To be honest, I'm not much for abstract art. I like art where the artist is trying to make me think or make me feel something, but in order to do that, it's generally necessary for the work to actually be clearly representative of something. If you can rotate the work by 90 degrees, either way, and not be able to say, "That's sideways," then in my opinion, it's not representative enough. It's just a color Rorschach test, and it's not for me.
There was another postcard a few days ago from a Naples gallery about an exhibition titled "Let's Go To the Beach," featuring paintings of the beach in various styles. One artist (I don't remember his name) had a couple of beautifully photorealistic paintings, one of waves rolling in from the Gulf, the other of water bubbling and pooling at the tide line, with sea shells on the sand. Most of the other works were impressionistic. As I told my partner on the machine, "Hey, if I want impressionistic, I'll just take my glasses off!"
She lives with journalist Jonina Leosdottir, who became her civil partner in 2002, and has two sons from a previous marriage.The difference between America and Iceland is that when our journalists go down on the president, they only do it figuratively.
And then we have the modified logo:
For my next poster, I've got to find a picture of Vladimir Lenin. It's gonna say "Change."
Ah, here we go:
You say you want a revolution, well, you know...
When I left the house at 10:00, the temperature was up to 59 degrees and rising. By the time I got to Manatee Park, it was up to 63. The place was packed, with auxiliary parking in the grassy areas near the fence. I found a place to park and took my camera with me to the observation area. There were manatees all along the river, but the best spot for observing them was a shallow alcove where there were at least forty of them visible. They came in all sizes, from large bulls and cows all the way down to the babies. I really liked this shot of the baby manatee cuddling up to his mother:
Mostly, they lazed about in the shallow water, coming up every so often for air and to blow water out of their nostrils. We did see one that swam swiftly from one side of the alcove to the other as if he was late for dinner. He was the only one who showed any signs of being in a hurry, though.
I fired off a bunch of pictures, hoping that some of them would turn out well. I was surprised to find that most of them came out pretty well. Here is a nice group shot:
Many of the older manatees have scars on their hides from unfortunate meetings with boats and their propellers, as you can see on the big one in the middle of the picture above. I liked this picture of the baby manatee poking out of the water next to the two grizzled veterans:
All in all, not a bad morning. It's turning into a beautiful day.
The last three days have all been in the 30s when I got off work, but today is a few degrees warmer than yesterday. The added benefit is that due to the cold dry air, the sunrises have been marvelous the last three days, a Technicolor rainbow from purplish-red through orange, yellow, green, blue and then into indigo, all before the sun cleared the horizon.
I'm sure most of you are saying, "Hey, low 30s, sounds pretty nice to me compared to what we have here." And comparatively, you're probably right. What must be understood, however, is that low 30s is within spitting distance of record cold temperatures for the day in Southwest Florida. 30 degrees for us is about like -10 or -20 where you're at.
In any case, the cold sent me into hibernation. I slept most of yesterday, mainly because I could. I was well-rested for work last night. They're talking about one more cold morning tomorrow, and then things should warm back up to normal.
As many have noted, it was ironic that on the day a black man was inaugurated as President of the United States of America, the Senate's only former Ku Klux Klansman collapsed. And with two superannuated Democrat Senators being felled yesterday, that's not a good trend for the Democrats. If they keep dropping like that, it won't be long until the Republicans regain the majority.
So, how long do you think it will be until we start seeing some of those ancient liberals on the Supreme Court announcing their retirements, now that their replacements would be named by a Democrat? You know that the old coots have been hanging on, saying to themselves, "I can't die or retire yet, because then George Bush would name a conservative to replace me!" Maybe now they'll get a chance to stop and smell the roses... Or maybe they'll go out like Chief Justice Rehnquist did, with their boots on.
God bless America.
Update 12:30 p.m.: They could have skipped the poet at the end. I don't like stream-of-consciousness masquerading as poetry. Poetry is supposed to have rhyme and meter. It's like abstract art where somebody sloshes paint on a canvas. Anyone can do that. Well, I'll say it: The emperor has no clothes, and the poet has no poetry.
First, there are video games, whose sales were over $21 billion last year, with a big jump in December. People like to be entertained, and video games can provide good value for their money, with good games offering hundreds of hours of game play. Video games were among the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak Christmas season for retailers.
Second, sales of guns and ancillary products such as ammunition and clips took off immediately after Obama's election in November. Some think that Obama may be the "gun salesman of the year." Firearms enthusiasts believe, rightly or wrongly, that "Obama's coming after my guns," so they figure they need to buy and squirrel away as many of them (and as much ammo for them) as possible. Never mind the fact that they've been saying the same thing every time a Democrat has been elected since at least Jimmy Carter's time. Nope, this time the Obamapocalypse is upon us, and woe be unto him who is unarmed.
Finally, there are the thousands of kitschy products out there honoring soon-to-be-President Obama. Whether it's commemorative plates or coins, t-shirts, tattoos, and yes, even sex toys, there's an Obama product out there for everyone. In the future, everyone will own some kind of Barack schlock for fifteen minutes.
I wondered a bit about this phenomenon. I think it's comparable to a baseball card collector wanting to get the rookie card of the next hot "can't-miss" phenom. Sure, the kid hasn't played a day in the majors, but when he hits it big, the value of the card will skyrocket. Never mind that most of those "can't-miss" rookies never become superstars.
Similarly, people seem to want a piece of the man that the liberal media has already anointed as being as great as Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt, in hopes that it similarly would skyrocket in value. Americans are still entrepreneurs at heart, looking for the main chance. They still want to buy something for a little now and sell it for a lot later.
But they are forgetting that value goes up only when things are scarce or hard to obtain. A memento of Lincoln is expensive because there are not that many of them, because so many disappeared over the years. But if there are hundreds of thousands of Obama items out there, they aren't rare. They are common. And that Obama quarter that people are paying ten bucks for is still only worth a quarter. It may have sentimental value to them, at least for now, but it is extremely unlikely to send their kids to college in twenty years.
And so, after painting my graffiti on the Berlin Wall, I caught a flight from Berlin to New York, and a bus from there to Fort Dix, New Jersey, the very same place where I'd begun my military career in 1981. I got there late on January 12th, and spent my ETS day outprocessing. Being a sergeant who was ETSing was certainly a much nicer experience than being a buck private going through basic training.
And then, I got a plane ticket from Philadelphia to Fort Myers via Tampa, and got out of Dodge. There was snow on the ground in Philly that day, and that was the last time I saw snow from that day to this. I had made the transition from soldier to civilian again.
Twenty years! Where does the time go?
That press conference was surreal. Blago on the dais with a couple of American flags and a small gaggle of unfortunates, including a fellow in a wheelchair, telling his tale of standing like St. Blago against the besieging Saracen horde, doing great works for the little people despite the opposition of the Illinois legislature. Fox News' Shepard Smith was beside himself, talking over Blago's filibuster and demanding, "What about selling the Senate seat? What about shaking down a children's hospital? What about trying to get journalists fired?" And you know that to Shep and the media, the latter was probably the worst of the three.
Still, you have to admire Blago's chutzpah. He's certainly been entertaining, definitely the best side effect of the election of Barack Obama as President. And if he gets more kids to read classical literature, well that's just one more human service he's done along with helping poor women get mammograms and poor kids get organ transplants.
A question for the lawyers out there: If the Illinois Senate convicts Blago and removes him from office, does that mean that the Feds wouldn't be able to try him on the same charges due to double jeopardy? Is it possible that a clever lawyer could argue that and get him off scot-free on the federal charges?
I was reminded of that when I read about this story in the morning newspaper:
2 leaders of polygamist group arrested in Canada
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Two top leaders of a polygamous community in western Canada have been arrested and charged with practicing polygamy, British Columbia's attorney general said Wednesday.
Attorney General Wally Oppal said Winston Blackmore is charged with marrying 20 women, while James Oler is accused of marrying two women. Oppal, who said the charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, said the case will be the first test of Canada's polygamy laws.
Again, if you're going to be a polygamist, you might as well go all out. With 20 wives, Mr. Blackmore can sleep with a different woman every night for almost three weeks. But Mr. Oler? How can he call himself a polygamist with only two wives? He's a bigamist! It's like he's hardly even trying!And with 20 wives, I'd say that Mr. Blackmore is not just practicing polygamy; I'd say he's perfected it!
I showed the triceratops skull on the cover of the brochure to my partner on the machine and asked, "Where would you display it? What are you going to do, put it out in your formal garden with the bonsai?"
I told someone else about it, and he said, "Well, you could put it in your hunting lodge with the elk heads." I pointed out that it would make the elk heads look downright puny, and besides, people would say, "Well, I KNOW you didn't kill THAT one!"
Anyway, follow the link if you've got that kind of money burning a hole in your pocket and a nice big room in your house that needs a triceratops skull to complete the decor.
After about a half hour or so, I'd seen enough. It was starting to get cloudy around the edges, and I'd seen what I'd gone out to see. It wasn't as good as the Leonid meteor storms of 2001 and 2002, but it wasn't a total bust like the 2008 Leonids, when I went out and it was too cloudy to see anything.
While I'm not worried about the temperature, the possibility of cloud cover may scrub the mission. I figure I'll take a look outside around 4 a.m. tomorrow. If it's cloudy, then I won't bother driving to my usual meteor-watching spot. If it's clear, though, then I'll head out and see if I'm lucky enough to spot any. They're predicting a pretty good show, perhaps up to 100 meteors an hour, and good viewing since the moon is only a crescent at this point. I'll keep my fingers crossed for clear weather tonight.
Question: Are you reading and saying 2009 as "two-thousand-nine" or "twenty-oh-nine"? Some of the radio people are using the latter formulation. 2000 was definitely "two-thousand." Nobody called it "twenty-hundred." Kind of odd when you think about it, because 1900 was "nineteen-hundred" and 2100 will definitely be "twenty-one-hundred", even if most of us are unlikely to be around to say it. And for most of this decade, most of us have been using the "two-thousand-" phrase rather than the "twenty-oh-" phrase. From next year on, it's almost certain that everyone will just be saying "twenty-ten," "twenty-eleven," etc. But this decade has been an odd aberration in the way we refer to our years.