Monday, April 30, 2018

I Had No Idea How Much I like Grant Wood, the Artist

The Whitney Museum of Art (which is a beautiful building - but usually a dud of an Art Museum for me) had a show about Grant Wood.  If you are like me, you don't know him until someone says American Gothic and you go... "oh yeah..".

Well, American Gothic bores the hell out of me, but a friend loved the show so Ed and I went.  Turns out, I LOVE Grant Wood. His stuff was fantastic - but I still don't like American Gothic.

He was born in Iowa, trained in Paris and had only minor success before American Gothic was shown at a show in Chicago. In Iowa he painted some murals including American Legion Halls and the picture below for a Home Sales Company.  Even early I love his trees.

If you want to read more about him - link.

He was a closeted gay man, who never married. (Sometimes I think giving gay men art as their only outlet lead to some amazing art.) The picture below is of a young man crossing into adulthood.

The imagery is interesting. The young nude bathers suggest his time as an adolescent, along with flowering trees. The river represents the crossing into manhood, with the reaping of crops signifying work. Apparently the butterfly is the universal art-world signifier of metamorphosis.

He also did a few illustrations of Americana Myths - including George Washington and the Cherry tree. To signify it is a fable, he has a man pulling back a stage curtain on the story.

Paul Revere's ride (that is Paul in the lower left)

He also painted Herbert Hoover's birthplace, in the picture below I absolutely love, but Herbert sent back.

The man points out the back house where President Hoover was born. Look at the trees!!!

Finally he moved on to almost an Americana Noir look, before WWII.

Death on Ridge Road - 1935.  Heart of the Depression - even the energy lines look like headstones..

His paintings in the 1940s, before his death, served to idolize the American Way of Life vs. the rule of Nazis at the beginning of WW II. He died at age 51 in 1942.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Saturday Rant: You Elected a Lying Sociopath Narcissist - We'll All Regret It

Many years ago, telling the truth was not just a virtue, but a feature of the American Myth.  Remember George Washington and 150 years of "I Cannot Tell a Lie".

Grant Wood on the Washington Fable
You've elected someone who lies for fun and profit. Someone who cannot tell the difference between a truth and a lie.

It may feel good now, but you have sold your soul to the devil.  And we will all pay for it.

Imagine the scene above with Donald Trump. He would have cherry juice on his face, and a cherry pie stuck on his dick and say with a straight face, "What tree?  This, this is a Democratic Axe."

Friday, April 27, 2018

Our Latest Orwellian NewSpeak - “Making Affordable Housing Work Act”

In the book 1984 the term "NewSpeak" is introduced as an objective of the state in running the economy.

Now, Ben Carson may have very little in common with Communist Icon George Orwell, but he is leaning heavily on the language ideas introduced in 1984. Take his latest directives from the Fair Housing Authority - the “Making Affordable Housing Work Act”.

This directive raises the amount required by working poor to pay for public housing. It raises it from as cap of 30% of net pay to 35% of gross pay. It also raises the limit that the working poor have to pay to 300% from $50 to $150.

This doesn't effect welfare or the non-working. It imposes a burden on the working poor. If you are a working mother, raising a child, working 20 hours a week at MacDonald's - so they don't have to give you health insurance your gross pay (not net) is $580 a month. You now will have taxes taken out AND your rent increases from $50 per month to $150 per month. Thast's a lot, right? Or you're a retired old person living in public housing.

Now, it might be one thing if you are honest and you say you want to kick people out of public housing. OR, it might be different if you say the government is out of money. But we just gave a $1.5 TRILLION dollar tax cut, with over $1 TRILLION of that going to the richest 0.005% of Americans.

But, as Orwell said, Ignorance is Strength. War is Peace. Affordable Housing is Expensive.  Sorry that last one was Carson.

Amazing News - Hat Tip To Donald Trump

Well, when crazy works, you have to give it to him.

Donald Trump's nuttiness matches Kim's Nuttiness and we seem to have real ass progress on the Korean Peninsula.

Sure, I have worries and reservations, but this deal is without the US and seems like great news.  Maybe fantastic news.

If Donald Trump had some small part (and doesn't blow it) - GREAT!

Interesting Teaching This Week

I was teaching this week again in New Jersey. I find it interesting.

Not just the teaching, which always exposes me to different people and ideas, I love that - but New Jersey has lots of BioTech and Pharmaceuticals. And, before you message me, No - they don't give samples (I've asked :-).

The reason I find it interesting is the difference between most projects these people run. For most IT and Fiance Project Managers, our projects run between 8 and 18 months. The pharmaceutical projects run years and years (3 - 7). That is a long time to work on a project.

Also, they are smart. I am often teaching Phd scientists. It's fascinating.

PS - No one loves their job. That seems pretty universal.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Sure, But You Don't Tell The Press

This seems like something Russia or the United States or any other large occupying power might say. But then you keep quiet about it. Unless you have one Very Stable Genius US President by the balls. (link)

Wow: Zaha's project for a Moscow Rich Guy

Wow (link to film on it).  A private house in a forest park - he wanted to wake up and see blue sky.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Funniest SNL Sketch Ever

One of the old writers of SNL is now a stand up comic and has a NetFlix special. So he was invited to host Saturday Night Live this week.

Ed and I watched this sketch and I laughed my ass off. It turns out it was one that he wrote 8 years ago, but they never put on. As host, he had more pull. It was fantastic. (PS - It was so random, I told Ed, before I knew it, I bet that it was a pet sketch of his they never put on, and I was right.)

Why Trump Should NOT Be Impeached

I could not agree more with James Comey regarding the possible impeachment of Donald Trump.
Former FBI Director James Comey hopes President Donald Trump isn’t impeached. 
“I’ll give you a strange answer,” Comey said when George Stephanopoulos asked about the issue in an interview that aired on Sunday night. “I hope not because I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook and have something happen indirectly that I believe they’re duty bound to do directly.”
Comey then urged Americans to “stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values.” 
He added: 
“We’ll fight about guns. We’ll fight about taxes. We’ll fight about all those other things down the road. But you cannot have, as president of the United States, someone who does not reflect the values that I believe Republicans treasure and Democrats treasure and Independents treasure. That is the core of this country. That’s our foundation. And so impeachment, in a way, would short circuit that.”
Comey also said he wanted special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to continue. 
“...As a citizen, I think we owe it to each other to get off the couch and think about what unites us,” he said.
To me, this is the heart of the matter and what has cut deep into my soul. The America I learned about treasure is about more than simply winning the Presidency. And what Trump has done is destroyed that view of America.

He has attacked our institutions, our form of government, our media, the truth and the values we hold dear even if we stumble (equality and rule of the law). This needs to be rebuked not in a stupid impeachment process, but by Americans themselves for the future of the country.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

If There Was One Phrase...

If there was one phrase you would think a Republican President might shy away from in the MidEast, it would be Mission Accomplished!


Friday, April 13, 2018

Despite Image And Headline - A Remarkable Fair Picture of the ICE Director

Given the subject - the head of US Deportation, and the image - a scary hovering head, I expected a pretty damning report on the man who Heads Up ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Instead it is a fair and positive review of an honorable man doing what he can to serve his country.

He was honored under Obama, although he chafed at some of the rules, and he has performed well under VSG President Trump. It is a good article.

Things You Noticve Once You Move

Eddie and I were watching The Big Bang last night, and we had to freeze the image for a moment of spot the problems.

I noted that there was no where within a few hours of driving from Pasadena that would ever require snowshoes like those on the wall.

Ed noted that the woodpile was embarrassing. Clearly some intern who never lived where wood for winter was stacked simply threw it into a pile.

And then we both signed, happily, and sat back to watch the remainder of the show.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

So This Is Bad Climate News For Europe and the Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf Stream Current is breaking down. That is bad for North America and Europe.

Europe is much farther north than one would expect. In fact, it lays at about the same latitudes as Canada (the Mediterranean and the USA are at about the same latitudes). What keeps much of Western and Northern Europe from being butt-ass cold is the Gulf Stream Current.

Now when I was studying the Climate Change's impact on the Gulf Stream, it was assumed that it was going to be in good shape until / unless Greeenland's ice sheets melted. 

Well, we know a lot more now that when I studied this in 1981. Turns out Arctic sea ice melt is bad for it too.

So what happens if it continues to slow down...
  1. More and stronger Hurricanes in the Carribean, US and Central America.  Why? If the current slows down, it is less effective in removing hot water from the Caribbean. That increases hurricane intensity - we just saw this with the hurricane that sat over Houston last year. The water in the gulf was near 90 degrees (F) and supported the storm as it sat just inland. And int he devastation in Caribbean (i.e. Puerto Rico)
  2. More cold snaps in England, Holland, Norway and Iceland. Why? Less consistent warming. See this year's late snows in London.
  3. Lots of unknowns in the Mediterranean and southern Europe. Why? The feeder currents to the Gulf Stream are from Northwestern Africa. If they stall, maybe bigger Hurricanes much later in North America. If they stall AND Africa gets hotter, less food in the Sahel and and unknown weather impact in Italy, Greece and France.
 Fasten your seatbelts...

Only My Father or Donald Trump Could Write This

From whom does our VSG President expect a Thank You? Serious question.

The land we helped liberate is now in control of the Syrian Government, the Kurds, Turkey (taken from the Kurds) or a small amount under rebel control.

We were / are fighting Syria as well as ISIS - so Syria isn't going to thank us.

The Kurds would have thanked us, but when they voted for independence, we didn't back them - and have abandoned them fighters to face Turkish Forces, so they will no longer thank us.

The Turks are pissed we helped the Kurds and they had to step in, so our Turkish allies won't be thanking us. (They consider Kurds as terrorists.)

What is left of the rebels, holding small areas, would thank us, except we just recently said we were leaving with no plan. They feel betrayed.  Betrayed people don't thank you.

Being President is a thankless job.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Now THIS Makes Sense to Me

I like this idea a lot (link)

Beds in the cargo area of A330s... no windows - but that works for me!

No Exaggeration, Worse Than EVER

I love that our VSG President is not a fan of hyperbole. You know that if he says something, then he has fully thought it out before expressing an opinion.*

So worse than..
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis
  • The Berlin Blockade
  • The Downing of the U2 Spy plane
  • The Hungarian Uprising (1956)
  • The Czech Uprising (1968)
  • Our proxy wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan (1)
  • The Russian Annexation of Crimea

And what, pray tell, is causing this?
  • The new arms race?
  • Russia's attack on our elections?
  • Russia's interference in the elections in France, Poland, Brexit?
  • The introduction of a new missile that probably violates our arms treaty?
  • Russia's support of Syrian Chemical Weapon attacks?

Oh, that....

* Sarcasm warning

Neither a Raid, Nor an Attack on America

This is what happens when you elect a narcissistic sociopath to the Presidency. I wonder if our Very Stable Genius President understands how crazy he is. He appears unable to see things from any perspective but that of a 4 year old in a temper tantrum.


First, it was not a "break in".  VSG President Trump said (on TV)...“So, I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man, and it’s a disgraceful situation,” he said. “It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time. I’ve wanted to keep it down.”

The "break in" was a properly executed Search Warrant, requested by the Federal Attorney's office in New York (a Trump appointee), approved by the DOJ (by a Trump appointee) and vetted by a Federal Judge.


Second, it was not an attack on our country. It was a search for criminal activity of a citizen. It was, in fact, the opposite of an attack on our country. It was validation that everyone in our country is held to the same legal standards regardless of power, money or stable genius-ness.


The term comes from the Salem Witch Trials - or, more accurately, the fictionalization of that period in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. A Witch Hunt refers to the persecution of a group of people driven by irrational fears and a mob mentality, those people being collectively not guilty of the said persecution. Traditional examples are the Salem With Trials and the Joe McCarthy Communist Hearings of the House UnAmerican Committee.

The term does not apply to the current investigations, since there have already been at least 11 cases of people already pleading guilty to crimes.


Bob Muller, Rod Rosenstein and Geoffery Berman (NY Prosecutor) are all Republicans, and two are Trump appointees.


We have been told by our Congressional Representatives to cut President Trump some slack, as he is a novice politician.  True, our VSG President is a novice politician, but he is a savvy businessman who has filed for bankruptcy multiple times and has made extensive use of the court system in the past. He knows this is not an illegal break-in or an attack on our country. To sit and pout about this is one thing. To sit and pout at a meeting to decide how to react to wholesale chemical attack on women and children, with the military and press standing by watching is - well, I guess right now, it is "Presidential".

If this image doesn't scare you, you aren't paying attention.

Somebody get him a diet coke and a cheeseburger, stat!

Dutch Masters Keeps Us On Our Toes

AndrĂ© Holland, better known as an actor, brings a deft hand as a director to Greg Keller’s play, Dutch Masters. It is an intriguing, tense and thoughtful two hander that rifts on race and class while exploring a relationship between two young men who meet by happenstance on the subway.
Set in 1992, before cell phones made everyone feel a little safer and the subway was a bit more frightening, Eric, an African – American young man, initiates a conversation with Steve – a young white man trying to ignore everything around him. Talking on the subway is disconcerting enough, and Eric makes it more so by pushing a conversation even though Steve is trying to politely ignore him. The play keeps the audience guessing at motives. Eric is too interested in Steve, sometimes threatening and other times ingratiating. When Eric convinces or demands that Steve get off the train to get high with him, we don’t understand much, except this is a bad idea. 
Jake Horowitz and Ian Duff in Dutch Masters (photo: Spencer Moses
What follows is fascinating. Eric slowly dishes out information that convinces Steve that Eric knows a lot more than he lets on. Small insights and random details about Steve’s life. It is enough to keep Steve interested and uncomfortable. After this, the play turns, again and again, in ways that are unexpected.
Ian Duff plays Eric, a street kid who is smart, with a forceful personality both seductive and a bit frightening. Mr. Duff is excellent in the role, playing off the street-ness of Eric without falling into stereotypical behavior.  Steve is played by Jake Horowitz. Mr. Horowitz does a great job in a role that is deferential without being too wimpy. Steve tries extra hard to not be a racist, but is tripped up by Eric’s actions, only to find they are often an act.
Dutch Masters is about the way these two young adults see life, often even the same incidents, through completely different eyes. Sometimes the views are aligned, but more often disparate vantage points preclude a common understanding. It is done wonderfully and I recommend Dutch Masters highly. It is a surprising and interesting show designed to pull you off center.
Dutch Masters | Playwright: Greg Keller | Director: André Holland |Cast: Ian Duff, Jake Horowitz | website

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Some of Trevor's Best Pictures are From His Dog-sitters

The pictures below are from two friends that watched Trevor an the house while we were away...

Yawing with Nico

Sitting pretty for Jen

I Don't Think People Understand the First Amendment

Laura Ingram, she of the shaming of David Hogg, doesn't appear to understand the 1st amendment and how it applies to herself.

You can say what you want, but others can then judge you on those comments.  Laura thinks that the protests about her are "Stalinist bullying".  But she did exactly the same thing (encouraging response to free speech) when she told the Dixie Chicks (famously and on a book cover) to Shut Up And Sing. She pretty much destroyed their career.

But consistency is not her strong point.  Making fun of others consequence free is her sweet spot.

Trevor Got His Summer Cut!

Sure, he's getting old. But he looks great (and no botox!)

Att <-> Client Privledge Does Not Include Items That Are Illegal

The personal attorney of VSG* President Trump, Micheal Cohen, had his office raided by the FBI yesterday. And, just to be clear, this was the Southern District of New York, not the Special Prosecutor.

The President is atwitter (both figuratively and literally) that this is illegal due to Attorney / Client privilege. However, A/C privilege does not cover illegal acts. To get this type of attorney search warrant on an attorney calls for extreme evidence, to do it on the the Preisdent's Attorney has super high standards to meet.

In the words of my people, ease up Mary.

* VSG -For those still playing at home, President Trump has labeled himself as a Very Stable Genius

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Good News!!!

The Visuals in Legion balance between Trippy and Delusional

Legion season 2 just started. Don't worry I won';t give spoilers, because I can't. Much of the play of the show is deciding what is real, what is comic book real and what is simply mental illness. All of this shouldn't work except it does. It does due to amazing writing, great acting, and a visual palette that is mind blowing (to quote the kids of the 60s).

Look at these images from the season premier (I watched it last night)...
Lots of conversations took place n the cafeteria - and yes the food boats moved all the time.
I could explain, but I can't!

It is a floaty tank - and it smells like strawberries.
And that wasn't even the best.  The dances were the best. And the phasing Sydney!

Penn State ... Football?

I enjoy going to see football games at different colleges.  It is a lot of fun. The pageantry, the rivalry, then general fun day. And one of the colleges I have always wanted to go to is Penn State.

Next year Wisconsin is playing there, and so here is the perfect opportunity.  ... But ...

The Sandusky child criminal acts, and Joe Paterno hero worship hang over any football game there. Now, in many ways, it shouldn't. The kids playing football now, most weren't born when it happened. Joe Paterno is long dead.

But the school community and board of directors continues to defend and worship JoPa. They re-unveiled a statue to the man that let a 50 year old friend of his fondle and assault children in the locker room. And the school and student blithely defend him.

So I sure would like to see the Badgers kick Penn State's ass.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Can you really ask that?

Why isn't she as famous as Nicole Kidman?  Watch 4 Weddings and a Funeral, then ask again.

Bartholomus Spranger

I have been reading Danubia, the story of the Hapsburg family / dynasty. It is fascinating. The Holy Roman Empire (which -as the famous saying goes - was neither Roman, Holy nor an Empire) was normally run by the Hapsburgs (an electoral "Empire"). The Hapsburg dynasty included the Spanish side and the Central European side, which split.

But, I digress.

One of the more interesting cul de sacs the story takes is with Rudolph II who moved the seat of the Empire to Prague, where he was attended by a menagerie of con men and fakers.

He had an interesting painter, Bartholomeus Spranger, who was deep into the wildness of the times.  I have looked at Spranger's paintings and I kind of love them.  The impossible-ness of the gods within. I am sure you could devote a long time to learning the iconography of the paintings - but I think they are wildly overdone and cool on some level.

In particular, there is a wildness of sex and eroticism that is brought on by success in battle. It is bizarre in the best sense of the word.