13 September 2008


I've taken up painting of late, and I'm finding that this is an art form that I could really get down with. I love the time that I spend painting, and I've been very happy with the results. Others seem to enjoy them as well, which is of course also quite nice.

I've jumped headlong into this whole watercolors thing, and I've already started working on a series of rather grotesque, slightly scary, semi-comic pieces. I've put them up in the order that I painted them -- The first one was painted as a present for Beth, and is actually still my favorite one. His name is Jean Claude. The second one is a man to whom I've given the name Frank. The fact that he's sitting at a table, staring so intently forward, joined by a bottle of "Party Cheese" -- this kind of freaks me out. I've forgotten the name of the last man. He's my least favorite of the three -- if only because I find him too obviously grotesque (the second one is "grotesque" and slightly unnerving because of a benign bottle of cheese, the third is wearing a bloody hook in place of a hand). Still -- he ain't bad for someone who has taken up painting after a twenty two year hiatus from watercolors.

It is funny to note that all three men are bald -- I'm not sure if this is because of my own shining pate or if this has something to do with how much easier it is to draw / paint a bald head than a hairy one. Either way, I'll think that I'll continue along that same path for a while.

(Note: All three paintings are approximately 1.5 feet by 1 foot in size -- or something like that)

Bobby is Back

Mr. Bob Herbert has done it again -- stolen the words from my head and put them into his New York Times column. Shame on him! The dastardly rogue!

Check out his writings / my thoughts here.

12 September 2008

Matt Damon

Matt Damon is pretty cool in this video.


Check out McCain . . .

God help us if the voters pick this man. And, if you're looking for a tragicomic image, watch Sarah Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson, which aired last night. God help us if the voters pick this man and then he dies, leaving us with President Palin.

10 September 2008

Lipstick on a Pig

I don't want or mean to use this blog as a political soapbox, so I sort of apologize for this and the many future posts regarding politics.

That said, I feel that this upcoming election is too important, the stakes are too high, and the reasons for outrage are too many, for me to ignore them in this forum. I would, of course, like to share many other things with you, my dear readers (such as, for example, some pictures of the fruits of my new hobby--watercolor painting), but I must mix these personal matters with political statements.

That's all for now -- See the video below for the reasons behind my newest sense of anger and outrage.

Bob Herbert

Bob Herbert, a New York Times columnist that I rarely read, has a great column that I read today -- check it out here

09 September 2008


I've been quite busy lately changing hats.

Sunday afternoon I was a rocker at the LAAFF Festival (Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival), an amazing street party here in Asheville that features local artists and musicians. We played at the EarthFare / BoBo Stage, and had a crowd of two to three hundred for our 45-minute set.

Yesterday I was a Spanish teacher in the morning, then quickly became a Phys.Ed. teacher, then once again became a Spanish teacher. All of this at the Learning Community, a school in Black Mountain, NC, about 30 minutes from Asheville.

Tonight I try on the GRE teacher hat, as I begin to teach a Kaplan course to prepare students for the Graduate Record Examination.

Thus the lack of posts of late. Thus my groaning and cussing as I try to figure out what the heck I need to do today.

More soon.

05 September 2008

Praying Mantis

Some recent shots from outside my house in Asheville. We've been seeing quite a lot of these guys around these days. They seem to particularly enjoy my watermelons, my pepper plant, and the local furniture.

The Genius of Jon Stewart

Everyone should watch this video. This man, along with his entire production team, is a genius.

04 September 2008

Palin? (redux)

I'm watching Sarah Palin's speech from last night's installment of the Republican Convention. I'm nearly nine minutes in, and every word out of her mouth has made me want to vomit.

Let me sum it up:

I have a family.

Small town folks are good.

I love America.

I'm a hockey mom and a PTA member.

Let's make fun of Barack Obama.

The media is lame and biased.

(There are images of off-shore oil rigs behind her on the stage)

We're not gonna spend a lot of money.

We need to drill for more oil.

Barack is lame.

Some Quotes:

"What exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually hope to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet?"

"Al Quaeda terrorists still hope to inflict catastrophic harm on our country, and he's worried that someone won't read 'em their rights."

(I think that I just puked a little bit in my mouth.)

(Somehow the Republicans can actually make it sound like a bad thing to be a good speaker. )

(I can't watch this anymore. I've seen a half hour and I can't take it.)

(Please, please, please tell me that the the people of the United States are not going to vote for these people. They are rabble rousers, appealing to the basest sentiments of our people, slinging mud and turning their "maverick" status into a quality above all others. They are touting their experience as "hockey moms" and POWs as somehow relevant to a political office. I'm scared. I'm really scared.)

Here are a few extra things for the redux, as quoted from Moveon.org

Here are a bunch of points you might want to include in your letter:

Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is "God's task." She's even admitted she hasn't thought about the war much—just last year she was quoted saying, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." 1, 2

Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party. Six months ago, Palin told members of the group—who advocate for a vote on secession from the union—to "keep up the good work" and "wished the party luck on what she called its 'inspiring convention.'" 3

Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. She hasn't made clear whether she thinks evolution is a fact.4

Palin doesn't believe that humans contribute to global warming. Speaking about climate change, she said, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being manmade." 5

Palin has close ties to Big Oil. Her inauguration was even sponsored by BP. 6

Palin is extremely anti-choice. She doesn't even support abortion in the case of rape or incest. 7

Palin opposes comprehensive sex-ed in public schools. She's said she will only support abstinence-only approaches. 8

As mayor, Palin tried to ban books from the library. Palin asked the library how she might go about banning books because some had inappropriate language in them—shocking the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker. According to Time, "news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor." 9

She DID support the Bridge to Nowhere (before she opposed it). Palin claimed that she said "thanks, but no thanks" to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But in 2006, Palin supported the project repeatedly, saying that Alaska should take advantage of earmarks "while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." 10