Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Married Hoss

As a child, I loved the television series Bonanza. I had a huge crush on Little Joe and I especially loved his beautiful horse. Joe was young and spunky and handsome - and frequently in trouble. When Little Joe became Pa Ingalls, my crush continued. Pa was strong and patient and still handsome ... sigh.

But my point to all this is that I married Hoss, and I am so glad I did. Hoss - the big guy who had a plain looking brown horse. He wasn't a big shot on the show - he was just a good and decent guy.

Dan Blocker – Eric "Hoss" Cartwright
Dan Blocker was six foot four and roughly three hundred pounds when chosen to play the gentle middle son Eric, also known as Hoss. The nickname was used as a nod to the character's ample girth,an endearing term for "big and friendly", used by his Swedish mother (& uncle, Gunnar),or a rib to his humiliating, failed attempt to break a horse . In theBonanza flashback, his mother Inger names him Eric after her father. To satisfy young Adam, Inger and Ben agree to try the nickname Hoss and "see which one sticks". " Inger says of "hoss", "In the mountain country, that is the name for a big, friendly man."

Please note that Jim is okay with my comparison of him to Hoss - that's because Jim, too, is just a good and decent guy.

Enjoy the photos!

~ Hoss ~
~ I'm sure this was Joe's fault! ~
~ the fam ~
~ Hoss looking serious!~ 
~ Pa ~
~ how could I not have had a crush on Joe? ~
~ and his horse was spectacular!! ~

Friday, October 19, 2012

Let Me Take Your Photo

Today my photography class watched a piece on the photographer Gregory Crewdson, and they were curious about "Let Me Take Your Photo", so we watched the music video on Youtube.

The internet can be a wasteland, but it can also be a rich resource of anything and everything. How the heck did I teach before? I remember buying art calendars on sale in late January so that I could have visual resources for my students. Now, I have the entire art world on monitors and screens all over my room. 'Magical.

(Crewdson was born in Park Slope, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. As a teenager was part of a punk rock group called The Speedies that hit the New York scene referencing Preston North End in many of their songs. Their hit song "Let Me Take Your Photo" proved to be prophetic to what Crewdson would become later in life. In 2005, Hewlett Packard used the song in advertisements to promote its digital cameras.)

~ the original ~

~ 2005 commercial ~

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Empowering People: NILIF

Okay. I have a lot of work to do (here, at my job, which was not handed to me but instead required years of student loan payments even though I went to a public college) but I must get this out of my brain. 

I believe in helping people who truly need it, children in particular. There are folks who are legitimately disabled, there are people struggling with addiction, there are sick people and elderly people ... we are directed by the Judeo-Christian moral codes to help those who cannot help themselves.

I believe in the concept of "Capitalism". I do not agree with the redistribution of wealth. This is not the Caste System where people are not allowed to work hard and get ahead. All people should contribute to the betterment of society in some way, even if that means simply raising their children to work hard and have self-respect.  I believe that our current policies have contributed to the erosion of this idea of "contributing member of society", and we have created a generational nightmare that will take some drastic measures to turn around.

Now let's say I am given a magic wand and I can make everything better ...

(all people = those who are physically and mentally able)

Guiding Principle #1: EMPOWERMENT: All people should contribute someway, somehow. NILIF.
What would that look like? All able bodied people work. Period. And if it means you are keeping the sidewalks clean or picking apples (we have to hire migrants who are willing work in the orchards - I hear them behind my house singing and laughing and talking in Spanish) then you do it - and only then do you receive assistance. Your children see you working, and they see that NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free). We stop the cycle of laziness NOW. (This is where I could write on and on about the people who come to this country and thrive - because they are willing to work hard. It happened back when my grandparents came to this country from Germany, and it happens today. Want specific contemporary success stories? I have them. Just ask me.)

Guiding Principle #2: Simplify the tax code.
You make $20,000 a year? You pay the exact same rate as those who earn $20 million a year. No exceptions, except maybe if you make charitable contributions? Hmmm. I'm not an economist but I sure know what is broken.

Guiding Principle #3: End Cheating.
You are wealthy so you hide money overseas? No more. You really are able bodied (for some kind of job) but claim disability? No more. You are a small business man and you hire people under the table without paying workman's comp, etc.? No more.

Guiding Principle #4: Stress Education and early intervention.
Head Start, yes. Arts in school, yes. Opportunities to learn trades, yes. Your children's attendance at school tied into your government assistance, yes. PBS, yes (even though I am a little frightened of Big Bird, for real.)

Guiding Principle #5: Our "rights" in society are limited. Deal with it.
Yes, we are all equal and all that good stuff, but if you need assistance for food then you have to come and pick up food -- no more food stamps -- oh I mean a swipe card. You may have unlimited fresh veggies and fruit, pasta and bread, chicken and beef and pork, peanut butter and jelly, cheese and milk. Along that same line: You do not have a right to "purchase" luxury items unless you earn the money to do so. You do not have a right to a cell phone. You do not have the right to refuse a drug test. You do not have the right to say "I want to stay home and raise my child" unless you have the means to do so yourself. You do not have the right to have more children than you can afford. You do not have the right to hide your assets and not pay tax on them. You do not have the right to claim your knees hurt so therefore you cannot work.

Guiding Principle #6: You want more choice in your life? Work hard.


Of course there are lots of complicated things that people smarter than myself are struggling with: Healthcare, energy, rampant lawsuits ... all which add to the mix. The bottom line is that children are growing up in households without any role models for what it means to feel proud of what was accomplished that day. We need to stop this cycle someway, somehow.

~ the cartoon that made me climb up on the soapbox ~

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Do Love Mornings

Allow me to clarify.

I love heading outside to take care of my animals in the early morning. If it weren't for the shed pets I would miss out on the brief minutes of peace and solitude at a time when most of the neighborhood is still sleeping.

On clear mornings like today, I stop in the darkness and look up at the stars ... I watch the waxing and waning of the moon ... I feel connected to something so much larger ... I am grateful for my life. My animals are shaking off sleep as they greet me, happy for their breakfast. They are grateful for the most basic things in life, and being witness to that helps to keep me grounded.

Astronomy 101, Freshman year. Oh how I wish now the boy I had a crush on wasn't in that class. Yes, I learned so much but imagine what I could have learned about the vast universe if only I wasn't distracted by who was sitting in front of me in the rundown lecture hall. Ah, regrets. Thankfully one can learn without a college professor, and thankfully I have been able to fill in some gaps left by my distractions during Astronomy class so many years ago.

I found the following image which is very similar to my view this morning. The twenty seconds I spent looking up filled me with what I need for the day. Just add happy goats and a cup of coffee and I am at peace.

Crescent Moon and Venus on an Autumn Morn - Earth Science Picture of the Day

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday I'm in Love

TGIF to all of my 80's peeps ~

(Yes, I know this particular song was early 90's, but the Cure = the 80's in my heart)

From Wikipedia:
"Friday I'm in Love" is a song by British rock band The Cure. It is the second single taken from the album Wish (1992). It won the award for European Viewer's Choice for Best Music Video at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Photoshop Play

I have so much work to do, but instead of being productive I have just spent the last 30 minutes playing around with Photoshop and a branch from my chestnut tree.

I brought the branch in to school to use in Ceramics (for textures on a bowl that I am making) but I couldn't resist grabbing a few digital images prior to dissecting the leaves. Being lazy, I just propped a piece of black mat board behind the branch and used Photo Booth on my laptop to capture a few photos. Using Photoshop, I exaggerated the levels and saturation, and then went to work with layers and blending modes. What fun! I could do this all day, but alas, I have to get back to work.