“Dear Military Brass, Can You Please Stop Scrambling Our Children’s Brains With These Testosterone Smoothies?” 2017. Acrylic on poly (methyl methacrylate), 16 x 20″
Can you? Can you please stop? Just for a little while, please, please, please?
“Dear Military Brass, Can You Please Stop Scrambling Our Children’s Brains With These Testosterone Smoothies?” 2017. Acrylic on poly (methyl methacrylate), 16 x 20″
Can you? Can you please stop? Just for a little while, please, please, please?
“I Know Lake Ontario Doesn’t Look Like This in April, but Maybe It Should” 2017. Acrylic on birch panel, 24 x 24″
“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!
“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″
“Dollar Store Frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu and Blueberry Muffin on Ceramic Plate Made in China, $3.08” 2017. Acrylic on plate, dinner plate size
“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″
“How I Look and Feel at the Dollar Store in Town” 2017. Acrylic on dollar store frame, 8 x 10″
“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″
“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″
“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.
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.
“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….
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.
“Primary Fast Frack With White and Black” 2011. Acrylic on (3) paper, 30 x 16″
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
“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.