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May 4th, 2016

The Last Clown Waves Goodbye To The Crowd, And The Darkness Outside The Circus Tent Deepens

On CNN Now…

Sources: John Kasich to drop out

Well…okay. Fine. As horrifying as the potential of a Trump presidency is, I feel this as a little tiny ray of light in the darkness. The corporate media kept presenting Kasich as a more sane breed of republican and that he is patently not. So good riddance!

But we’re not out of the woods. If anything now, the woods are closing in. President Trump…  Stand in front of a mirror and say it while watching the fear in your eyes deepen. If Mrs Clinton can get enough of the disaffected republican vote to offset all the disaffected democrats who would rather shove a rusty ice pick in their ear than vote for her, we might not have to witness Donald Trump taking the oath of office next January. But at this moment in time I’m not at all sure that’s going to be enough. Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are still vastly misjudging the degree of antipathy toward her and the DNC in the grassroots, and I strongly suspect that’s at least partially due to cocooning. The disaffected are doing it too. And none of it is helpful. This nation…and the world…might be in for the sort of wild ride it hasn’t seen since the 1930s.

I’ve been what they used to call a Yellow Dog Democrat, ever since Connie Morella voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (signed in the dead of night by You Know Who!). And yet, if I had to choose between Ronald Reagan and Lyndon LaRouche, and it looked like LaRouche had a clear shot at winning it, god help me I’d have voted for Reagan. But then…I’m a cold war baby. I remember doing my duck and cover drills, and the sound the air raid sirens made at 11am on the first Saturday of the month when they were tested, to make sure they would be in working order at Armageddon o:clock.


Posted In: Politics
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by Bruce | Link | React!

When Did The Social Contract Start Including Everyday Low Low Prices?

This video is making the rounds in the Internet Tubes…

Angry Woman In Walmart Throws A Fit Over Man Using Food Stamps

As a child sits in the man’s shopping cart looking on, the woman complains about how she is paying for his food with her tax money.  

“You know, I put in 50-60 hour weeks… trying to provide for my family,” the man says, although some of his words are unclear.

“You’re not providing for it, I am,” the woman snaps back. “The government is.”

The grim joke here is the government is also providing for this woman. As the article notes, she’s shopping at WalMart. Many of their workers need food stamps and other assistance because WalMart won’t pay a living wage. Without a doubt she’s shopping there, perhaps for the convenience if it’s a nearby store, but most likely for the Every Day Low Low Prices….stuff that costs less so she doesn’t have to spend more. I’d have told her the rest of us are supporting her too. But I don’t shop there. 

The man suggests she complain to her lawmaker or vote Republican. 

“Oh, trust me, I am not a bleeding heart fucking liberal,” the woman answers.

I’m shocked, shocked. No lady, you’re a typical American of a particular type that likes to have their cake and eat it too at the expense of someone else. If your household is making enough you don’t need assistance then you can afford to shop somewhere they pay their employees enough they don’t have to go on public assistance. That poor man and his kid have fewer choices than you do. They need the low cost of goods and assistance even then to buy them. You just want the cheap goods the rest of us taxpayers are making possible by providing WalMart employees public assistance. 

So who’s really the freeloader? It’s you lady. It’s you.

angry_walmart_lady


Posted In: Thumping My Pulpit
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by Bruce | Link | React!
May 3rd, 2016

Teachers

According to Google, today is Teacher’s Day. I want to thank a few. Not the ones whose class I sat in though the ones who took an interest and kept the fire burning within me have my eternal gratitude. Frank Moran…my art teacher in high school, and one of the best teachers a kid could have. Marvin Watts, my college English teacher who encouraged me to write because he said I did it well if I put my mind to it. Don Poole, my jr. high science teacher, who encouraged my curiosity about the mechanical universe. I have the life I do today in large measure because of the interest they took in me when I was a kid.  But today I want to also thank others, who lit the fire within from a distance.

David Plowden…

plowden-sm

 

Robert Frank…

robert-frank

 

Margaret Bourke-White…

 

Russia's Dnieper River Dam, the world's largest, during the beginning phase of its construction.

 

…and…I hesitate to say this because her work is so relentlessly dark, but…Diane Arbus.

 

arbus_houseonahill

 

These were the ones who showed me what the camera could do. Plowden is the one probably closest to my heart, but the others are pretty close too. There are other masters of the art whose work I have loved very much, and found inspiring…Ansel Adams being probably the grand master of the form. But those four, Plowden, Frank, Bourke-White and Arbus, shone a light within which I could see myself. Which is what teachers do.

 

 

 


Posted In: Life Photography
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by Bruce | Link | React!
April 26th, 2016

Perhaps This Drug Needs A Little More Study

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

Maynard nurse case not first for ‘Ambien defense’

The article is about an Ambien user who crashed her car, she says while sleep driving on Ambien. It’s not a difficult defence for some of us who have encountered Ambien’s little side effect to accept. The comments on this article wherever it is shared, by folks who have had the experience of sleep walking under it, are very very creepy, even if nothing serious came of it. Or maybe especially so.

There are so many stories about this drug’s sleep walking side effect I think it really needs to be taken off the market until that’s understood better. Not everyone sleep walks under it. But the stories of people who have are so widespread it’s disturbing that the drug is still being widely prescribed for sleep problems. I have my own story, and it’s the only time in my life I’ve been petrified scared.

I was having really bad trouble sleeping…it later turned out to be diet related…and I was prescribed Ambien. The doctor I was seeing at the time assured me it wasn’t addictive. Well it was addictive as all hell but that’s another matter. What scared me was the time I walked into the kitchen to get a glass of ice tea.

I’ve made my own sweet ice tea the same way ever since I was a young teenager. The process starts with boiling water in the kettle and then pouring the boiling water into a container that already has a measured amount of sweetener in it. The sweetener is dissolved immediately. Then several tea bags are dipped into the water to steep. The trick is to let the tea cool down at room temperature, to room temperature, before putting it into the fridge to chill. If you put it in too soon it turns bitter.

So one day I’m walking into the kitchen to get a glass of ice tea. I’m still having trouble sleeping well despite the Ambien, and what is more my head is staying a bit fuzzy all day long which is worrying me. I’m getting forgetful (more than usual) and I’m starting to seriously worry if there is something wrong with my head. So this is my state of mind when I open the fridge to get some ice tea…and I see the kettle in there.

I freaked. I thought, oh god I’m losing my mind, had to take the kettle out, set it down in the stove where it usually sits, walk into the living room and sit down on the sofa and wait until I stopped shaking.

For the next several weeks I watched my behavior closely to see if anything like it happened again. But I also did this: I started weaning myself off Ambien. It took about a month of my shaving the pills smaller and smaller until I could finally sleep without dropping one. Later…when I reconnected with a certain someone from my past, I started paying more attention to my weight and what I was eating and that solved the sleep problems. And shortly after that I started hearing stories about people on Ambien sleepwalking and made the connection to the kettle in the fridge.

I will Never touch sleeping pills again. Ever. No matter how bad the insomnia gets.

 


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
April 25th, 2016

How To Draw Pictures Of Sexy Guys Wearing Glasses In 3 Easy Steps – Lesson 2

Continuing in our learning path, here’s another of our handy guides to drawing sexy guys. As Bach famously said, Playing the organ is simple…you just hit the keys at the right time and the instrument practically plays itself! Be assured that drawing is just as easy. Simply drag your pencil over the paper in the right places and you never go wrong!

Step 1: Start with a couple of circles for the glasses. In this lesson we will draw simple round frame glasses…

glasses-lesson2-1

Step 2: Connect the circles together to form a frame. Add some lines for the temple pieces…

glasses-lesson2-2

Step 3: Now add the rest of him…

glasses-lesson2-3

Next: Drawing a distinction between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz!


Posted In: Art
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by Bruce | Link | React!
April 23rd, 2016

Little Red Corvette

Of all the commercial tributes to Prince, this IMO is the best…

GM_Tribute_To_Prince

 

Note that they didn’t put one of their current models in it, as if it were nothing more than cheap advertising. Look closely at that back window. Only one year had that split rear window and it was the first year of the new Stingray body style. That 1963 Corvette is legendary and highly prized by collectors. Check the prices they fetch when in good condition.

A neighbor in an apartment complex mom and I lived in bought a ’63 Vette…but not the coupe. His was a yellow convertible with chrome side exhaust (“lake”) pipes and mag wheels and I lusted after that car, as only a tween-age boy whose bedroom was full of model cars and hot rod magazines could. I knew the sound of it, and every time I heard that engine come to life I was out on the balcony like a shot, just to stand and watch it pull away, and arrogantly take charge of the the road.

The pleasures of adulthood are richer, but in their complexity not as pure. Little Red Corvette expresses it perfectly. I guess I should’ve closed my eyes, when you drove me to the place where your horses run free, ’cause I felt a little ill when I saw all the pictures of the jockeys that were there before me…  I was much too young to have understood what Prince was singing about back in those days. But every time I hear that song it takes me back to that first early boyhood thrill at the sight of power and beauty combined.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
April 20th, 2016

Weeee Dooon’t Eeeveeen Care!

Alex Jones no less… 

 

billy corgan social justice

 

Social Justice Warrior: Like Militant Homosexual but not necessarily homo.  There.  Now the rest of you kids can play too!

[Update…] A co-worker adds, “Includes Feminazi


Posted In: Politics
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That’ll Show Them…

Seen on Twitter…

@cafedotcom: “Michigan Gov. Vows to Drink Flint Water, Cribbing PR Strategy from “Fear Factor””

Swell. Now somebody ask him if he would he make his grandchildren drink it too.

 

 


Posted In: Politics
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by Bruce | Link | React!

That Long Lovely Walk From Cradle To Grave…

My sleep/waking pattern is all hosed up. I’m getting up way, Way too early these days, taking brief brutal naps when I come home from work…brutal in the sense that they don’t bring any rest at all…then doing nothing around the house for a bit or taking a walk maybe and then back to bed way, Way too early. I think I see the problem. It’s interesting how a pall of existential gloom can settle in and rust your innards away all the while telling you that its not even there.

It’s not like I have a clinical depression…it’s never been nearly that bad. I follow people, some famous, who are open about enduring that and from everything I’ve learned from them I’m not even close to being in that category. But the stresses of life can still take their toll all the same. It’s worse I think, on creative minds like mine, because our thoughts get so distracted by that creative need, the insistent muse, that we forget to look elsewhere in our lives, and see how miserable we’ve allowed ourselves to become, strangely enough without even being aware of it. But the physical body still pays the price.

I have an amazingly good life all things considering. I did Not expect to have the life I do now when I was younger. And when an important piece of spirit gets yanked out from under me intellectually I just shrug it off. I’m not even trying to be brave about it, I really believe in all logic and reason that by now it doesn’t matter. But it does. It always does. My mind ignores it. It really does. My body feels it nonetheless.

So I’m down here in the art room of Casa del Garrett working on the next episode of A Coming Out Story, so early in the morning because that’s when my out of whack sleep patterns are now insisting I get up, and I know that if I don’t get Something done in the art room now when I have reserves of concentration for sure I won’t when I get home from work, because by then my concentration reserves for the day will be completely exhausted. I’ve done some sketching I needed to do. Fine. Something’s been accomplished. The process moves forward a tad. That’ll do for now. I’ll go back upstairs in a bit and make some sandwiches for work and then take a serene early morning stroll into the office. I love these early morning walks. It’s a pure pleasure of city life I can walk from home to my job. I have some tasks waiting for me that I am already anticipating the pleasure of working on. I love my job. That’s a rare and extremely lucky thing to be able to say in this or any age. I’ll get things done at the office, play my part in moving JWST forward a tad, and take an early lovely walk home. I have a Good life. Then I’ll get home and all my energy will simply evaporate. That isn’t normal. Logically I know this. But I know also that I will just spin my wheels thinking about it. So I don’t.

Something is terribly wrong deep down inside. I know what it is. I’ve known for decades now. I just have no idea how to fix it. I tell myself I’ve finally become use to the idea that this is how it will always be. It’s a new mantra. But there is no stable point in the spiral into the night. You just keep going. Not even being aware most of the time, where it is that you’re going.


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
April 18th, 2016

How To Make An Episode Of “A Coming Out Story”…

Sketching in preparation for work on A Coming Out Story, episode 20. It begins another short story arc with me having been tasked by the student newspaper to cover one of our home games…and then I stumble into the object of my thoroughly confused affections and try to strike up a conversation. Little teenage geeks don’t do conversation well however, and especially while the butterflies in their stomach are fluttering up a storm…

acos_20_sketches

I’ve been posing myself a bunch lately to get the posture of my figures right. I do that with the digital SLR on a tripod, and a remote shutter release with a long extension cable. Then I scroll through the images on the camera’s lcd display to find a good pose and work from there. It doesn’t matter that I’m no longer that lithe (scrawny) teenage boy I once was, all I need is to see how the anatomy works, how the hands and arms reach around to the camera, how the body stands while I’m busy with the camera, legs, torso, head, how the camera bag hangs off the shoulder.  Once I can see it I can draw something that gets the look right. 

I still have the camera I did most of my student newspaper and yearbook stuff with, but as it turns out I also still have that camera bag from back in the day. I’d almost forgotten how it was to have both the camera and that “gadget bag” with spare film, filters, flash, batteries, light meter, and several lenses, hoods and lens cleaner in it slung around me. It was Heavy! Nowadays when I’m a working photographer I have a smaller, lighter bag that just holds a few essential things because with the new DSLRs and modern zoom lenses you don’t really need much extra.

This next story arc is a lot funner than the last one…


Posted In: Art Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
April 7th, 2016

A Coming Out Story: Intermission – The Business of Tacos

Finished (finally!) another installment of A Coming Out Story. This is an Intermission to separate the first part of the story, which I finished with Episode 19, and what’s to come.Some of you may have already seen this one when I posted a link to the finished inks last Thanksgiving. I’ve since added the texturing and shading, and tweaked the dialogue balloons a tad. The shading really makes the artwork pop out I think.

The next part coming up is where the object of my affections and I actually begin talking to each other, and circling around each other in an age when gay kids were getting fed horrible lies about themselves from every direction. First crushes are hard enough for kids to deal with. For gay kids back when me and “T.K.” (not his real name) it was especially difficult. The worst of it was in 1971-72 there was no way you could talk about it with anyone. So you pretty much had to stumble your way around, trying to figure out what was going on inside of you, and then what to you do about this crush you’re having. How can you tell if the object of your affections is feeling the same way. One false move could be a disaster…for both of you.

That said, it’s not like it was a complete and total nightmare for me either. Mostly it was a lot of confusion. I can look back on most of it now with a sense of humor. Hopefully I can put some of that into the story going forward. What’s coming next is a short story arc wherein I finally break the ice with the object of my affections, after being tagged by the student newspaper to cover one of our football games.

But first, I figured I’d toss out here a little intermission of sorts…just to give anyone who’s still hanging on to this tale a wee taste of what’s to come in the second part. Enjoy. And thanks so much for staying tuned!

The Business Of Tacos


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
April 5th, 2016

The Bathroom Predators of North Carolina

This from Daily KOS…

North Carolina GOP now in full-on delusional damage control after losing PayPal over HB2

Here’s the GOP spin…

“When Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts teamed up with a convicted child sexual predator to pass a radical bathroom policy allowing men to use girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms, the Governor warned her the legislature would take immediate action to protect North Carolina families. If Jennifer Roberts, [Attorney General] Roy Cooper and the far-left Political Correctness Mob she’s unleashed really care about the economic future of her city, they’ll stop the misinformation campaign immediately and start telling the truth about this commonsense bathroom safety law before more damage is done to the city she was elected to lead and the state Cooper was elected to protect.”

The transparent subterfuge here is the bill was about bathroom safety. “Bathroom Safety” was the window dressing. Hate mongering toward transgendered people was the grease by which they deftly erased every civil rights law protecting women and minorities in North Carolina, and for extra added effect, also nullified local minimum wage laws. You find yourself wondering if the African American members of the legislature who voted for HB2 understood they were voting to erase their own civil rights protections in state law. But there are people who will cut off their own noses to spite their neighbor’s face.

By now anybody who can read knows it went much Much further than bathrooms, and never mind that the bathroom issue was bogus as well. But here they are, still spinning a tale that it was just a bill to protect children from bathroom predators. You may conclude that they’ve managed to delude even themselves as to what they were up to. But no…this is how the culture war game is played. And more to the point, this is how hate corrupts the human spirit. If they’ve deluded themselves about anything in North Carolina it’s this: the ends do not justify the means. The means rather, foretell the ends. There is no path to the greater good that is paved with lies. That path leads elsewhere.


Posted In: Politics Thumping My Pulpit
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by Bruce | Link | React!
March 29th, 2016

A Coming Out Story – Still In Progress…

Despite, or perhaps even Because of recent events, I am more determined than ever to continue and finish A Coming Out Story.  So never fear if the installments keep coming at irregular intervals. I have a paying job that needs my attention too. Plus many other things in my life. But this story is important, not just for my own satisfaction of getting it out, but because as I said some time ago, it’s a story of my generation. Not the only one certainly, but mine nonetheless, and worth getting out there. Because while gay kids have it better in many ways now then we did then, they still catch shit about what ought to be one of the most wonderful times in life…that moment when you discover love and desire. It’s a crime against humanity that it is turned into a nightmare for some of us, so that others can build their stepping stones to heaven out of our hopes and dreams. It is a crime against humanity to put a knife into a kid’s heart, just at that very moment they are discovering what love and desire is all about.

So I’m going to keep working on this. And for what it’s worth, I feel now as if I’ve been given permission to tell the whole story, without censoring myself.

Still working on finishing up the Intermission.  Here’s a sample panel. When the whole thing is complete I’ll put a link up to it here and on the main ACOS page. Then I get to start on a more funner mini story arc.

Tacos figure into this one too…

acos-intermission-1


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | React!
March 23rd, 2016

Baltimore Orioles! No…Not Those…The Other Ones…

The Baltimore Oriole is the state bird of Maryland. I’ve only seen one in my entire life. Until just a few moments ago.

I was walking across campus to go get lunch. I was crossing a pedestrian bridge over San Martin Drive when I heard something moving in the undergrowth below me. I looked down and saw something move. It was a bird. At first I thought it was a robin, but something didn’t look right. It was a close match for a robin, but noticeably smaller, and with bright white blazes on wings that were much Much darker than a robin. Then I saw two more. They were digging through patches of old dead leaf on the ground by the university president’s house, looking for their own lunch I suppose.

No..it can’t be, thinks I. So I watch carefully. There could be no mistake. Oh my God, thinks I, three Baltimore Orioles! Those are three Baltimore Orioles! I’m looking at three Baltimore Orioles! In Baltimore!

What a Baltimore Oriole might look like:

baltimore-oriole-c-kimberly-king
Photo by Kimberly King from the Massachusetts Audubon Society page

 

 


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Baltimore Orioles! No…Not Those…The Other Ones…
March 22nd, 2016

Left Brain, Right Brain, Silicon Brain…

Browsing through my local network folders I stumbled on some old BBS message files and an associated log file that made me realize I had written my own NNTP client way, Way back in the day. I had completely forgotten this. So I went looking through my old source code tree for the source. It was a program I’d named TRILOBYTE. Back then I was into naming my programs after obscure critters.

I finally found it and looked over the code to see if it jogged any memories. It’s kinda disturbing I didn’t remember this one At All. But there it was. It was a riff off something I’d written in another modem program’s scripting language that basically just logged onto a service, downloaded all the new messages on the boards I was interested in, uploaded any replies I’d previously placed in an upload folder, and then logged off.

I’d written it in VB1 it seems, but I think looking at the main source file I had a DOS version I’d worked on first. It contains my first ever state machine code to process the NNTP transactions. I know it worked because I have folders with USENET news articles in them this thing downloaded, and reply files it successfully uploaded according to the log files. Writing my own NNTP state machine, with nothing more than the protocol documentation to guide me, was actually a pretty big accomplishment for back then. I’m a little concerned now that it completely dropped out of my memory.

I can still recall coding my first PIM software (I called it “Beetle”)…and “Owl”, which was going to be my own weird client/server take on BBS-ing. I’d developed an entire system based around the concept of a message board warehouse where instead of logging on and reading and writing online you would run a program that quickly connected, downloaded all your new messages and email, upload your replies, and then disconnected. You would then read and write offline. It was a solution for the days when long distance phone charges were high and most amateur BBSs were single line and if someone was hogging the line nobody else got in. I figured if I could create a BBS system that reduced connection time to a bare minimum it would make connecting to out of state, maybe even out of country BBSs cost effective and feasible. The Internet pretty much wiped all that away by the time I finished developing my new system. So it never really got much past the early prototype stage. Such is life.

I’d completely forgotten I wrote Trilobyte. And it had some pretty nifty code in it too. Some of it probably came from the client part of Owl. There’s the Twit filters and Scud Topic filters which were things I’d implemented in LOGMOP, a PDS Basic program I’d written to clean my BBS message file downloads of flame wars and idiots.  It was lost to the grey matter, but there in the silicon. I wonder if this is some sort of new evolutionary path we’re all going down now…


Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Left Brain, Right Brain, Silicon Brain…
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