Friday, September 28, 2012

Coffee with Swami, not the Mona Lisa

This morning I got up about five. After starting the coffee, I went outside for a look at the stars. Venus was in the east over the Bird Park, Jupiter at the top and in the west a nearly full moon had just dipped behind Dwayne's giant arching willow tree of life which fills that once horizon beyond our backyard fence. This behemoth entirely blocks our view of the Sierra, the one we enjoyed when the housing development was new and had no trees of note. In spite of all that, the moon was quite lovely glowing through its branches. I ran in to get my camera but by the time I got back, only moments later, it had slipped further down and it's light too obscure so I didn't bother.You'll have to use your imagination.

Instead, and still before dawn, I worked on my current new painting. This one is of Swami, the Invisible Theatre's  first and most venerable resident. He's a great model, always upbeat and encouraging. As the Mona Lisa was one of the few must-see treasures we obstinately did not see during our five weeks in Paris this summer, I created a Mona Lisa type backdrop for him. At the moment, I'm struggling with the hills over his left shoulder. I will have to paint them out and start over. For the little experience I've had working with oils I miss them. It's pretty hard pushing acrylics around. They are water colors after all and dry in a flash. And, no excuse, but this is only my third time using them. At least I am not suffering the delusion that I have to match the Master.  So on with the day. Have a good one.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Mexican Mormon War

"As long as drugs are illegal in the US, America is the swimming pool, Mexico is the dining board." - Kelly Romney, Mitt Romney's cousin.

The Mexican Mormon War 1/7

This by way of VICE News from M. Lee this morning, thank you very much. It's well worth a watch.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Compassionate pig

Compassionate pig rescues baby goat whose foot is stuck underwater at petting zoo.

This short video should challenge the thoughtful still attached to the idea that animals are incapable of "human" emotions like compassion and empathy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Art Brut & Centre Pompidou

Art brut:  Art by psychiatric patients, prisoners, and children according to Jean Dubuffet who coined the term. Low art. Outsider art. I fit somewhere in that. So said, here is my latest. It was a bday present for M. Lee last week. The image is based on a photograph I took of him wandering through Dubuffet's Jardin d'hiver (Winter Garden) at Centre Pompidou in Paris this summer. Along with this huge installation, we spent hours wandering through their MASSIVE collection of fabulous art. I believe, of all the museums we visited this summer, it was my favorite.

M. Lee in Dubuffet's Jardin d'hiver
(acrylic on poster board)

So, as you might expect from any outsider/psychiatric patient/criminal/child artist type, the perspectives in this painting are a bit askew so don't try following them out. I do think I captured the essence of M. Lee rather nicely though, and all in one day, although he was a bit concerned about being a blue alien.

Centre Pompidou, Paris

M. Dubuffet

Monday, September 17, 2012

Little birds in a random universe

Commenting on my earlier post today, Roy wrote... "I'm sorry. Sometimes the universe is too random for the little guys like that."

Wise words, cold comfort but they help. 

I went out this afternoon to bury the little bird who died in my care sometime over the night. I was not prepared for what I found. Last night I thought he had snuggled safely into the folds of the big blue towel I padded the terrarium with. I checked before I went to bed. All seemed well. He was safe from predators. I left him with a pile of tasty sunflower and thistle seeds and watermelon to stay hydrated. All tucked in for the night. Warm evening.

Upon opening the screen this afternoon, I saw that at some point he got tangled up in a long loose thread in the towel, twisting and turning so violently that the string wrapped several times around his neck and broke it. I am heartsick. I buried him in the tiny graveyard that has developed in the Bird Park by the aspen trees. So it is; life and death in a universe that is sometimes too random for us all.

Window alerts

Sadly, it looks like the little finch I rescued last night died. He hasn't moved since tucking himself into the folds of the towel inside the terrarium. I'll bury him this evening. He was such a tiny fellow. When I picked him up yesterday he didn't weigh much more than his feathers.

I don't know what brought him down but suspect he may have hit my window. I feel very guilty. Yes, I know. Birds hit windows all the time, millions a year but, and here's the difference, I bought decals designed to alert birds to windows. Putting them up has been on my To Do list ever since, about a year. Crap. They reflect ultraviolet light that glows like a stoplight for birds whose vision is up to 12 times better than ours. So this morning I washed the damn window and will put them up when it's warm enough. Available at WindowAlert. Cheap.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bird in the Hand

Baby quail. A former Bird Park rescue with a happy ending.
No photos. I don't want to scare the little guy but there's a little finch in the Bird Park Hospital tonight. I found him when I was out refilling the feeders at twilight. He was on the ground, strong enough to skitter but unable to fly. I am ready for such emergencies from past rescues so I ran and got the terrarium, screen cover and a nice big soft towel. Unfortunately, he really freaked when I picked him up but in an instant he was nestling into the folds of the towel and nearly out of sight. I added some yummy seeds and a dollop of watermelon for moisture, secured the top and left him to the night and god. I hope he's still alive in the morning and ready to return to the wild. Keep a good thought.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Letters of Note: This is my last visit

M. Lee sent me this link from Letters of Note, a site I knew nothing about until today. I think It's a wonderful read, even if you are not a fan of William Burroughs or Truman Capote. See for yourself. For your reading pleasure...

July 23, 1970

My Dear Mr. Truman Capote

This is not a fan letter in the usual sense — unless you refer to ceiling fans in Panama. Rather call this a letter from "the reader" — vital statistics are not in capital letters — a selection from marginal notes on material submitted as all "writing" is submitted to this department. I have followed your literary development from its inception, conducting on behalf of the department I represent a series of inquiries as exhaustive as your own recent investigations in the sun flower state. I have interviewed all your characters beginning with Miriam — in her case withholding sugar over a period of several days proved sufficient inducement to render her quite communicative — I prefer to have all the facts at my disposal before taking action. Needless to say, I have read the recent exchange of genialities between Mr Kenneth Tynan and yourself. I feel that he was much too lenient. Your recent appearance before a senatorial committee on which occasion you spoke in favor of continuing the present police practice of extracting confessions by denying the accused the right of consulting consul prior to making a statement also came to my attention. In effect you were speaking in approval of standard police procedure: obtaining statements through brutality and duress, whereas an intelligent police force would rely on evidence rather than enforced confessions. You further cheapened yourself by reiterating the banal argument that echoes through letters to the editor whenever the issue of capital punishment is raised: "Why all this sympathy for the murderer and none for his innocent victims?" I have in line of duty read all your published work. The early work was in some respects promising — I refer particularly to the short stories. You were granted an area for psychic development. It seemed for a while as if you would make good use of this grant. You choose instead to sell out a talent that is not yours to sell. You have written a dull unreadable book which could have been written by any staff writer on the New Yorker — (an undercover reactionary periodical dedicated to the interests of vested American wealth). You have placed your services at the disposal of interests who are turning America into a police state by the simple device of deliberately fostering the conditions that give rise to criminality and then demanding increased police powers and the retention of capital punishment to deal with the situation they have created. You have betrayed and sold out the talent that was granted you by this department. That talent is now officially withdrawn. Enjoy your dirty money. You will never have anything else. You will never write another sentence above the level of In Cold Blood. As a writer you are finished. Over and out. Are you tracking me? Know who I am? You know me, Truman. You have known me for a long time. This is my last visit.

William S. Burroughs

(Source: Rub Out The Words - The Letters Of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974; Image: Polaroids of William Burroughs & Truman Capote, by Andy Warhol, via RealityStudio.)

Letters of Note: This is my last visit

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sam Bacile's gift to the world

TRIPOLI, Libya, Sept. 11, 2012 -- The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi by protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Hate monger Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew and who said he produced, directed and wrote the two-hour film, "Innocence of Muslims," said he had not anticipated such a furious reaction. This cowardly bastard is now "in hiding" while others pay for his little exposé with their lives.

Update: Just for the record, as searches on the subject direct people to this post, "Sam Bacile" is one of the many aliases for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula a convicted felon from Cerritos, California. Nakoula and Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih, the president of the Duarte-based charity Media for Christ, emerged Thursday as forces behind "Innocence of Muslims", the low-budget film which incited violence in recent days across the Arab world.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hustler's million dollar bounty on Romney

Two at a time

As always, the Seven O'clock Magpie, was the first to discover we are back and for a few golden days she had all the peanuts and kibble to herself. Those first two days, she didn't even eat it all. But not so this morning. This morning the tribe showed up and gobbled everything in minutes. I am impressed that now most of them are expert at grabbing two peanuts per swoop. It wasn't always so.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Optical illusion or pearl of light?

Most of Tonopah is below ground.

Outhouse behind Mizpah Hotel.
Note the TP still on the roll.

On the surface, streets and buildings

Rm. 501
Outdoor spotlights shining into our room
made sleep the first night nearly impossible.

rest precariously on twisting, overlapping,

Keeping out the light.

intersecting mazes of miner's tunnels

"Pearl" or glitch?
That white dot isn't in the other
other photos I took of the curtain.

miles and miles long.

Lady in Red's "pearl" or optical illusion?

They are the real Tonopah.

Last Dance in Tonopah

It's that time in Tonopah again.

I assume the small chairs in the lobby are for
the ghost children who are said to haunt the hotel.

But this time it's the last time. At least for now. I'm really going to miss this place. It's been a long run.

Main Street at night.

But the Mizpah is (finally) open so, for this last and final trip, we've got a room there. It's a good farewell. I've been photographing the place for years while it was closed and shuttered. I never thought I'd actually get inside, much less stay there.

Open at last.

We're on the 5th floor, right next to the room of the Lady in Red. As the story goes, she was strangled just outside our door. That was in the 1920s and ever since people have reported that she still walks the hallways and occasionally leaves a pearl from her broken necklace on a pillow. No disrespect, but I'll let you know if anything strange happens.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Baby Frank, chillin' under the apple tree

Holy cow! He's already nine days old.

Baby Frank, four days old.

We had a great visit in Portland. In fact, it was about as perfect as it gets; perfect weather, great fun with the kids, grown-ups, dogs and Willie Nelson the Cat, sweet sweet just picked tomatoes and other vegetables right out of the garden for family dinners under Thea Bella's old apple tree and in Big Boy Leo and Baby Frank's backyard.

Leo & Thea ride the red wagon

Every now and then the stars line up and this was just one of those times. Happy happy Birth Day, Frank and may you enjoy many many more.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Baby Frank

Beautiful moon face Baby Frank made it into the world on the 28th. We had some concern the day before as he was overdue and had begun swallowing meconium. That can lead to even fatal complications but he's fine. And Leo is adapting nicely to his new role as big brother. Whew.