Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MY PAINTING TUTOR, MY INSPIRATION TO PAINT – FRANZ BOLINGER

It didn’t last long, only two years, and as inopportune as his death was I treasure those times we spent together in his studio in Little Havana.

Above: "Storm Coming, Dominica, Caribbean"
oil on canvas 25x30,1994

I met the master shortly before his death and he became a mentor, a tutor and I in exchange brought him to my home on Sundays for dinner where my daughters regaled him with the love of adopted grandchildren…he truly loved them.

I had never taken art classes but could draw from the time I was five. I went to Havana with my mother and upon my return I drew a very detailed, even with perspective, a drawing of our capitol. My grandfather commented: “this child is talented; he is a natural born artist and will be heading for San Alejandro Fine Arts College”


I never got there because Castro came into power just as I finished high school and went into an unwanted exile with my parents. My art took a back seat to other endeavors like learning the English language. I did take drafting in high school and that was the extent or as close as I ever got to drawing again.

Out of college and married with two children, I took up painting as a hobby. My ex-wife was very critical of this endeavor even begrudging any money I would spend on canvass and paint. But then I met Franz at a funeral of all places…when I worked for a funeral home and we began to talk and he mentioned that he was a painter. I told him that it was my hobby and he invited me to come and visit.

That started a long and beautiful friendship that led me to having the privilege of being taught by the master. Amazingly enough, it was not landscapes he was teaching me…he was instructing me in the skills of portraiture…and to this day I still haven’t mastered it. But I did become very proficient at landscapes after I would see him paint some of the latter paintings of the Everglades that he did...perhaps these were his last.

I did pose for him a few times and I still have a portrait he did of me in pastels. (Shown here)

The man was a remarkable person…perhaps a bit cantankerous and eccentric but fascinating nevertheless. He had an uncanny resemblance to Ernest Hemingway and I wish I had a photograph of him but I did the best I could in finding one that resembled him. (Shown here)






Some of the master’s work:




This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information, submitted June 2010, is from Kay Story.

My relationship with Franz Joseph is second cousin once removed. I could not write a formal biography of him, but I can tell you that he was very nice and fun and enthusiastic. He and his sister lived together after his mother died. His sister, Reeves, was sweet and wonderful. She outlived him by many years, and therefore became the focus of our attention because she was then alone then.

Reeves and Joe loved their dogs and when I was given many of the remaining family photographs, I noticed that there were lots of photos of beloved dogs with various family members. My sister has a painting that Joe did of his favorite dog. I know that there were times when he struggled because paintings were not selling.

I think he taught high school in Miami Beach during some of those years. I don't think he taught art there. He also had painting students who came to his house. His sister was, very likely, his chief financial support. She was a bookkeeper for a car dealership in Miami.

I think his family moved to Florida early in his life. I don't know the motivation for that move, but I know that they must have visited their southern Illinois relatives at times, because my mother, born in 1911, had been interested in painting, and "Joe" came to her parents home Marion, Illinois to give her a painting lesson in their kitchen. It seems to me, that Reeves told me that they lived in Ft. Lauderdale before they lived in Miami.

I know that Joe liked to sing and that he was part of various church choirs at times in his life. I thought he was an Anglophile as he was obsessed with talking about the proper church of England. In truth, he may have been trying to keep my mother from urging him to attend her church. Reeves attended a Presbyterian Church faithfully for many years.

Reeves, Joe's sister, was a member of the D.A.R. Their connection to that may have been through Cas. C. Russell, the maternal grandfather of Joe and Reeves.

Joe and Reeves were frequent visitors to our home when I was growing up in Miami. (We moved there when I was 9) My grandmother came to visit us each winter, and she knew that she had a first cousin in the Miami area somewhere. I don't remember if she found Maude before Maude died, but she definitely located her two children, Reeves and Joe. Once found, we visited them in their home and, more frequently, they came to ours.

Everything in the house seemed ancient to me. Joe used the house as
a studio, so I don't really remember a dining room or living room because it was all art studio. Reeves and Joe each had their own bedrooms, and the kitchen was recognizable as a kitchen and separate room. All else was a mass of things that had probably been moved to Florida with their parents, except for the canvas and paint and dogs.

Joe did my portrait when I was 18. It was a gift to my parents from Joe and Reeves.
My friend, Karen Huguet went with me for the three or so sittings at Joe's house. There was an ironing board set up in the middle of the house, and my friend ironed their clothes while she waited for me to be finished. Joe loved that and was very grateful. The painting was looking a lot like me until I passed along a comment from my mother. The comment may have been something like, "tell him not to paint your bangs hanging down in your eyes." My mother was probably just expressing frustration with me wearing my bangs too long. She was a "hair dresser", "beautician", and hair was ever on her mind. She and I, foolishly, thought it an innocent "motherly" comment. Unfortunately, Joe was upset by my repeating this comment. He became emotional and frustrated and, likely fearful of a critical reception to his generous gift. I think he lost all interest in painting me after that, and the painting never looked like me again after that day.

Once at a family gathering at my parents’ home I looked into the dining room and observed my mother's oldest brother in conversation with Joe across the table. I think I gasped in surprise as I noticed for the first time that they had identical profiles, though they looked different in full face. They were second cousins who shared not the same grandparents, but the same great grandparents, Albert Patterson Reeves and Elizabeth Catherine Emerson, both born in 1831.

I had left Miami after college and only saw Joe and Reeves on the once per year trip home. Later I moved to central Florida, but I still saw them infrequently.

Joe died after my father did, and I think the last conversation that I had with him he was disappointed that I had not thought to save a pair of pliers for him from my father's tool collection.

He died during heart surgery not too long after that.

The following paintings are my own and reflect the great influence Franz Bolinger had on me.






Monday, August 29, 2011

ANOTHER FRINGE RELIGIOUS CULT I DESPISE: 7TH DAY ADVENTISTS



It is not just their erroneous interpretation of the Scriptures

There is a lot more to it than that; this religion seeks to have total control over its followers insisting in their Sabbath being different than anybody else’s…that is not so bad in itself but their insistence in abstinence and stupidity about interpreting certain passages of the Scriptures and throwing out others that don’t suit their purpose is uncanny. It is also one of these religions that exact total dedication of all the spare time of its followers…if you belong to that faith you really have little time for anything else.

Yet, one of the things that I found and experienced was when my youngest daughter was born it convinced me that they were ruthless. I had gone in three months earlier and gave them all the paperwork on my insurance which would have covered all of the delivery and on top of that I had to put a $600.00 deposit.

My ex-wife had a very normal delivery, as a matter of fact, she only stayed in the hospital for two days and when the doctor released her I was ready to take her and the newborn home. I was told by the secretary of the maternity ward that I had to go first to the cashier and get the release.

When I approached the cashier’s window I encountered this middle age woman, very Anglo and very arrogant. I was with my mother in law and we were speaking Spanish and the woman said: “Speak English, you are in America” That was a revealing statement and I gathered right then and there she was xenophobic.

She proceeded to tell me that I had to sign an “ESTIMATE OF THE TOTAL BILL” or they would not release my wife and daughter. I told her that I would sign the actual total bill but not an estimate; she became indignant and raised her voice…then she said that those were hospital rules and I had to abide by them or there would be no release.

I told her that constituted false imprisonment and blackmail and she then asked the security guard to escort me out. As I went out, I noticed a Hialeah Police squad car by the emergency entrance and I approached the policeman and explained the situation. He agreed with me that they could not legally do that and offered to accompany me to the cashier. When we got to the window I said to the woman: “Now, repeat in front of this policeman what you said to me…that you would not release my wife and daughter unless I signed an estimate of a bill.”

The woman was stuttering, obviously flustered by this and could not even utter a word. So I said to her: “I am going upstairs with the policeman and I will retrieve my wife and daughter” So we went up and the secretary again was adamant because there was no signed release. I told her that she better bring in a wheelchair and bring the baby out from the nursery on the double. They did, and we took them home.

Following that, we received the final bill. According to my calculations I should have received over $300.00 back and then I went to the doctor and we looked over item by item all the charges. He informed me of quite a few they charged that were not administered. There were charges for a blood transfusion and some medicines he did not prescribe. I was able to reduce the bill by $400.00 more and told my insurance company not to pay the overcharged items.

The thing ended up in court as I participated in a class action suit that at first was thrown out of court by some judge who was in the pockets of the hospital, but upheld later by a higher court. The hospital was sold shortly afterward and it is now operated by another outfit…a secular one.

You see, when it comes to being ruthless and greedy these 7th Day Adventists are just as un-Christian as the worst of them and they claim, with such hypocrisy that they are kind, compassionate and charitable.

IS RELIGION COMPATIBLE WITH SCIENCE?

Why do religious fanatics hate science so much then?

While there are gaps and unsolved questions within science the general consensus is that science is something that can be put to a test, proven with scientific experiments, facts, data, fossils millions of years old, and common sense.

Religious faith, not so much, faith is more like a feeling, a built in ideology that one embraces blindly and without contemplating the absurdities of the very things these sets of beliefs are. I really feel sorry for people of faith because in my book they have surrendered their ability to think logically and abandoned reason to go and waddle in that mud puddle of ignorance and superstition they call religious faith.

I am singularly troubled when I see a politician running for high office who claims to be “born again” and who believes in “Creationism”, because if they have those sets of ideas then not only are they removed from the realities of science but they are invoking a self-righteous ignorance protected by their faith. It is in my book a mental and intellectual flaw and anyone holding those faith-based beliefs should not occupy any elected office…not even dog catcher.

I am a firm believer that man does not have the capacity to understand everything nor does he have an appropriate answer to the questions that have plagued mankind since the beginning…”where do we come from and who made all this?” But then again, just because we can’t answer that with certainty that does not mean that we have to invent, to fabricate if you will a whole slew of absurdities and explanations, coupled with superstition and outlandish fairy tales. It is all so very fantastic that I can’t reconcile my intellect with faith.

It is not surprising then that the religious right is hell bent on catching our young while they are still vulnerable and gullible…their innocence is fertile ground for indoctrination and that then becomes the priority for these bible pushing fanatics…to deny teaching them science and evolution and replace it instead with creationism.

PHOTO SOURCE: http://sarcozona.org/2010/01/28/archeopteris/

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

THEOCRACY FOR AMERICA…I DON’T THINK SO

But if we are not careful, we might just get to that

America, a secular country by design…was meant to be that way because the Founding Fathers intended for there being a separation of Church and State. It just so happens that most people living in America are of the Christian faith; but that is not what defines us as a people and certainly not our government.

We see that Evangelical Christians compose roughly 26% of the population. A little more than one quarter of us adhere to those askew ideologies and erroneous interpretations of the Scriptures. But the baggage carried by such group is one that is harmful to the other ¾ of the rest of us. You see, it is in their DNA, it is ingrained in their ideology that they have to go out and convert, convince, dominate and take over all aspects of life so that we might become “A Christian Nation”. This is not just a drive for converts and gain wealth…it is a very organized concerted effort to overwhelm the rest of us and do away with DEMOCRACY to be replaced by something similar to SHARIA LAW.

Fundamentalist Christians are not the majority in this country…so they will have to repress and punish those of other faiths, prohibit and persecute the rest of us.

They will tell you right to your face, they will assure you that God tells them to do this, to “do his work” to carry out what they think is a mandate from the Creator himself. They will tell you outrageous things like cataclysms sent in by God to punish us for our sins, that our Creator is a vengeful, mean and bellicose being. It is the Old Testament on steroids; it is the most absurd rationalization of natural phenomena.

But foremost in their minds, they figure that if somebody was not affected by the natural disasters and they deemed these to be sinners…then it is incumbent upon them to go out and punish them, admonish and persecute these infidels…it is their written credo.

I am what one might consider an agnostic but I can also see that if one was to believe in a Creator that pre-ordained and planned this whole thing, it would not be one of hatred, meanness and destruction. It would be a God proud of his work and even more proud of the pinnacle of his creation: MANKIND.


My take on this is that these Evangelicals better be careful what they wish for…we might end up with a country where religion dominates all aspects of life and government…much like what they have in Iran…and right now, as allergic as they are to Muslims, Mosques and Sharia Law they may find themselves living in a country ten times worse in this radical THEOCRACATIC TYRANNY than the one they criticize in Iran.



Friday, August 26, 2011

HERE WE GO AGAIN TRAVELING THE CREATIONISM SHIT PAVED ROAD

Are we ever going to be free from all this nonsense these religious fanatics want to force on the rest of us?

Governor Perry, aspiring to get the nomination for President is trying to ingratiate himself with the Evangelical base. These Fundamentalist religious fanatics would not accept EVOLUTION and ignore all evidence, fossil proofs, scientific studies and the like. It is as if they celebrate ignorance and to them Rick Perry is to be elevated to the same status of a Rhodes Scholar.

How many times are we, the American people going to have to go down this road again? I mean, the fucking Monkey Trials happened many decades ago and we settled that issue. But no, the fucking Evangelicals in their myopic view of the Scriptures insist that the world is 6,000 years old and that EVOLUTION is just a theory full of holes.


British Evolutionary Biologist and Author

Richard Dawkins


“There is nothing unusual about Governor Rick Perry. Uneducated fools can be found in every country and every period of history, and they are not unknown in high office. What is unusual about today’s Republican party (I disavow the ridiculous ‘GOP’ nickname, because the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt has lately forfeited all claim to be considered ‘grand’) is this: In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus. In today’s Republican Party ‘in spite of’ is not the phrase we need. Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.”

Once more, the Teahadist-Republicans are pandering to the fucking Evangelical Fundamentalists and frankly, the majority of the American people are sick of it. Besides the issue of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE…and yes, that is a fact they want to ignore because they really think we are a Christian nation…not what our FOUNDING FATHERS intended when they made it amply clear that there was to be that line separating religion from government.

A LITTLE HISTORY: THE TENNESSEE MONKEY TRIAL

“John Scopes...the young Tennessee school teacher deliberately broke the new law banning the teaching of Darwinian evolutionary theory in Tennessee classrooms

The law, which had been passed in March, made it a misdemeanor punishable by fine to "teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals."

With local businessman George Rappalyea, Scopes had conspired to get charged with this violation, and after his arrest the pair enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to organize a defense. Hearing of this coordinated attack on Christian fundamentalism, William Jennings Bryan, the three-time Democratic presidential candidate and a fundamentalist hero, volunteered to assist the prosecution. Soon after, the great attorney Clarence Darrow agreed to join the ACLU in the defense, and the stage was set for one of the most famous trials in U.S. history.”

In front of several thousand spectators in the open air, Darrow changed his tactics and as his sole witness called Bryan in an attempt to discredit his literal interpretation of the Bible. In a searching examination, Bryan was subjected to severe ridicule and forced to make ignorant and contradictory statements to the amusement of the crowd.

On July 21, in his closing speech, Darrow asked the jury to return a verdict of guilty in order that the case might be appealed. Under Tennessee law, Bryan was thereby denied the opportunity to deliver the closing speech he had been preparing for weeks. After eight minutes of deliberation, the jury returned with a guilty verdict, and Raulston ordered Scopes to pay a fine of $100, the minimum the law allowed.

Although Bryan had won the case, he had been publicly humiliated and his fundamentalist beliefs had been disgraced. Five days later, on July 26, he lay down for a Sunday afternoon nap and never woke up.

In 1927, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the Monkey Trial verdict on a technicality but left the constitutional issues unresolved until 1968, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a similar Arkansas law on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment.

SOURCE: http://www.soonerfans.com/forums/showthread.php?143013-Good-Morning-Monkey-Trial-Ends.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: THE TIME TO BE CONFRONTATIONAL IS NOW

We already got the message about you being reasonable and willing to compromise

We know Mr. President that you are sensible, pragmatic, unflappable and calm. These are qualities we all admire. We have seen have you have bent over backwards to give in to all or most of the demands of the far right conservatives.

Most Americans have not been pleased with this kind of approach and you have suffered politically for it…but worst of all our country has had to adopt unreasonable, stupid and destructive policies that have made our problems even worse. Even if the majority of voters expressed dissatisfaction with government and bought into the Republican-Teahadist ideology and in 2010 voted for them…they are now having second thoughts, buyer’s remorse, if you will about electing people like Governor Scott or Walker. We see the visceral repudiation of their policies and we see people involved in grassroots movements to try to correct the mistake they made by electing them.

Mr. President, time and time again you have given up some very important issue that is crucial to the well being of the American people and our nation in your effort to be compromising; we saw it with the Health Care Reform when you surrendered the public option even before you sat down to negotiate with them. Then we saw how you agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in order to extend unemployment benefits to those without jobs. Lately, Mr. President, you agreed to a debt ceiling compromise that gave the Republican-Tehadists everything…or nearly everything they wanted…only to see our nation being deemed unworthy of a triple A credit rating by S&P.

Dear Mr. President, you are going to have to start fighting back some time, you are going to have to be confrontational at some point even if you don’t like it; because if you don’t…then we are all going to be living in an America nobody could live in or want to live in.

So Mr. President, start fighting now and not two weeks before the elections of 2012.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trickle Down Economics didn’t work…the welfare state for the rich and the corporations failed also.

What to do? We go to plan B…bail out the banks and Wall Street and screw the American people.

It is mind boggling how Republicans have succeeded in instituting a scorch-the-earth austerity mentality on our country. Even Liberal Progressives are singing the praises of cuts in spending and reducing our debt at the expense of prosperity and economic growth. We know for a fact…and there are reputable economists who insist in this; that we can’t create jobs and bring back prosperity by cutting and reducing government spending at this time…just the opposite…if private enterprise has deemed it necessary to sit on trillions of dollars and not pump it back into the economy, if they are systematically closing plants and laying off workers in America to take them abroad…then we have to rely on our government to kick start the sluggish economy…but NO…NO…NO, that would mean that we will actually have job creation and we will be out of the recession the Republicans left us…that will mean that President Obama will look good and could be re-elected…

So, what are they to do? What will Republicans continue to insist on doing? Why…it is more of the same, more TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS…give more tax cuts to the rich, more loopholes to corporations and eliminate all social safety net programs. It is the ideal situation, the dream of every fucking Republican that has ever lived…to dismantle all of FDR’s programs, to return to the beginning of the last century where big business ruled the country.

Why capitalism is choosing Plan B

As Richard Wolff tells us: Austerity for labour and the public is everywhere capitalism's Plan B. Even capitalists now see that capitalism's Plan A failed.

You will recall that Plan A entailed a crisis-response programme of bailing out the banks, insurance companies, large corporations and stock markets to achieve "recovery". The theory behind Plan A – we used to call it "trickle-down economics" – was that recovery would spread from financial markets and financiers to everyone else. It never did. So now the same servants of capitalism who imposed Plan A are dishing out Plan B.”

Richard Wolff also says: “Corporations and the rich bankroll the parties and governors who design and impose Plans A and B, while avoiding Plan C. And so matters will remain unless and until corporations' profits are no longer available to their boards of directors to enrich themselves and major shareholders and to buy politicians' servitude. The best response to capitalism's crisis, to its failed Plan A and to its unjust Plan B would be a Plan D: to change how we organize productive enterprises in our society. Profits should be distributed by the democratic decision-making of all those who produce and depend on them, the workers and affected communities.”

So basically, what we have is a PLUTOCRACY that will, when they are good and ready to get the economy started again…because they realize that they could get even more profits from a prosperous nation than from a failed one…we all have to suck our thumbs and waddle in the mud puddle of misery and deprivation.

From the 50’s and into the early 1960s, the highest income earners paid a tax rate over 90% for many years. Today, the top earners pay a rate of only 35%.

The graph above shows the portion/percentage of total national income taken by the top 1%, the top tenth of a percent, and the top 100th of a percent of individuals and families: the richest of the rich.

This graph compares what happened to the after-tax household incomes of Americans from 1979 to 2005 (adjusted for inflation). The bottom fifth of poorest citizens saw their income barely rise at all. The middle fifth of income earners saw their after-tax household income rise by less than 25%. Meanwhile, the top 1 % of households saw their after-tax household incomes rise by 175%.


Richard D Wolff is professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a visiting professor in the graduate programme in international affairs of the New School University, New York City. Richard also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan. His most recent book is Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It (2009). A full archive of Richard's work, including videos and podcasts, can be found on his site

SOURCES: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/mar/01/us-taxation-public-finance

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PRESIDENT OBAMA WANTS TO RAISE TAXES

That is what you hear from Republicans.

But they don’t tell you two very important things: First, that President Obama wants to raise taxes only on the wealthy and the corporations…those making under $250,000 would not be affected…and two, most of the American people according to the majority of polls also want the wealthy to pay their fair share…in other words…RAISE THEIR TAXES, not yours!.

Here is an interesting chart I found in CRITTER’S CRAP - http://critterscrap.blogspot.com/

And do you know why? Because by now most people realize that the Republican-Teahadist argument of TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS is no longer an accepted economic theory.