philosophy

I Made an Anger Painting Without Hurting Anyone

it

kentucky1

“A Kentucky Senator With A Dynamite Auger Drilled Through His Neurocranium” 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10″

Not too long ago at a poker night excuse to drink beer I was stuck in argument with an economist friend of mine about the U.S. tax system. At the time I knew a young man, just a year out of high school, who, upon graduation landed a job in a local factory making shoe boxes. It was the first year he had to pay federal taxes and Uncle Sam was expecting 17% of his income (it already took a big piece bi-weekly, but wanted more to make up the difference). My friend the economist thought that 17% actually might not be enough and suggested that maybe this young dude shouldn’t complain so much.

I was nonplussed. All I could blurt out was something like “That’s a lot of rent money to extort for another aircraft carrier!” I would hope that my friend got my meaning, but I believe it was lost to him. I don’t think he knew offhand the actual percentage of U.S. budget getting doled out to the military (few facts are surmised these days without iPhone back-up), but I’m sure he knew from private living and teaching experience that it comprised an eye-popping chunk of the treasury’s mother-load, and then some.

Worse, he probably went home and thought dualistically about my politics, as many often do—that I must side with evil if not the good. The “either/or’es” —you’re either with us or against us. The people who despise the out group and distrust those within. A very lonely club devised long, long ago by the first man to ever use the goodness of another for personal gain.

What I meant to say on poker night was that I would expect to pay 95% of my salary if I believed a government was using this money to help care for my family and yours.

All caps following, and I seldom use all caps:

IT DOES NOT.

The players think they got us by the sneaks. That in order to be good children we must pay our federal tax or else face the consequences. And the super majority of us will pay, no doubt about it. It’s scary not to. Good Americans, like good Germans before them, do not like to break the law. The players assure us it ain’t all that bad—each person is well represented by an incorruptible congressperson overseeing an arbitrary block of 600,000+ people, or, as in the case of one of my senators from New York, a massive baying herd of over eight million people.

I think you can tell where this is going.

Because we have no say in the money and how we are “protected” by decision-makers in Congress, then I declare that institution unlawful and illegitimate.

So, I believe we have an out-of-control state run mafia that does not show the slightest indication that any day now it will turn itself in. What to do…

I do not advocate insurrection—even while Congress legislates to kill off Americans. I do not think enough of us are angry like people of the past who were starving and therefore prone to anger. How many of us have a smart phone contract? Raise your hands.

See? We’re not truly angry resistors. Neither to Trump mafia nor Obama mafia. Actually in the great line of time, the super-majority of us are just ineffectual political wussies. It would be okay if some of us weren’t going out and copying our negligently homocidal legislators with horrific crimes to humanity. That’s what happens with disenfranchisement. The desperate with nothing to loose start hammering away at those whom they think win all the time. Even folks like you and me, working check to check, yet still attempting a check to power, even in the most limited ways.

Both Democrats and Republicans are ignoring a single-payer system—they take our tax money and provide insurance companies with sick, paying, animals. Both are guilty of watching our families get sick and die with our own money. The game being played now is refereed by Big Insurance and Big Pharmaceutical (“Big” is their word, not mine. I believe there are no tinier humanoids in the land).

I can explain this painting and therefore exonerate myself from the partaking of any violent radical acts in the future. I have my alibi, and owe much of its construction to the first career I could obtain while coming of age in crazy county, U.S.A. Whenever I’m given a bloated piece of anger meat, I let it rest for a few days. Then I marinate it in acidic thought and reflection, turn the burner up high, and sear in all thoughts worth keeping. I never take anger out of the kitchen and yet I rarely dine alone (Thank you wife and Internet). Onto channeling my next career as painter, which hard copies an illustration of a bloated Kentucky senator making decisions with the money I put aside for upcoming life and death. I don’t like his ideas. So I paint a dynamite auger into his neurocranium.

Works for me!

I can do this because I’m an artist and not a killer. I wish no final future for this man different from one of my very own mother. A peaceful, non-painful demise. I’ve smeared the end of the dynamite auger with an instant-acting opiate releasing ten times the strength of the most non-lethal morphine injection.

Again, artistic license. What else can a poor boy do?

 

 

 

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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″

The Last Anxiety Dream

roseworking

“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″

spirit animal

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

rosegoldfish

“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….

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.

 

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.