and happiness.
Elderberry, dandelion, blueberry, and my personal favorite, blackberry. They are high proof, delusion of grandeur wines, aged just long enough to make the common man feel as powerful as any governor coached in the backseat of a black SUV.
I will now attempt to break down the story that is painted in the work above. First off, please note that it is an opinion piece. I am one of those rare modern fools who still preserves some 19th century, quirky human misfortunes. Especially in matters of life and death. Winter, by virtue of the wine, recharge my dreams of equality, and I convince myself that, beyond communal law, no person has authority over another. That is, the Golden Rule should be the only indicator applied to all community problems—local, state, national, private, and public. Of course no democratic or totalitarian regimes ever abide by this simple application of human justice. Anarchism, which is likely impossible, is a label word reserved for the young and dumb, who might actually believe that such a system applied would preserve texting and orange juice for lunch when desired. However, localism is a word to scare the designer underwear off any crooked piece of garbage humanoid, who would suffer most under its auspices. That is, representatives of the multimillion billion dollar corporations—puppets easily placed into positions of power and influence. Our present day governor being one such corporito empowered by a system at war with the Golden Rule.
I sincerely believe in the libertarian idea of nullification, but only if backed up by a local economy. There are 18 + million people living in this state. One man and two parties, made up of many corrupt lawyers do not represent even the tiniest fraction of our families. They support ideas, loud ones, that seldom come from the hearts and minds of the real men and women who vote in November. Manufactured debates, wedge issues, to line up one candidate against the other, when both are just nefarious party stooges snorting coke at private functions.
Which leads to one panel of the secretary with the following text: The Farmer-governor Teaches the Coke-sniffing Governor Empathy on a Stick. My ancestor Enos Throop was governor of New York State from 1829-1832. He was not re-elected because he was a farmer in a time when a farmer had to answer to each one of his farmer neighbors. His farmer neighbors did not want the governor to tax them so that the farmers of Hamilton, Binghamton and Utica could have the state build a canal (The Chenango) to enrich their farms. Hence the interior of the secretary where I have Enos water board our present day governor. Why not? The President declares that his minions at the CIA have that right. So my imagination can too.
Another panel depicts the water-born disease of cholera, so often epidemic in 19th century America. Enos had to deal with the outbreak during his governorship, through no fault of his own. He traveled to inflicted towns and cities to oversee the tragedy and spread the idea of calm leadership throughout the panic. Cholera ruled the streets before Mr. Snow put the new science into practice, locally, without multimillion dollar profit driven research by GlaxoSmithKline. The dandy choleras are out enjoying a Sunday evening stroll.
On the back is a rack for the country wines, and a homage to the famous old west U.S. Marshal entitled Leadership During the Time of the Cholera.
Individual homemade country wines bear the following labels:

Elderberry Heaven/Elderberry Hell/offer Mr. Cuomo/ a glass of HCL

Blackberry—Ready or Not/V2O5/Try to keep your kids alive

Dandelion toluene/a glass of golden sea/a cheap, if less efficient/lobotomy
Blueberry—Share this with a lover to woo/or a close friend to confide/ C5H8O2/or just glutaraldehyde

Finally the secretary’s legs are dressed up with a skeletal Cuomo gesticulating with the words: Andrew doth dance ’round the leukemic hole Jole.
And the Devil with, Satan cries a toluene tear.
There’s a human hand holding a salt loaf of bread, dried basil and tobacco strung around a piece of shale with a photograph of Cuomo and a painting of Throop pasted on a rock. I displayed the wine bar last spring and summer with an essay handout authored by yours truly, and an old speech by Governor Throop (that he wrote himself), explaining his position on the future construction of the Chenango Canal. Both are written by men bearing a conscience. A virtue that power brokers in the present day state of New York fear like rational people fear a family-shrinking infected water supply.
Come to the wine bar and we shall toast the nullification of corrupt human beings, which today means anyone seeking power as a representative in New York State.

Without The Presence of a Justice Gene, Public Radio Will Have a Strong Corporate Bias

GeneTumblr

Acrylic on canvas, 36 X 36″

Sonny Tupaj of Raphael’s Restaurante, teenage chef and individual child hobo like myself, must have had an insight into the psyche of my future being when he would greet me every time with a fazed look and the spoken word, “why?” “Why Ron, why?” I guess it was my token expression among friends, my most used word during the discovery years of youth. Even my grandmother from her nursing home bed said I was an aspiring philosopher, and another friend, I forget who, called me philosopher Ron. I remember getting punched in the cheek during a flash rumble and turning back to face my opponent to ask him “why, why did you just do that?”

My curiosity was most always human related. I certainly was not (am not) full of wonder, like a child asking, “what is the grass?” Unlike my practical teenaged friends, I didn’t care to know how a car engine worked, or how to attach a door to its jamb. But I was concerned about human behavior. Why did my friend Kyle kick me in the balls just to show off to an older kid he wanted to impress? Why did Rich, the neglected suburban child-poet, decide that dairy farming beheld a bright future? Why did I end up being such an underachieving hoodlum when I wanted to be a forest ranger and had such a healthy lust for sports? Etcetera.

As I grew older, I pushed further with the whys. My first “A” in college was a class in sociology, above a “D” in calculus, and a “C” in accounting. Regrettably, I remained a business major for two more years until my first history elective. Then “whack”! The “whys” had it. I changed majors, truly excited was I to find the answers that history provided. No gray area in hindsight. Kennedy slept with lots of women while he determined the fate of earth with nuclear testings. Hoover was an incompetent bully buffoon who swore that MLK was a communist because, according to that pasty-faced idiot, all black people who had cultural and political thoughts must be communist.

Of course, reading history only inflamed the “whys”. I read literature, seeking more answers. Kurt Vonnegut was a “why” man. Slaughterhouse 5 would lose all of its charm (and sales), but not much of its meaning, if Vonnegut published the word “why” on one page, and left it at that.

From literature, to psychology, and finally back to sociology. Stanley Milgram discovered more than an innate penchant for humanity to follow the leader. He unknowingly discovered the presence of a justice gene. That is my hypothesis anyway, and genetic research might not be too far off confirming it. For those not familiar with his work, Milgram ran tests at Yale in 1961 to determine how it was possible for thousands of ordinary Germans to carry out the holocaust. Read about his experiment. It alone has answered so many local and national “whys” for me. The potential of power and propaganda to shape public opinion is greater than the individual ability to think for oneself.  All forty participants in his study put 300 volts (also labeled “Extreme Intensity Shock”) into an actor because he was failing a word game, and the man wearing the lab coat in the electrocution room told them to proceed. From the other room the actor was crying out that he had enough, stop the experiment. 26 of the 40 took this torture up to 450 volts (past “Danger: Severe Shock”), several jolts after the actor went silent in the next room.

I believe that had Milgram tested a thousand people instead of forty, at least one would have stopped the moment an “ouch” was heard from the adjoining room. The other 999 would match similar results from the original 40 tested. That unfortunate person would possess what I call “the justice gene”. I also surmise that testing reticent teenagers would have skewed his results and shown more justice genes as a group; even more so among populations of Native Americans. I cannot imagine 26 out of 40 reservation Navajo juicing to death another Navajo because some goofy dude in a white coat told them to.

Anyway, to the painting.

I have that justice gene. It expressed itself as the ever present “why” when I was a boy. I know of it now while listening to National Propaganda Radio. The latter has contracted with America’s Natural Gas Alliance to promote its agenda in exchange for the minds of the last hold out Americans. Their campaign is called “Think About It”, and its sole purpose is to normalize the potential disaster of hydrofracking among those who feel themselves sophisticated enough to listen to the man in the lab coat tell them how to think at any hour of the day. NPR and America’s Natural Gas Alliance know that the game will be won, that it’s just a matter of time. Every day I feel like the one in a thousand who wasn’t asked to participate in the Milgram obedience experiment. By this, I also believe that any employee of NPR, and by association, my local public radio station, daily administers an “Extreme Intensity Shock” to  his or her neighbor. None of them have ever asked why. They wait to be told what to say, and they broadcast it over the airwaves to a 100,000 people.

So Sonny Tupaj, upon meeting up again 30 years late, address me now with the great and  unnecessary interrogative “why?”.

And here is my answer: Because I know in my heart of hearts, that without the presence of a  justice gene, you my old friend, would fry me in a chair if the radio, television or the President told you to. I know that the propagandists know exactly what they are doing. Media programming has one universal agenda, whether it be Rupert Murdoch’s Fox TV, the New York Times, or geographically significant “little” WRVO the public radio station. Their programming is meant to program you. Your thoughts are not your thoughts.

Or Sonny, today you may be a fan of pretend right wing talk radio. Say, Rush Limbaugh, who is NPR heavy as the latter is light on Limbaugh. He doesn’t like anti-frackers either. He wants jobs too. There is no talk of Clean Energy Acts on his show, nor the effects of benzene in the water, or mile long 1-inch thick cement casings that need to hold their structure forever, even after the hundred mini-earthquakes have rattled its integrity. You will never hear of paid for in-your-face media stories on the dangers of hydrofracking. Both Rush and NPR forbid it. If you get any information, it will include both side’s issues of a manufactured debate. Turn on the radio to hear a well engineer talk of the dangers of hydrofracking, or a scientific explanation of half-life testings of fracking chemicals, and leave it at that? Never. All those guys have been obediently electrocuted. Silenced by the obedient assistants to the man in the white lab coat.

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Particularly Nice Weather, Tar and Tickle Texas Feather

Texas

2014. Acrylic on canvas, 26 X 34″

Part of my literature for the upcoming spring show:

While at the periodontist yesterday I read a recent interview with Bob Dylan in AARP magazine. Rotting gums, Bob Dylan, and a bland publication representing a powerful lobby of 35 million members. Not much excitement to look forward to after 50, if I decide to tow the line with this lifestyle. Anyway, Dylan remarked that he is no longer passionate, that that’s a young man’s game. The elders should seek wisdom, or at least shut-up and fake it with boring silence. Yet in the same interview he admitted that perhaps there isn’t a generational difference between the minds of old and young after all. Maybe grandpa can relate to all things granddaughter and vice-versa. Then he told the interviewer that he doesn’t worry if his records sell or not. His business people take care of that.

Here is a point in time where both wisdom and passion can collaborate, if one chooses to act, whether she be fifteen or fifty-five. First the facts up front. Bob Dylan is a multimillionaire who has a business team of professionals working for him night and day. The AARP is a multimillion dollar lobby putting all American people over 50 in a blender and aging them together on high puree. A periodonist is expensive but worth the investment if you still long for a kiss at midnight, but hope to avoid your lover’s tongue prying off your lower partial.

Period.

Now I will spend a moment in my imagination, and work through the institutional obfuscations that plague all innocent ninety-nine percenters of the earth, and leave them daily worried, bewildered, and confused. The media has never been so practically omnipotent wielding its power to keep minds, and what are supposed to be wiser minds (those over 50 at the periodontist), at rest, in a kind of living death-rest way. I read what Bob Dylan has to say, and suddenly feel, that yeah, maybe he’s right. I shouldn’t be passionate anymore. I should just grow old, find drugs to decrease my joint pain, and shut up. Even if I arrived to the periodonist singing along and imagination dancing to what Jagger and Richards thought passionate back in 1974, I must come to terms with my old age eventually, give up all firecracker electricity in my veins, get out of the car, check my belt, adjust my glasses, and enter one of the many waiting rooms of my future. No spark. No passion. Just quiet wisdom. And look! The new issue of AARP. Advertisements, pop culture, television, an interesting hobby, travel, gum disease, tooth extraction, and then death. Many studies have proven that the dispassionate actually choose what type of deodorant to buy. The dispassionate want quick weeknight meals, packages to tropical island getaways, historical vignettes, and even an interview with an elder, creative millionaire who, at present, is pretending to be a 1940’s lounge crooner.

Sometimes my mind can work through these persistent media distortions. I actually agreed with Bob Dylan, until I got back into my car, turned on the CD, and listened to his 1981 non-smash hit, “The Property of Jesus”. The gears began turning. I thought about my upcoming painting exhibition on hydrofracking, an adulthood of going my own way (always against the AARP grain), and strangely enough, my lifelong friend Pat and an expression he’d often share with me. (I’ll get to that in a moment.)

I want to quote Dylan’s lyrics in full, minus the repetition of the refrain:

Go ahead and talk about him because he makes you doubt
Because he has denied himself the things that you can’t live without
Laugh at him behind his back just like the others do
Remind him of what he used to be when he comes walkin’ through

He’s the property of Jesus
Resent him to the bone
You got something better
You’ve got a heart of stone

Stop your conversation when he passes on the street
Hope he falls upon himself, oh, won’t that be sweet
Because he can’t be exploited by superstition anymore
Because he can’t be bribed or bought by the things that you adore

When the whip that’s keeping you in line doesn’t make him jump
Say he’s hard-of-hearin’, say that he’s a chump
Say he’s out of step with reality as you try to test his nerve
Because he doesn’t pay no tribute to the king that you serve

Say that he’s a loser ’cause he got no common sense
Because he don’t increase his worth at someone else’s expense
Because he’s not afraid of trying, say he’s got no style
’Cause he doesn’t tell you jokes or fairy tales, say things to make you smile

You can laugh at salvation, you can play Olympic games
You think that when you rest at last you’ll go back from where you came
But you’ve picked up quite a story and you’ve changed since the womb
What happened to the real you, you’ve been captured but by whom?

Boy, I know that feeling Dylan had and evoked with this song, and it’s not just for the Born Again Christians, of which I am not one at present. It is radical, for humans anyway, in the sense that it is deeply rooted in our DNA and impossible to kill. It is the essence of individuality expressed as righteousness unto the clan. Society needs more individuality, not less. But not the kind that promotes itself, rather one that nurtures love of life, and right environment for all to share. Very difficult to love life from a cesspool. I believe that every healthy mind feels this way, that is, morally, upon waking up in the morning. At least one begins so each day before the virtual onslaught of media mores, which sadly have become the norm in gaging how society behaves in public. That is, wholly dispassionate, quiet, careful, without opinion expressed outside of the everyday fact that “I am human”, just as any streamlined institution says what it is depending on the product to be sold or the idea being disseminated; “I am fruit cocktail”, or “Liberals are communists”, or “I am Bob Dylan the wise old man who could afford a private nose-picker if desired”. Those lyrics express what it truly means to be human among humans… Passionate for the betterment of all. And I don’t see any age requirement. As a Christian holding tightly to morality, Born Again Bob wasn’t feeling ostracized because he rode around in private planes, but he sure as hell should feel that way now.

Okay, back to my friend Pat, and what he said to the opposite sex a few times when we were fourteen. He would walk up to a girl he knew, she might be opening her locker or sitting on the bleachers at a football game, and he would whisper by her ear, “Tickle your ass with a feather?”

The girl would exclaim, “What did you say?”

To which Pat immediately followed with, “Particularly nice weather?”

This memory pops into my head from time to time. I can’t help it, the brain is a mysterious recollector. Anyway, I come home from the periodontist, all jacked up with angst and gum pain, and I start painting while day dreaming of what I really want to do to the gas men, which is, tar and feather them. Unfortunately, it’s already late in the day. I have been AARP’d and orally violated to the point of my drool bib getting Pollocked all bloody, so my age begins to show by nightfall, and although I want the corporitos publically humiliated and dragged through the streets, I remember my media training in dispassion, and write instead,

Particularly Nice Weather, Tar and Tickle Texas Feather

It’s the safer way to keep eyes affixed to the painting. Even though it will hang at a gallery called “ArtRage”, I am reminded by Bob Dylan and the AARP that it is foolhardy to make passionate expression at late middle age. Even if I have nothing to lose! Opinions are always suspected. Negative ones can place you in the order of fanatics. Once Bob Dylan expressed his belief in Jesus, he immediately became a fanatic to the cultured, dispassionate public. If I tell (or yell) my fracking woes too loudly, I will be deemed environmental fanatic. No one ever calls the gas lobbyist fanatical, maybe because he wears a suit and has a manicure, but what is he if not Mr. Fanatic himself, spending a life’s profession pushing for just one platform? Even I, as painter, will go on to the next subject after ArtRage. We, as dispassionate Americans, allow this trespass on our families, without a fight. It is polite. Shhh. Quiet. It is best to pretend wisdom like Bob Dylan getting old.

After leaving the periodontist and coming home to paint, which is my passion, I realize now, more than yesterday, that AARP Magazine will never show on its cover the face of a sick child affected by water and air pollution produced by hydrofracking. They will continue to feature dispassionate people like Bob Dylan in his cool new hat. He won’t mention hydrofracking either—his business people frown on political opinions generated by old millionaires. It upsets the purchasing climate. AARP would sell less Toyotas and prescription medications, and Bob Dylan would pass away wondering why nobody cared that he dreamed he was the idol of the bobby soxers.

I need to work on my passion. Not only is it the voice of wisdom, but it’s all I have internally after a life lived loving Bob Dylan songs . When fifty, I’d rather be the property of a defunct Jesus, than belonging to the old age club that credentials anyone, even a pimp or pedophile, simply because they have hit a time marker. I think tortoises and elephants can get in too, as long as they reached a ripe old age in captivity.