Wednesday, March 23, 2016

See Something Say Something? Ignored.


We are sad for Belgium.  Sad because no one should have to walk outside their home and worry about being attacked. Sad because this is the new "Normal".


Our government tells us we can be safe because of the "See Something, Say Something" policy, which assumes we are all alert and authorities will take appropriate action.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Below is a picture of a coat left on a seat.  Is something under it? Was it forgotten or left deliberately? When asked (Susan, loudly), no one around it said it was theirs.  That's me sitting, two seats away from it.  On the other side of it, a sack.  Is it empty?


Let's add some detail.  This was November 26, 2015 -- 13 days after the Paris attacks, when our government PR spinners kept insisting that "See Something, Say Something" was the best plan for our safety.  More detail? This was in the Washington, DC, Reagan airport.  An airport.  In Washington, DC, our nation's capital.  More detail?  The area where this coat was left was deserted, except for us. It was Southwest's gate waiting areas and we had gone to that particular gate section because it was an empty, quiet and calm area where we could wait for our flight call. But there was that coat.  What was under it? Anything? Nothing?  Nobody around but us.  Susan took a picture.

Finally, after calling out for someone to claim it, she walked over to the nearest check-in counter (Southwest Airlines) and pointed it out to the two attendants working there. She told them no one seemed to claim it and, based on the "See Something, Say Something" suggestion, she thought maybe security could come take a look at it.

We moved to a different gate section of the waiting area.  Twenty minutes later our flight was called and we boarded the plane.  During those twenty minutes no one ever came over and checked out the coat.  So much for security in your nation's airports.

First two images: Daniel Berehulak, NYT

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Going Green and Giving Green Away


St. Patrick's Day means wearing green and fortunately these birdies got the message.  Whatever.  We don't really care because we are very busy right now trying to do this paperwork:


It has put my Blog Wrangler in a very bad turbo-taxed mood.  Her mood about the computer and the Internet has been very bad lately and she's started a list of the nasty changes developers have made in programs she uses a lot.  (I'm just thankful she hasn't watched any of the political debates or she'd probably have throw the TV out the window.)  Right now she's considering putting all my pictures up on Tumblr or Instagram or somewhere else and giving up on this blog since Blogger/Google is dropping Picasa Web support.  We'll see.

In the meantime, since both Goodwill and Salvation Army are big, major (as in well-known) players in the U.S. business/economy, why does the government need their street address when we claim a donation to them? Like they are going to go there and look for the skillet we donated? Think back to 1994 when the Clintons revealed their tax documents and it showed they had claimed a $2 donation for underwear they donated.  Gotta love our government. Sort of.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day


Here's to all the women who never cease to amaze me. And I'm always amazed at the people who fail to see them as powerful. Or try to keep them from using their power.



Monday, February 29, 2016

Nobody Is Super


Arnie thinks Super Tuesday is just another day but then Arnie is suffering from terminal cuteness.

Check the trains going by your area for the latest travelers:



I'd like to put all those yapping political nightmares on a train to nowhere permanently.  Yes, all of them.  But others have said it better than I can:

Mark Twain:  There is no distinctly Native American criminal class, save Congress.

Edward Langley (Artist, 1928-1995):  What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.

Aesop:  We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.



Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Guys


Recognize us?  It's me and Seth Apter!  The famous Seth of The Altered Page.  We had coffee together last week and we were  happy to see each other because, after all, we are twins that were separated at birth.  Except that I think I have more hair than he does.  Not that there is much of that anyway.

We were in New York City last week, right after the big icy snowstorm and just before the crazy weather this week.  The timing was perfect because there wasn't even any snow on the ground while we were there.

The Guys above were at the Peter Fischli/David Weiss exhibit at the Guggenheim.  This is my opinion about the art in that exhibit:

Just because a cat has kittens 
in the oven 
 doesn't make them biscuits

We also went to the MOMA and saw this great mask by Joan Miro:

And the MOMA has an exhibit by Marcel Broodthaers.  This is my opinion about the art in that exhibit:

Just because a cat has kittens 
in the oven 
 doesn't make them biscuits

My Blog Wrangler just told me to get over it, there were plenty of other things we saw that were just fine.  And we got to have lunch with another New York friend who has great stuff here. She thinks it's very amusing that one of the highlights of our visit was a First -- seeing a rat in the subway!  He was more frightened of all of the passengers getting off the subway than we were of him.  Most people were checking him out to see if he had pizza. What are we talking about?  Go here to see.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Joyce Pensato


In January we went to Fort Worth to see the Gustave Caillebotte show at the Kimbell Museum.  It was a an interesting show with good notes/signage for each painting.  But it was very crowded and it's hard to see learn about the art when there are clusters of people, all holding up the museum's audio device to their ear, standing numbly in front of the art while they listen to the signage being read to them.

What do you do?  Slide in front of them so you can read the signage? Nope, we've figured out the trick.  Most museums will have a large-print brochure near the entrance of the special exhibit.  The brochure will duplicate the small print signage next to the art and will be set up in the order the art is arranged in the exhibit.  So, take the large print brochure, stand behind the numb-nuts listening to what the art is about, read the brochure and look at the art, without having to shuffle in and out of their frozen clusters. Sometimes the audio will have enhanced features but there is a point when you just have to look at the art and think about it for yourself.

The image above wasn't part of the Caillebotte show but was at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which is right across the street from the Kimbell.  It's called Texas Batman, by Joyce Pensato.  We'd never hear of her before but she's become more interesting to us because she makes big funky black and white painting and she's 70 years old.  And she has a messy studio (her own image):


Sometimes you find art just a block away, across the street from where you live.



Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sad Rabbit


This little rabbit is named "Fear No Beauty" by Kari Rives.  He's sad about the Rabbit Hash General Store that burned down this week.


Yes, we've been to Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, and we've seen the store (but we didn't go in).  How do you get there? You drive south from Cincinnati, Ohio, and pass through Sugartit, Kentucky.  Keep driving until you get to Beaverlick.  It's very famous for having all its signs stolen.  Turn to the west and make a rest stop at Big Bone Lick State Park.  Then back on Beaver Road toward Lower River Road where you'll eventually find Rabbit Hash.

No, I'm not making any of that up.

Going in a different direction (I'm sure you're thankful for that), here is another give-away.




I've used this glaze before and each time it is slightly different.

My Blog Wrangler is busy cursing just one more change in her life -- Picasa Web Albums are going to be closed out.  Every single picture in this blog is from Picasa Web Album on our desktop computer. Will Google find a way to preserve the pictures? Will Google find a way to make it simple for her to post pictures in the future?  We'll see.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love and All That Stuff


Beats me.  Happy Valentine's Day anyway.

This little Train Child stays right here with us - the Blog Wrangler insists.  So I pretend I made it just for her.
Here's hoping I get lucky for Valentine's Day.  Lucky?  That means a fresh, warm batch of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate (with Chocolate Chips) Premium Brownies.  With icing!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Who's Your Daddy?


Picasso at the MOMA.  He did really little stuff that maybe nobody noticed in the display case. These great heads are only about as big as a quarter.


At our Independent Living Retirement Community (that's marketing-speak for Old Folks' Home) we party a lot.  The proof is right here where yours truly and three other volunteers on the Bartenders Guild helped juice up the residents for our Mardi Gras party. Yessir-ee, Open Bar at all our parties! After all, none of us have to drive home.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Longhorn Red


This is Lester. He's about 3 inches high and is made from Longhorn Red clay.  Sometimes I'm using white clay, sometimes tan clay, sometimes whatever is left by other students.  Oh yeah, I claim those leftovers!  Some people might think I'm just being cheap (well, yes) but let's just consider it "repurposing".

For years and years Susan had this license plate and finally the state of Texas made her give it up for a different one.  After all, we need to have something for our prisoners to do.  Making a mold of the plate and then the plate duplicate with Longhorn Red wasn't my original idea, we saw someone else doing it.  But it was interesting to try.  I'm sure you could do it with polymer clay or with plaster.

So far she hasn't had to give up her car - it's only 16 years old this month.

Netflix gave us 5-star creeps with this great movie, with terrific acting:  The Gift. Another movie where the last 5 minutes change your mind into a totally different direction... maybe.

Monday, February 1, 2016

What's On Your Bulletin Board?


I'm back in school now, much to Susan's delight.  Where has the blog been hiding lately?  I don't even dare ask.  I can say that the computer has been cranky lately, IE has been giving her fits and we've added Chrome to the computer (and I have to have my hand held every time I try to use it).  To top it off we got new iPhones because our old ones were so old Apple wouldn't let us update the operating system. Uber was the tipping point - we couldn't get the app unless we had a more current operating system.  No, we haven't used Uber, we wanted to be prepared just in case.

The operating system trick is Apple's way of making you upgrade. Going from a 3 to a 6 means a LOT of changes and adjustments, even if you backed everything up and restored it to the new one.  And Susan is thoroughly pissed that the 6 doesn't fit easily in her pants pocket.  I once made the mistake of asking her why women don't wear cargo pants and got the mysterious response "Hips! We have hips!"

One of the best movies we've seen lately on Netflix:
The Secrets in Their Eyes

We still aren't sure if we know the exact ending, it really could have verged a different direction.  It also reminds us of another great movie: Closed Circuit.  Be sure to watch the one produced in 2009, by Juan Jose Campanella. The one in 2015, produced by an American is no, no, no, not anywhere close to acceptable.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Growing Old Gracefully


This little Birdie came to Susan for Christmas, as did the one below (two views).



We live in a retirement community that is a CCRC, which stands for Continuing Care Retirement Community. That means in our complex of 3 connected buildings we have independent living apartments (that's us), an Assisted Living floor, a Memory Care floor (dementia and Alzheimer's) and a Health Care floor (nursing home/care).  

Often people say they'll "age" into an Assisted Living facility but what they don't understand is that it never includes the nursing care part unless it's part of a designated CCRC. For example, if Susan had a bad fall and broke her hip, after a few days in a hospital she would come back to our Health Care floor until she was fully recovered. I would be able to take an elevator down to her floor to see her every day and she would have therapy right there on that floor. Very convenient. If we were in an independent  Assisted Living facility she would go from the hospital to a hospital-like rehabilitation facility and I'd have to drive over to see her every day.

As we all age here we like to party hearty and I'm part of the volunteer Bartenders' Guild.  We have a Social Hour every Wednesday - free snacks, beer and wine - and about 30-40 residents take advantage of it.  A few weeks ago I had an interesting conversation with Lucy, who came up to the table where I was pouring wine:

Don:  Lucy, can I pour you a glass of wine?
Lucy:  That would be great. 
Don:  Red or white?
Lucy: I really like white but my doctor said I should drink red.
Don:  Lucy, how old are you?
Lucy: 97.
Don:...........Lucy, drink what you want!

We were in Washington DC over Thanksgiving and once again we timed it perfectly to see the ginko leaves drop.



Friday, January 1, 2016

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

High Line and Calder


You previously saw Frank Stella's Black Star (below the shadow area of this picture), here's the other star on one of the open roof areas of the Whitney. That's the High Line below it, and looking up toward the north is another view of it (below).  We had good weather when we were there (Thanksgiving time) and the trees were just beginning to drop their leaves.


Nothing like a huge Calder mobile to make me feel really small (East Wing, National Gallery, Washington DC):


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Elsa and Anna and Me and Merry Christmas


You'll get this only if you know little girls.  If you don't, here's a clue:  Frozen. For the record, here in Austin, TX, we hit 80 degrees yesterday.

Blogging has been non-existent lately because my Blog Wrangler had to make a bunch of promised baby quilts for Christmas babies.  A lot of cursing and rattling and cursing and ripping and strange sewing machine noises came from her area.  For my part I cooked meals, did dishes and stayed way the hell out of the way.  Maybe some pictures later but some went out without being photographed.

Between the last few blog entries and this one we did manage to make a very short visit to New York City (high hotel rates made us think twice) with a longer visit to Washington DC (low hotel rates as our government got lazy).  Some pics later but in the meantime we really loved the new Whitney Museum.  Frank Stella's Black Star, viewed from the outside balcony,looking down:



A really, really nice and thoughtful gesture from the Whitney:  Military, active duty and retired and family members get in free.  Thank you, Whitney.  When less than 1% of the American population has served in the military in the last 20 years, this seems like a no-brainer.  Too bad other museums don't get it.


It's a special time of year and regardless of your political correctness and beliefs, let's just tell it like it is, take your choice:  Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings or Shop Till You Drop or Don't Blame Me 'Cause I Didn't Vote For Them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Student Holiday Art Sale


Tomorrow is the Austin Community College Student Holiday Art Sale.  I'll be selling lots of birdies and pots - over 70 pieces.  Stop by if you are in Austin:  Rio Grande Student Lounge, 1212 Rio Grande Ave, Austin, TX, Thursday, December 3, from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


I'll also be selling some of the jewelry pendants I've made.




Saturday, November 28, 2015

Juice Box Boys


Juice Box Boys, one of whom wants to be a Train Boy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving and Thanks for Giving

Yes, tomorrow at this time, this could be you! 

No matter where Americans are, they find time to give traditional thanks for the harvest they just had (Oh, sure! Like shopping counts) by eating too much food, surrounded by relatives, some they like, some they tolerate, and some they can't stand but won't say so until they've had too much wine. We're just nuts that way, but it's the American thing to do and we do it well. The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving also but I don't think they eat as much as we do.

Thanks to our armed forces for giving us the freedom to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Khowst Province, Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Art Everywhere


Another Spiderman.  Susan really likes these little pieces, which are only about 4" high.  I just can't get excited about them although I love the magic of how the glaze changes.

Everywhere you look you can find art, even on the walls of buildings.


Sometimes, when I'm not paying attention, Susan finds time to make her own art.


Unfortunately, she doesn't find enough time - the newspapers, books, KenKen, other blogs, my blog - all get in the way. She finds it very hard to understand why anyone would want to keep on working instead of retiring with whole days to waste delightfully while doing nothing productive.  As we put it, we get up in the morning and have nothing to do. When we go to bed at night we've only done half of it.