You are currently browsing the archives for October 2010.
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Restoring Sanity and/or Fear Rally

  • Posted on October 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Jon and Stephen

So I checked out the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “Restoring Sanity and/or Fear Rally” today.  I have to say it was actually sane.  While obviously making fun of the politics of fear that we are constantly bombarded with by the media, they managed to blast both sides of this problem, right wing and left.  No one was spared as much of the restoring sanity part was about the lack of civil discourse in our politics.  There were many entertaining antics like the giant puppet Stephen had made of himself but there was also a message.  My favorite part was when the Jewish John Stewart brought out the Muslim Yusuf, formerly Cat Stevens, to sing the “Peace Train”.  My only regret is Yusuf should have been allowed to finish the song and sing more.  He was interrupted by Stephen Colbert bringing out Ozzie Osborne to sing “Crazy train.”  I remember a few years ago when Yusuf was banned from coming into the country so it was great to see him be a part of this rally.

Of course Stephen Colbert did everything he could to try and keep fear alive.  He started out bunkered down somewhere under the platform like he was in a cave kind of naked.  He was afraid to come out because he wasn’t sure many people would come to the rally.  The numbers were huge.  There must be many Stewart and Colbert fans as the mall was full and crowded.  Ozzie was interrupted by Jon and Stephen and but in the end they decided on the “Love Train”.  The crowd was to get on the “Love Train”.  Much of the rally was aimed at people being able to have a civil discourse and get along.  The ideas were very simple but it almost felt like the two zaniest characters, Jon and Stephen, are the “sane” people during this political season.

I am so tired of seeing al of the negative political ads.  It was refreshing to see something political that didn’t tell anyone how to vote.  Voting didn’t even come up.  The rally was simply about restoring sanity and I have to say I found it to be both hilarious as they gave awards for both restoring sanity and keeping fear alive or something like that.  Of course the fear award was on a ribbon and showcased a naked guy running with scissors!  Leave it to Colbert to be the most absurd of all!

A surprising part for me was when Kid Rock and Sheryl Crowe got on stage and sang a new song that Kid Rock had just written.  It was unlike anything I’ve heard from him and I really enjoyed it.

I hope more people could have seen the rally and see how silly so much of this back and forth discourse really is.  The two video clips that Stephen showed to try and keep fear alive were so telling.  He had both sides Fox News and MSNBC, and people that consider themselves to be both liberal and right wing conservatives saying things that just keep the negative discourse going.  He also showed how we are constantly bombarded with things to fear.  It’s amazing that most of us actually live a normal life with all of the garbage that is thrown at us from both sides and the mass corporate media.  Most of it is just rhetoric to try and show how evil the other side is but I think it is time to restore sanity.

Most of us get along with our friends and families even if we don’t agree on anything.  Washington D.C. politicians should have gone to the rally or turned it on maybe they would learn something.

In the end Jon gave a speech that sounded very sane and better than most politicians.  I was thinking, “Is John running for something?”  He sounded like a politician without the “hate” speech about the other side.  Whatever he was selling, I’m all for it.  His speech made me realize just why he was voted the most influential man in America by

Jon for all the silliness is like you or me, a normal guy.  When I think about Christine O’Donnell’s ad where she says, “I’m you!” I think John is really one of us as well, but a “rich, successful” us.  I remember when he was on Crossfire and that show went off the air shortly after.

Jon was fed up back then with the discourse that the media constantly kept going with the right and left constantly fighting and shouting at each other.  He called them out and that seems to be what he was doing today with the “Restoring Sanity Rally”.  Jon and Stephen are both powerful in such a funny way.  Live and let live!  I’m all for it.  Jon showed many people in cars figuring out how to go down to one lane to go through a tunnel and he said we seem to be able to figure this out even if the bumper stickers are the opposite of what we believe in.  The point he was trying to make was that we all figure out how to get along every day.  He said that Washington D.C. could learn something from the American people and I have to agree.  We get things done in our own communities.  We rise to occasions when we need to do something even we don’t feel like it.  We go to work and do our jobs and some days suck.  However, we keep on going and we don’t find a thousand different ways to put each other down and belittle each other about what we believe.

Politicians could learn something from the American people.  We all love our country and we all want to prosper and succeed, so we all need to just get along.  We are greater together than we are apart.  We are stronger when we join together to solve our problems.  Whatever happens on Tuesday, I sure hope the Democrats, Republicans and the few Independents can set about to do the work of the American people without the constant discourse!  Jon and Stephen made it safe to remember to be “SANE” when talking about politics.  I hope the politicians “get it”.

Here is an article on the rally!

Ten Things I Won’t Miss About this October

  • Posted on October 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

1)  I won’t miss anything about the

This is from a Bay City Times file picture!

M.E.A.P.  (Michigan Educational Assessment Program)  Since school started this year we have all been in M.E.A.P. mode.  This means we have a different schedule and homerooms where we work with students to help get them ready for the big test.  Now that the big test is over, we all have a regular schedule with our regular times for our classes.  I don’t even want to hear the word M.E.A.P. for awhile.  I’m glad I can now focus on teaching art and enjoying my students!


Mom and Dad's Tree, no more!

I will not be missing this crazy weather.  I woke up this morning to look on Facebook only to discover that my favorite tree was killed by strong winds.  Rest in peace beautiful tree of my youth.  I will miss that tree.  It was the first thing I would see when I would drive up north to see my parents.  Many things changed over the years but that beautiful tree was always there to greet me!  Mom and dad are both gone now.  My brothers have been remodeling the farm and now with the tree gone, it seems like everything I associated with my parents is completely gone except for their descendants, my memories and of course pictures!

3)      I won’t miss the crazy political ads.  I cannot remember a year when there were so many stupid, pointless political ads.  I especially hate this ad where this little girl is such a brat!  Why would anyone want to depict a child this way?  It seems abusive to me.  Tim Walberg Ad

4)      I won’t miss hearing any more pundits talking about Christine O’Donnell and witchcraft.  This video just shows that people do say a lot of different things over the course of their life and some of them are crazy!  However, most of us aren’t video taped saying crazy things.

5)      I won’t miss two, four hour night parent teacher conferences.  I will say that I think it was great and I wish I had seen more parents.  I saw nearly 60 student’s parents which is awesome!  However, sitting in the gym for four hours straight was very tiring!  It was difficult to squeeze in a bathroom break!  I’m thankful we have today off!

6)      I won’t miss hearing about “Sister Wives”.  I must admit I haven’t watched the show and have no desire to do so.  However, I have been hearing about it on shows and the Internet because it seems to have a lot of people talking.  It’s wrapping up its first season and I hope people stop talking about it!

Do you really want to know more about this man's sex life?

7)      I won’t miss the Tea Party people that go crazy at political rallies.  I like politics to a point but come on, there is never a reason to act like this.  I won’t miss any of this!

8)      I won’t miss the constant reporting about some poll that says how America is going to vote!  Sometimes it seems like they think we have already voted.  Tuesday cannot come fast enough for me!  Here is the latest “poll” on the governor’s race.

9)      I won’t miss the constant talk about Sarah Palin. Will she or won’t she run for president in 2012?  Hello, we haven’t even finished this election.  I don’t want to think about another election for a long time.

Sarah Palin, will she or won't she?

10)   I won’t miss this mean political season where politics seems to bring the worse out of most politicians.  Senator Lisa Murkowski actually said one of her opponents is “unfit” for the office.  Kendrick Meeks has been asked by his own party to step aside and put support behind Charlie Crist.   Then there is that Rand Paul “Aqua Buddha” ad.  Yikes!  Enough said!  I’m glad October is almost over!

The Politics of a “Growth” Mindset

  • Posted on October 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm

What kind of mindset do politicians have, fixed or growth?

This weekend I have been busy working on an online course about the adolescent brain.  My own brain feels a bit heavy as I am fighting a head cold and trying to embrace this online course with gusto!  I’ve read a lot this weekend and it isn’t about politics.  However, I am sure I can make an analogy between the “fixed” mindset and “growth” mindset as it pertains to politics and politicians.  Here is a good diagram that I can share with you, so you can understand what I’ve been thinking about.  It is fascinating so click on it and study it!

If you study the chart you will tend to recognize what kind of mindset you have yourself.  Of course we all will want to think that we have a “growth” mindset as it is pretty obvious that with a growth mindset you can go far in the world.  I was thinking about politicians, both Republicans and Democrats.  It seems like the status quo is made up of the fixed mindset and the growth mindset would be those that aren’t afraid to change things up a bit.  Change is hard to achieve with a “fixed” mindset nation.  Even though we may know that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the somewhat silly definition of crazy, many voters are ready to do just that.  Even though they know what will happen if they vote the Republicans back in power, many are willing to do it even at the risk of their own best self interests.

The problems with the Democrats are looming ever larger as we get closer and closer to the election.  Many are concerned about the health care bill that was passed.  I refuse to call it “Obamacare” as I know the same thing was done to Hillary Clinton when she tried to pass a universal health care plan.  We all remember “Hillarycare”.  The same people are out saying the same things about “Obamacare”.  The truth is none of us really know whether the positives outweigh the negatives for the health care plan.  I’m beginning to think we have to give it some time as it seems like those with the money and the great health care are the ones squealing the hardest to repeal it.  The mindset of the Republicans is “fixed”.  They don’t want to change anything.  There whole idea is to give tax breaks to the wealthy and big business and it will trickle down to the little guy.  Unfortunately, that ship has already sailed and it sunk!  After forty years of this trend, look where we are at.  The ugly head of poverty has reared again.  It seems that while the rich are getting richer, the poor are also getting poorer and some of the middle class are being knocked down to the level of poverty.  The tax break for the wealthy that GW passed that is set to expire didn’t work.  If it had worked, it seems to me that we wouldn’t be where we are today, in a heap of an economic mess!

I want some new ideas in politics.  Let’s get some growth minded people in office that are willing to think beyond the petty ideas of partisan politics.  Some might think the Tea Party people are the answer but when I hear things like, “We should get rid of social security from these people.” I know that isn’t the answer.  I understand their frustration with taxes.  However, most people that have a decent job don’t spend their lives complaining about their taxes.  In fact they’re too busy living their life.  If we all can have jobs that pay a decent wage, I’m sure most of us wouldn’t be as concerned about those darn taxes.

Republicans are excited about the possibility that they may take back the House and even the Senate.  Through no real effort on their part or any new ideas, this may be true.  So many want to “Throw the bums out!” and the bums are the people in power, the Democrats.  How soon we all forget what a wasteland the Republicans made of our country.

What mindset do you have?  Is it “fixed” in the past or leaning towards “growth” for the future?  Think long and hard before you vote those old bums back in as they will probably be worse than the current bums and they will have a “fixed” mindset.  They think they are right about everything.  Don’t reinforce this image they have of themselves by rewarding them with your vote.  In Nevada they don’t want you to vote if you are a Latino that voted for Democrats.

That’s right Latinos, don’t vote, that will show them.  Talk about voting for your own best interest or not voting for them.  I always encourage people to vote.  Regardless of party we all should vote.  It’s the only way to get a true representation of what the people want.  I encourage everyone to vote, even Republicans!

However, we already know what the Republicans will do.  Their policies are the policies that they hold in their “fixed” mindset.  They will take us back to the future or the past.  Their policies favor big business and the wealthy.  If you aren’t with them, you are against them.  Their thinking is black and white with nothing in between.  They will try to control you through everything from gay marriage, women’s rights, teaching Creationism in schools and other divisive issues to the separation of church and state.  They will talk about how great the constitution is and then they will set out to change some of the amendments to it.  You know what you get with those Republicans.  It may seem safe to you because it is familiar as it’s a show you have seen before.  However, if you want something new for this nation, open your mind to the possibilities of a “growth” mindset.  Vote for people that have a vision of a different future.  Embrace change and think about how we might be able to be stronger as a nation if we all work together for the growth of our great nation.  Let’s not step back to the fast but embrace the future.  Vote for people that have a “growth” mindset for the future and the middle class.  Don’t vote for the past.  Vote for the future and the future of our children.

Scared Straight

  • Posted on October 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Voting for Republicans should scare you to death!

Recently President Obama made the following statement, “Americans are so “scared” they’re not thinking straight about the upcoming elections.”  This brought back “Scared Straight” memories.  If any of you have not seen this old documentary.  Here is a small video clip well worth watching.  Essentially, the kids are “cut ups” and in order to set them “straight” they are introduced to “real” convicts.  Watch the video and think about it in terms of politics.  I think the Democrats and President Obama are playing the wrong message.  Democrats may be so scared they can’t think straight like President Obama claims.  Hell, I’m mad as hell at the Democrats for acting so much like Republicans.  However, Obama and the Democrats need to have the “Scared Straight” message to send to potential voters.  Maybe if voters can really think things through, they will realize that although the Democrats are really bad, by God, the Republicans are infinitely worse.

So maybe President Obama needs to use the “Scared Straight” tactic for voting.  Maybe he needs to tell it to the voters straight.  Maybe they have to be scared straight into voting Democratic.  Maybe he needs to introduce them to some real Republicans just like the convicts in the movie.  In the movie clip that I just shared with you, towards the end the convict talked about when you ask the quiet guy to take care of you, you just became his property in every way possible.  Is this what is going to happen if people vote for the Republicans?  Maybe voters need to know what differences will take place.  Right now it’s hard to see any differences between the two parties.

So tell me Mr. President.  Scare me straight.  What evil things will the Republicans do next?  The problem I have is I just don’t see much difference between the two parties.  They both seem to like corporations better than people. I’ll be honest.  I’m not rushing out looking for a Republican to vote for I’m simply looking for someone that puts people before corporations.  The pickings have been slim.

You know for years I thought there was a major difference between the two parties.  It’s only been the last few years that the two have some how blended together but we all can still easily recognize a DINO.

You really can’t scare me about merit pay.  That used to be Republican union busting talk.  Some how you thought that was a good idea, so you implemented it.  War used to be something that those crazy Republican “Hawks” always had to dabble in.  Yep, we’re still caught up in these two crazy wars, so there doesn’t seem to be a difference there.  That crazy torture stuff that GW started, which I thought would surely be abandoned along with Guantanamo Bay….well, enough said we still torture or at least we put a hit out on an American citizen and we still have Guantanamo Bay.  How can the Republicans be any worse?  I know it’s the social issues.  Just tell Granny to hang on to her pocketbook and hang on tight.  Those nasty Republicans are looking to snatch away her Social Security check.  They’re also going to get rid of that new fangled health care that no one seems to understand.  By George those Republicans are even going to cut welfare.

All I can say is, “Scare me some more!”  What the Democrats haven’t done is proven they can govern different than the Republicans.  This is a nasty game called politics and it seems like only the most corrupt win.  Well, I do have the answer for President Obama and the Democrats.  Tell the truth. Tell exactly what you think the Republicans plan to do when they get into office.

Here are some starters for you.  It’s not that hard to figure out what they would and would not do.

If you put them head to head, there are differences!

Republicans would:

Aim to repeal the health care bill rather than build on it.

Not pass legislation to extend unemployment benefits.

Pass tax cuts for big business and the high wage earners above $250,000.

Continue to support money for war, any war, because they haven’t met a war they wouldn’t fund.

Would plan on privatizing every aspect of government including education, our roads, anything they can think of to help their buddies.

Repeal the minimum wage because in these tough times we have to let the market determine the wage.

Put everything they can back on the states to pay for because they believe in “state’s rights” above all else.

Give more money to “faith based” organizations.

Take away money from social programs.

Not create any new stimulus projects.

Not provide legislation to fix our crumbling infrastructure.

Cut capital gains taxes and get rid of the estate tax on the wealthiest Americans.

Call for loosening environmental standards to help business.

Push for more off shore drilling without putting safety standards in place.

Now that wasn’t so hard was it?  If you are a Democrat and your mad like me, just think about what the Republicans really want to do. As a Democrat you may now notice that as much as we are disappointed by the current batch of Democrats, they aren’t as bad as the Republicans that we would surely get. Trust me.  They don’t want to help the little guy.  It’s all for big business and corporations.  So, even if you’re mad as hell, vote for the Democrats!

"Scared Straight" should scare you into voting for the Democrats!

The Education of Bristol Palin

  • Posted on October 17, 2010 at 12:42 am

Bristol Palin could surely be the girl next door.

I haven’t been watching “Dancing with the Starts”.  However, I have seen enough of it this season through small clips to wonder what’s going on with Bristol Palin.  We all know the story about Bristol and who her famous mom is and all the problems that may go with being a child of politics.  The show has used Bristol for the obvious reasons of obtaining ratings.  What is sad to see is the way this child is being put into some fairly risqué dance routines that don’t seem to fit her personality at all.  She is being used and abused by a system for a monetary gain.  It makes me wonder what this young woman would do for money?  I think Bristol could easily have been on this show and not have been put into the sexy situations and the show could still have great ratings.  For some unknown reason the show executives have decided to portray Bristol in a fairly raunchy way which I think undermines all young women and surely portrays Bristol in the poorest light possible.

I feel she is being forced to do the opposite of what she is really about.  I saw the first dance where she was dressed like her mom and then her coat was ripped off to reveal a rather sultry, flashy, hooker type dress.

This dress is so un-Palin like and highly suggestive.

This may have been a statement that Bristol was trying to make, but I highly doubt it.  What troubles me is seeing mom in the audience whooping it up when Bristol looks to be rather uncomfortable in her own skin.

Some people probably have no sympathy for Bristol because she is getting paid to do this show.  However, I wonder if this young woman realizes how she appears to be some comic parody.  She is supposed to be representing “abstinence”.  In every aspect of the show that I have witnessed she has been portrayed more like a harlot than a confused teen.  She is fairly young and inexperienced.  She made a mistake as a youngster and she is living with the consequence of her mistake.  This new Bristol seems to have given up something precious from the old Bristol.  That would be the “self respect” thing.  I don’t believe for a minute that this young woman really wants to be portrayed as she is currently is or else she is just clueless to the image that she is playing.  In the most recent dance she wore seamed stockings and a shirt.  She actually pulled off the shirt of her dance partner as though she was so full of lust she had to have him right there and now.  This is a new level of trash TV and I’m appalled that Bristol has been put in this position and doesn’t seem to realize how she is being made fun of in many ways.

I think it’s a way to make fun of her and probably her mother’s stance on some issues.  However, mom has “bought” into this because money seems to trump anything else that really matters. The fact is it is tough to see Bristol as an abstinence proponent as it seems to be a case of “Do as I say, not as I did.”  However, she could be a great spokesperson to show young teens that there are consequences for having sex that you may have to live with in the future.  However, Bristol’s life seems to be better than ever.  She gets to be on a TV show.  She’s making a lot more money than any other kid her age would be making if they were in the same situation, young, unwed with a child.  It’s really about the education of Bristol and this education seems to be about making money while the press still thinks you have value.  There is a certain amount of sleaziness to all of this.  What won’t Bristol do for money?  She obviously gave up some of her virtuous clothing choices to appear on this show but more than that she seems to be willing to try to appear to look like some unrestrained sex kitten for ratings.

I am troubled by all of this.  I look at Bristol with the eyes of a mother and also with the eyes of a woman.  I see her as being betrayed by her female qualities for the sole purpose of selling a product and the product is sex.  It really is abusive to all young women to see her portrayed in this manner.   We are back to the Madonna/Whore phenomenon.   A woman must be portrayed as the good girl or the bad girl, the Madonna or the whore.  Bristol is a “fallen” woman as she had sex without marriage and she wasn’t able to cover it up like most young women because she got pregnant and chose to keep the baby.  I guess now that she is a “fallen” woman it’s okay for her to be portrayed as a slut.

This is how Bristol is being portrayed on the internet. This is fake for now.

Bristol’s mom is so busy campaigning and selling her own books that she doesn’t seem to mind the image that her “fallen” daughter is sending out to other young women and of course living with while she dances and prances on this show.  This is poor parenting from my point of view.  I know we have little control over what our children do in life but mom doesn’t have to sit there acting like everything is fine and dandy talking about “Bristol the Pistol” as though she’s just a sweet little girl from Wasilla, Alaska.  No, Bristol is getting an education but it’s not the kind of education most of us want for our daughters, nieces, friends, sisters or any young woman we really care about to get.  Bristol is discovering her worth is related to what her body can give her.  Right now her body is selling sexual fantasy.  It’s an image most of us wouldn’t want attached to our young ones.  Most of us want our children to get a real education by going away to college and learning about life under the bubble of the perfection and idealism that college can sometimes be.  Bristol seems to be attending some kind of college of hard knocks but the money is so good that she doesn’t see what she’s lost in the process.  Kids can be stubborn and sometimes they revolt from what their parents want but some how I don’t think Bristol’s mom seems to mind where her daughter is right now.  I just wish they could both see what I see.  Bristol may be having fun with all of this and maybe I’m an old stogie but truthfully there is more to being a woman than just trying to appear sexual.  This young woman saw two roads and she chose this one.  I wonder what the other one would have brought her.

Tribute to a Fallen Soldier

  • Posted on October 15, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Sgt. Amanda "Mandy" Sheldon

Last night I was watching the news and learned about the suicide of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, a young female soldier from Michigan.  Her devastated mother was interviewed about her daughter.  Her mother truly wanted to let soldiers that are having a hard time dealing with depression to know that it is okay to seek help.  What happened to Amanda is a tragedy and I was touched by her mother as any mother would be.  I felt a need to share this young woman’s plight with other people in the hope that more can be done for these soldiers.

At some time during her military career Amanda was given a date rape drug and raped by a superior.  (I want to add here that I was watching “Oprah” tonight as she had a show about homeless female veterans and Tammy Duckworth said that one in three female soldiers are assaulted in the military.)  The suspect was discharged from the Army and was convicted but Amanda’s problems didn’t stop there.  She did seek counseling.  Later when she was up for a promotion, military personnel wanted to know why she needed counseling.  This must have made Amanda feel that the military deemed that a “weakness”.  She never went in for counseling again and she suffered dearly for it.

Her mother said that Amanda was planning on leaving the military and starting a new life attending college.  She had one more deployment with her unit to Afghanistan to do.  Her mom said that to deploy she would have to sign up for two more years.  She didn’t really want to do that.  Her mom also said that she had fallen in love and was very torn between going with her unit to Afghanistan and leaving the military as either choice would eventually “let someone down”.  Amanda evidently couldn’t take it and instead of going in for counseling, she took her own life.

The full story about Amanda can be read here:

Amanda’s obituary is here:

Something needs to be done to protect these women from being assaulted.  I remember reading a few years back about young women in the military dying of dehydration in the desert when they were deployed in Iraq because they feared going to the bathroom in the night.  There were many female soldiers being assaulted.  Many would not drink fluids that they needed to stay healthy in the desert because of this fear of having to go to the latrine late at night.

A female soldier is tough but sexual abuse can take every ounce of toughness out of anyone.  It can destroy lives just as it seems to have destroyed the life of this beautiful, young soldier named Amanda or “Mandy” by her friends.  We all know life isn’t fair but our country owes our young people a debt  of gratitude for their service and a sense of honor that allows them to be safe from predators when they are serving their country.  We should all be outraged because Amanda isn’t just the child of her own parents.  She is your child and my child.  Mandy’s death should not be in vain.  We should all be contacting our representatives and pushing for more to be done so other soldiers don’t follow Mandy and take their own life because they see no other option.

I wrote my representative about this.  I hope you will be moved to do the same so that something more can be done to protect these young female soldiers from sexual predators.  Here is the link:

You can also contact your senators here:

Please do something.  I have written both of my senators and my representative.  If we want our daughters protected from sexual predators in the military, let’s stand up and do something about it.  Mandy could be my daughter and she could be your daughter.  She deserved better and we as a nation should have protected her better.


  • Posted on October 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Is it religion or is it just a Mac?

I came across this article today and it made me think.

It was funny that it was in the Christian Science Monitor because the other day I was likening Mac lovers to being part of the religion of “Macintology”.  That is a totally made up word by the way.  I made some comment about how Mac people seemed like sheep.  I’m laughing about this because my son is a major computer geek.  He knows anything anyone would want to know about computers.  He gets annoyed with Mac people because they seem to be close minded and elitist.  At least I think that is what he thinks.  He does have an Iphone and I know he likes the Mac platform as he has used it on his PC.  He couldn’t believe all the people at the Mac store in Chicago where he went to get his phone repaired.  He had an appointment but still had to wait an hour and a half.  The people in the store didn’t seem to mind waiting.  The store was packed and he couldn’t believe it in this economy.  It’s interesting that Mac has these marketing ploys where they get everyone worked up over their next big thing.  Whatever the new thing is on October 20th I’m sure there will be many Mac people standing in line like little sheep paying homage and waiting patiently for whatever Mac is selling them!

Looking at the Apple “iCandy” pictures I must admit that Ipad looks like it would be a lot of fun.

I never got into the Apple format because I was always “PC poor”.  I could always buy two or three personal computers for the price of a Mac, so I never had the opportunity or urge to join that religion.

Apple wants you to think different and then follow the other sheep!

Mac people don’t be offended by my little entry here.  I suppose one religion is as good as the next.  At least you believe in something and you’re willing to defend your right to believe in the almightiness of Mac.  I on the other hand will continue to use my PC and never refer to it in any type of elitist tone as it is what it is, a computer, something I use to get to some place else, to create some other place, to learn about the world and to whine about everything from politics to religion.  It’s not my religion.  It’s just a good friend when I have something on my mind!

Grand Rapids Artprize

  • Posted on October 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

"A Matter of Time" by Paul Baliker

Yesterday I attended the Grand Rapids “Artprize”.  Grand Rapids is about a two hour drive north of Sturgis.  Last year was the first “Artprize”.  I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like, so I didn’t attend.  This year the venue was widely displayed on my local television channels and I was really excited about checking it out.  Artprize is an art competition with a huge pay out for the winning artist, $250,000.  There are other prizes as well with a total of nearly a half a million dollars.  Last year around 1200 artists participated and this year found over 1700 artists throwing their hats in the ring coming from many states and even other countries.  Without a doubt this is one of the most amazing art venues I have ever had the pleasure to witness!  I kept thinking while I was in Grand Rapids that this was a real “happening” event.  I’m already thinking about next year and hoping I am able to attend it again.  I highly recommend this event to anyone that is able to make the trip.  I would even suggest planning a small vacation around it as you will never see anything quite like it any where else.  I believe this is a wonderful boost for the city of Grand Rapids as well.  The crowds were enormous.  I t was wonderful seeing so many people coming out to look at art.  The Michigan State vs. Michigan game was even on and people were not rushing home to watch the game.  They stayed to look at the art!

The downtown Grand Rapids area is very quaint and I loved being down there checking out the many different styles of art.  I was only probably able to see a small portion of this event.  You really need several days to see it all.  I was there for around seven hours and went to several different places to see the art.  I am exhausted because it was a lot of walking and it is quite spread out over the downtown area.  This year it was also out at Frederik Meijer Garden and  Sculpture Park.  I didn’t get out there and I also didn’t get down by Grand Valley State University.  I had already attended the Chihuly exhibit so I knew I didn’t plan on going out to the park.  I’m going to walk you through a lot of what I saw today but concentrate on some of the key pieces that really spoke to me.

I planned my trip on the computer and figured I would head to the Grand Rapids Art Museum first.  Unfortunately, I think everyone else was thinking the same thing.  I had to wait about a half an hour in a very long line to get into the building.

This is a panel from the final piece, Cavalry.

The very long line to get into the G.R.A.M. (Grand Rapids Art Museum)

Everyone was there, like me, to see the number one award winner, a huge pencil drawing by Chris LaPorte.  He won the $250,000 prize.  It is quite amazing that a pencil drawing won.  He used a #2 pencil, nothing else!

I didn’t get to see it!  When I got inside there was another hour and a half wait to get upstairs to see the piece.  After driving two hours I wasn’t going to spend my day just waiting in lines, so I opted out on this one.  It will be on display until early January so I may try to go back to see it!  In the lower part of the G.R.A.M. were some wonderful pieces.  Two in particular really stood out for me.

The first piece is called “Salt and Earth”  and was created by Young Kim from Winston Salem, North Carolina.  This artwork is hard to describe.  Kim became friends with the woman in the picture.  She is suffering a serious illness.  The picture is projected from lights above onto the salt below in a calotype photography method.  This is also a top ten winner.  Unfortunately, someone stepped on one of the pieces.  This piece will fade over time just as the person he met and is depicted in the photos, Patrice, will become weaker and fade with her illness.

Salt piece by Kim Young

As I walked into the room I was greeted by these strange pictures under the lights. When I turned I saw the large cirlces of salt on the floor with the picture of a woman.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t get upstairs but I was totally mesmerized by this piece created by Janice Arnold and titled “Chroma Passage”.  I was literally transformed from time and place to a tranquil feeling of being at the beach on Lake Michigan.  When I was inside this webbed structure I noticed other people just busily rushing through it.  I wanted one of two things to happen.  I wanted them to stop and feel what I was feeling or quickly get out of the way so I could enjoy my moment.  I felt like I could hear the waves rushing in and I could feel the power of the sun beating down.  I feel this piece was “transformational” because I was transformed from the art museum to a wonderful space out on the lake!  I could see her concept in the Petoskey stones that she sprinkled outside the space onto the sidewalk.  This piece was designed around this space for the museum.  I truly am shocked that it didn’t win any awards that I am aware of as it was the most emotionally feeling piece that I personally witnessed!  In her own words Janice said, “I hope Chroma Passage will be a transformative experience, changing the way the world understands textiles, art, and the personal connection we have to both.”  The amazing thing is I photographed her work statement to read later.  I felt all I was feeling without reading her statement.   The word transformative was used by both of us so I think her art was highly successful from my perspective.  She made me feel something special and it stood out from all of the other artworks I viewed yesterday!

This was put up in a hallway made entirely of windows. This is hand made felt.

I felt the waves moving and crashing against the shoreline.

Many people just simply walked through to get to something else. A few of them stopped briefly.

After going to the G.R.A.M., I went to the “BOB” which was basically the “big old building”.  There were a lot of people and many sculptural pieces.  Here are a few of these:

This was made with metal scraps.

Artwork could be sublime or even ridiculous. This piece is reminiscent of Claus Oldenburg's sculptures.

This sculpture was billed as the “human sculpture”.  This was a performance piece.  He stayed still but came out of character and surprised the crowd. I video taped him.  Unfortunately I had to hold my small, cheap camera over my head to get over the crowd.  In the process I see his head is missing much of the time.  You can get a laugh off this one!

Here he is looking like a bronze sculpture!

Later in the day when I was at the Van Andel Museum I saw this human sculpture.  Many people were teasing each other about whether he was really a person sitting there.  I’m sure they witnessed the other human sculpture piece.  This piece felt like he was truly alive.  You could almost feel and hear him breathing.  It was quite amazing!

The day was quite overwhelming with so many different art styles and pieces.  It was an art lovers dream paradise!

Here is an artwork that you could touch and play with.

Some how with my Catholic upbringing this reminded me of "Palm Sunday"! Go figure!

This piece was made up of pennies. This was an award winner.

Art is so subjective as what appeals to me might not appeal to you and so on.  I didn’t really care for the penny piece but it was big and it was complete from front to back and it rotated.  This piece was out by the Gerald Ford Museum.  There were some artworks made out of huge numbers of strange materials like toothpicks, straws, miniature balls, and other things as well.  They seemed like they must have been done by people with either great patience or  OCD or maybe even both!

These lips are made completely out of clear straws and back lit with a red acrylic piece.

This mermaid was made out of thousands and thousands of toothpicks!

This was made up of little tiny balls put into clear channel tubing.

AS you can see I went from place to place witnessing all kinds of unusual artworks.  Here are more.

Inside this piece you could make his "brain" work. This was in response to how this artist gets his ideas.

This piece had many familiar objects on it including a yellow submarine. Of course I was reminded of the Beatles. Yesterday was John Lennon's birthday as well.

I felt some fear for the little rabbit here.

A lot of dots here!

A beautiful oil painting, photographic really.

This piece reminded me of Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch, strange indeed.

And a close up of the "man eating" sausage!

This painting had cut out pieces which looked like miniature Polish Wycinank style paper cutting.

I think this art was from Yugoslavia and it was the story of his home. You can see the effects of war.

I came across a piece that was made up of dreams.  These were essentially Ball canning jars filled with objects and some kind of preservative and then placed on shelves.  I thought it was a thought provoking piece and rather whimsical.  She included what looked like “toe tags” with many of her dreams on them.

There were also street performers.  There were many pianos out on the streets that anyone could play.  I talked to Carlos and here is a bit from him.

I saw hundreds of artworks yesterday.  It was just a portion of what was at the event.  I left with a wonderful feeling of having been exposed to some great art as well as loving the fact that so many people came out to see art, just like me.  I really cannot wait until next year.  It will be wonderful to see what people come up with next!  My son asked me if I wanted to submit something.  Some of these pieces took countless hours.  I think maybe when I retire, it could be fun.  The second place winner looks like a painting but it is actually stained glass.  It took the artist 2700 hours to create.  Each piece is so tiny.  The overall effect is just breath taking!  What I’m trying to give you is a feel for Artprize and hopefully I have done that.  Just remember that over 1700 artists had artwork on display and they came from all over the world with most from the states.  Seriously, if you can make it to Artprize next year, you won’t be sorry.  This was started by the De Vos family who happen to be very rich.  They are the owners of Amway.  The son who is around 27 is the brain child of the event.  I encourage you to check out more about this at the event website.

This is not a political event.  This is an art event that speaks to all people.  There is something for everyone!

I loved these paintings. I'll put a couple up so you can see them better.

This piece was hanging over the river.

Back at the BOB. These pieces are made out of glass.

An optimistic piece at the Gerald Ford Museum.

A rather huge wood block print

This was made from ceramic pieces like a mosaic.

This is a splashing wave.

This was the first piece I saw. Notice the man performing beside it.

This was back at the BOB!

An oil painting at the G.R.A.M.

This one just made me think about "when pigs fly"! lol

This piece was interactive as you could sign your name.

This piece was made up with little tiny stitching.

This piece reminded me of a cross between Van Gogh and Seurat.

This is a cut paper piece hanging at DeVos Place.

These aren't fairies but they sure reminded me of hidden little fairies. If you didn't pay attention, these could be easily missed.

These fish looked like they were ready to attack!

This was an interesting display with the intricate lace cut out pattern on the wheel barrows and shovels.

Beautiful and made up of numerous small pieces of glass.

This is a close up view of the stained glass piece.

This is the "Dream" piece.

From the dream piece.

This was an award winner. You could only view it through a window. It tells a story kind of like we are all tied together.

This is another award winner. The heads move gracefully up and down, a kinetic sculpture.

This piece was based on found objects around the city of Detroit. It was moving in many ways.

This piece was put in a bad location which was poorly lit. It's beautiful.

A close up look at the peacock's head.

As you can see, yesterday was a splendid day.  From my drive up with the beautiful weather with the many colorful trees to my drive back contemplating my super artistic day.  All is right with the world when you can see the potential and creativity of people!

I just want to make a special note here.  The “Throw Them a Bone” piece is running into this piece.  I want to keep all of these pictures up so try to ignore it please.  I’m just not that talented nor patient enough to go through any more time trying to fix it.  I’m not about to delete and put back on all of these pictures.  I’m not perfect but hopefully you will like this post anyway!

Throw Them a Bone Once in Awhile!

  • Posted on October 6, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the pre-wedding dinner for her daughter.P

Please note that the embedding for a couple of these videos has been disabled, so please be sure and click on the link as you’re reading this piece.  It’ll be worth it!

I was thinking tonight that the only real difference between Republicans and the current Democratic Party are “bones”.  Once in awhile the Democratic Party will throw their dog, you know “Us”, a bone.  We sit patiently waiting like the good dog we are for that proverbial bone.  In the past two years the bone picking has been pretty slim.  We haven’t had much to chew on and this is precisely why we’re willing to bite the hand that thinks they feed us!

It isn’t hard to keep us content.  We’ll put up with a lot, if we have a job.  Now that many of us are worried about the economy and not feeling all that loyal to our Democratic Party, we aren’t ready to wait for that proverbial bone.  If our master hasn’t been giving us that proverbial bone, we just might find ourselves running off to find a new master.

Well here is a little bone that keeps getting chucked out at just the right moment, or so they think.

This has been going around for awhile now.  I think this is just another bone that the Democrats think will get their “base” fired up.  Today I heard on “Morning Joe” that President Obama is losing the white, non college educated voter and the Latino voters aren’t too excited either.  These were those hold outs during the primary that held fast in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia for Hillary Clinton.  I have mentioned many times on here how upset some Democrats still are over the primary, so there is no real news here.  However, now we can maybe get excited about the possibility that Hillary could be the VP in 2012.  Imagine that, the first female Vice President.  Oh, and Vice President Joe Biden, well, he could be Secretary of State.  For those of us that have great respect for Hillary, this can be enticing, except we still would want her at the top of the ticket, not number two!  Wow, maybe we should go out and vote in the election to make sure she has something left to work with when she gets the job!  Oh, could this be some little bone to manipulate us into voting, get us excited again?  I wonder?

Oh, that little bone they just threw out to us.  It tastes so good, but we know it won’t last.  They’ll take that bone back just as soon as this most recent election is over.  Yes, and Hillary had to come out and put all this silly talk to rest.

Oh, dear me, that was back in 2008!  Oh, they really don’t like Hillary standing in Obama’s bright light.  These men just really don’t want Hillary at all.  “David vs. Goliath”, oh my, and today some of these same guys sing a different tune.  I really meant to put this one up!

Oh, these men, really just want to give us that little bone, so we can feel like they really do care about us.  They really do understand our angst.  As I said many of us haven’t really gotten over the primary in 2008 when people like me had our vote given to Barack Obama here in Michigan, even though we didn’t vote for him.  Some votes were also taken from Hillary and given to Obama because we were told if Obama had been on the ticket, these people would have voted for him, not her!  There they were, our Democratic Party taking care of us again.  Doing for us what we aren’t able to do for ourselves, vote!  You know when you’re just a dog, you don’t always have a very big brain, so you need your master to take care of  you.

I’m so excited about this new idea.  It’s getting me all tingly feeling: just like Chris Matthews when he thinks of President Obama.  Oh, if only this could really happen.  Well, I’m sure it could, if we voted for the Democrats!Here's to you Hillary!  Everyone loves you now!

Let’s have some fun with this.  How about playing the drinking game?  Every time “they” mention Hillary Clinton’s name before the election let’s have a drink.  I expect to be a little tipsy before this election is over!

Here’s to you Hillary!  Everyone loves you now!  Well, at least until the election is over!

Dreams of Our Fathers…and “Buck Up”……

  • Posted on October 4, 2010 at 7:09 pm

I must admit that while I have read President Obama’s, “The Audacity of Hope”, I have not read his “Dreams of My Father”.  After reading the recent Rolling Stone’s article on President Obama and seeing his comment that Democrats have to “Buck up!”, I am left wondering at the audacity of Obama.  This shows so well the complete lack of understanding there is between what happens in Washington D.C. and what happens “Anywhere” in America; where people are struggling to pay their bills, keep their jobs, get health care and be treated with respect.  It is appalling to think that this man who once joked about his lack of seniority in the Senate and the “jobs” they’d let him do, who at the time appeared to show a “humble” side is now becoming a rather arrogant president.  This behavior could be excused but insulting the American voter is never really excusable.

President Obama was essentially finished with the interview and overall it was pretty much a “love fest” between Rolling Stone magazine and President Obama.  The interview seemed to be used for the president to talk about that “70%” of his agenda that he says he has completed.  The president was motioned away and then came back and felt the need to add this condescending statement to the interview:

“We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that’s what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we’ve got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”

I know all of us come from varied heritages.  We have many different racial and ethnic backgrounds but one thing has always been true.  We have a deep abiding love for our country and we think it is the most wonderful place to raise our children.  Our dreams are what our fathers and mothers have always dreamed, that if you work hard and play fair you can go far in America!  America is a place of opportunity.  In recent times we have noticed that those doors of opportunity have been getting slammed shut.  We can and do still dream, but we haven’t quite figured out when all of these politicians started thinking more “globally” rather than about our own country and more about business than the American people.  I think it is a lofty goal to try to stamp out poverty globally but it’s almost sad to think that these same politicians cannot seem to recognize that they only need to look in their own districts and states to see the dire need in this country.

All of us know that there has been a progression, mostly through education, in our own families.  Each generation has become generally a little more educated and wealthier.  However, this most recent generation is finding out the hard truth of today’s world.  Some of them cannot even afford college and the truth is they may go to college and come out and not be able to find a job that pays enough to pay for their student loans.  The truth is they may end up with a life threatening illness and end up in poverty because they’ve lost all of their money trying to pay the doctors, the pharmacy and the hospital.  The truth is they may have worked in the same job for twenty years only to go in one day and find out their job is being exported out of the country and they have no idea if they have marketable skills for another job.  The truth is, both parents have to work, so their child goes to school and comes home to an empty house and mom and dad really don’t know what their child is up to, but they hope for the best.

We all dream for our children.  We dream that they will have a bright and shiny future filled with happiness and fulfillment.  We dream that they will grow up healthy, get an education, land a great job doing something that they love and have a wonderful family life.  These dreams used to be very attainable but today we are all filled with uncertainty of what the future will bring.  This is one of the many reasons why I cannot understand how President Obama can continue to show such a vast lack of understanding  of the American family condition.

His family has led a life of privilege.  His children go to private schools as did his wife and Obama, himself.  He and his wife have gone to the best universities.  He has traveled all over the world as has his family.  He sees the world globally while we see the world through our communities.  We are tied to our lives in our communities.  Many of us do what we can to better our communities.  We know that we are part of the global community but our heart may be in Michigan, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and somewhere else in this vast country.   In reality we are all brought together from many parts to make one, not “one world” rule, but we are Americans!  Yes, we continue to dream, just as our parents dreamed, but now we must fight.

We must fight to keep our dreams for our children alive.  We cannot sit back idly and allow our politicians, and even you, President Obama,  to continue to ignore the plight of our country.  We must address the issues of poverty, the economy, the two wars and our failing infrastructure.  This is how we can show our patriotism and our love not only for our country but for the dreams of our parents, ourselves and our children to come.  So President Obama if you are finding yourself in a quandary as to why the base isn’t too fired up this election cycle, maybe it’s because you seem so out of touch with who we really are and what we really want.

When you were voted in with that “hope and change motto” many people thought you were going to aspire to do all you could for our country.   However, as the countless vacations and golf outings continued to take place, some of us out here were left wondering if you have the right work ethic.  From my perspective, I haven’t noticed much difference between GW and you.  I will give you credit for the stimulus as I think it did some good.  It was probably too small and maybe should have been directed more closely to the American people like the home buyer’s credit and the car buying credit were.  However, I think I’m not alone in my disappointment about most of the other areas and this is what part of your problem is for us.  You talked a lot about change, but we find ourselves still involved in two wars.  Guantanamo is still open.  The health care bill avoided single payer or anything else that resembles what most of us were hoping would happen.  Like your predecessor the banks were more important than the people.  While the banks were too big to fail, the American people were too small to matter.  This is the sad truth.

So, now you want those Democrats to basically stop whining and buck up like we’re some sniveling child that simply is having a temper tantrum.  Mistakes were made back in May of 2008 with the fallout of the Michigan and Florida primary.  While you may have moved on, many Democrats, like me, still feel the sting of that primary election when our votes were simply awarded to you, even though we voted for someone else .  At that time many of us felt betrayed by our party.

From my perspective you probably could have won my “loyalty” back, if you hadn’t governed so much like a Republican.  It’s hard for me to see you as anything but a black version of GW and the Democratic Party as the “LITE” version of the Republican Party.  You actually seem to be more comfortable with politicians and corporate heads than the American people.  Trust me when I say, “I want to believe in my party again.”  The Republicans give me nothing that makes me want to vote for them.  With the Democrats being a somewhat less offensive version of the Republicans, it’s still hard to get fired up about this election!  I mourn for my Democratic Party and what it used to be.  These young kids today probably don’t even know what a “real” Democrat is or what a “FDR” Democrat governs like.  We have had many years of Democrats morphing into this Republican “lite” version.  You and your fellow Democrats may be used to it.  I, on the other hand, see no point in two parties that are so closely aligned with business that it’s difficult to see the difference between them.

Knowing that you will fail unless you can generate some enthusiasm with the Democrats, you sent Bill Clinton out to massage the masses.  Bill is so charming and he does make a lot of sense with his argument.  However, when I started listening to him I realized that I wished he was president, not you.  He can talk straight and he seems to have ideas for getting out of this economic mess, which makes me wonder why you didn’t put him on an economic team.  I know your people wanted to keep him out because Bill might take over.  He might shine too strong!  This was supposedly the big reason why Hillary couldn’t be considered for VP.  Seeing Bill makes me wonder what Hillary would have done different from you.  I know she would have used Bill’s talents instead of bringing him out for a failing election to throw a “Hail Mary” pass.  I also know she would have worked tirelessly because it appears that she is doing that as Secretary of State.  She barely took time off even for her own daughter’s wedding!  Bill “gets me”.  He knows how to talk to me and the American people.  Listen to him and maybe you won’t make me feel like a second class citizen with your “buck up” statement.  Bill would have never chosen to coerce me into voting for him with that kind of comment.  He would just lay out the choices in a logical manner that we all can understand.

Here is President Obama looking thoughtful. He needs to use his words as thoughtfully as he appears to be here.

President Obama, the problem you and the Democratic Party has is the fact that we are really “not that much into you”.  If there ever was a love affair, it is long past its prime!  I have to say when John Stewart made fun of Representative John Boehner and compared him to a cheating spouse that wants his woman back but promises not to change, which by the way was hilarious, I was left thinking he could mock you and the Democratic Party the same way.  You have  been sleeping with the enemy on everything from the war to taxes to even education!  That old “merit pay” talk was started by Republicans to kill the teacher’s unions.  It’s been enacted by you, supposedly a Democrat.  You can probably tell I’m a bit edgy about all of this.  I “bucked up’ a long time ago when I started writing down my thoughts and determined that I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the party left me!  My dreams of a party that will make this country strong again have been shattered.  I still dream for the future of our children as I will always keep “hope” alive.  I just don’t believe you when you say you’ve done so much and there’s more to do.  It sounds too much like when GW always used to say, “It’s hard work.”  We all work hard in this country.  You chose the job and spent a lot of money trying to get it.   I say President Obama “buck up” and quit your whining.  The American people deserve better and they deserve to have their dreams kept alive.  We will vote for the Democrats, if we think they’ll do everything they can to keep our dreams alive and attainable.  Right now, most real Democrats aren’t too sure about that.  The main thing you and the rest of the Democrats have going for you is the sheer fact that the Republicans are worse!

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