Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday, Mumbai, The Hummer, and Christmas

A few thoughts the day after Thanksgiving.

As you all know, I often sit at my keyboard looking at contemporary events looking for connections among the chaos of events that rush at us. This is not all that easy this morning after seeing the reports from Mumbai, hearing of National Security warnings about the possible attacks on the subways of New York, hearing reports this morning of a Walmart worker trampled to death, and after a nice family dinner for Thanksgiving at which my Dad was no longer there. Life does go on though for each of us, and my family members will gather for turkey sandwiches for lunch and watch the NU v. CO football game today on TV and play some cards and share stories afterwards and watch the news reports of the day.

Back to back reports on cable news this morning included more about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, possible attacks in New York, and the trampling death early Friday morning of a Walmart worker ……The first were coordinated attacks on commercial centers in Mumbai (Bombay), hotels, rail stations, a Jewish Center, a police station by another, heretofore unknown, Islamic, it appears, radical group with anger and hate as its soul….It was interesting to me that a British commentator referred to Mumbai as “Bombay,” still using its colonial renaming of that city as though by naming a place, a colonial power can claim the place. A small group terrorizing an entire city with indiscriminate and deliberate murders. The reasons will become clearer as time goes by and investigators gather their intelligence….but it appears to be some splinter “franchise” Jihadist blow at the Great Satan, etc., etc. Nihilists with visions of …….this is the part where I get stuck……their vision is of nothing. There appears to be no vision – just nihilist anger and hatred of all things “western.” There’s no justice in what they do. An Al Queda “franchise”……I heard that phrase on the news as though it was a McDonald’s, or a Kentucky Fried Chicken, or a Sam’s Club…..commercialized jihadism.

And at the Walmart store, where a worker was apparently killed by a mob of shoppers rushing the entrance to ……to..…. the “to” part is where I get stuck on this one, too. To buy stuff first early in the morning seems to be the answer. So we have one of America’s largest symbol of globalization with its many imported goods from India and China and anywhere in the world where children and low wage labor manufacture cheap shirts and shoes and electronics and toys and small appliances and all that stuff we place way too high on our priority lists……Christmas shoppers trample to death a Walmart employee. Talk about your post modernist ironies.

I remember the days when Sam Walton bragged about selling goods “Made in America” and I thought that was a good thing. Then last week the manufacturers of The Hummer, the world's most ridiculous suburban vehicle, flew to Washington DC in their several private jets and begged for $25 Billion….and I had to think about that one for a while.

Maybe there are no connections in all this but it seems to me the connection is about what we value: what value we place on things v. life, how we let hate and resentment drive us, what value we place on consumerism v. that which endures, and I don’t mean a one year warranty. I think I’m talking about a “lifetime” warranty…..a promise which guarantees “life.” In a small way perhaps that crowd at Walmart was in the same “vision” state of mind as that “franchise of jihadists” that disregarded life and humanity in Mumbai and sold us “Hummers” from Detroit; at opposite ends of the spectrum, to be sure, but perhaps on the same spectrum.

So entering this Christmas season let us think about the real meaning of Christmas – that “lifetime” warranty we have been given. The redemptive possibilities of life…the value of forgiveness and love…and you can’t buy that at Walmart.

Finally, if there’s a way to do it from San Francisco Bay where we deposited my Dad’s ashes this summer, he will be wearing one of his Nebraska sweatshirts today watching the NU v Colorado game rooting for his team. Sometimes he wore his San Francisco 49’ers hat while watching Nebraska games, too. Go Big Red.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

The True Meaning of Christmas 2008 and the Scourge of Subliminal Advertising

Dear Friends, Gentlemen, Gentlewomen, Patrons, Admirers, as well as skeptical bystanders:

With the Halloween (buy Bud's art), Diwali (buy Bud's art), Dias las Muertos (buy Bud's art), Thanksgiving (buy Bud's art), Christmas (buy Bud's art), Kwanzaa (buy Bud's art),Chanukuh (buy Bud's art), Year of the Red Fire Dog (buy Bud's art), Tet Nguyen Dan gift-giving weeks now upon us and quickly going by, (buy Bud's art), and the time-honored traditions(buy Bud's art), pagan rituals, and religious ceremonies (buy Bud's art)we blithely observe, whose origins are oftentimes obscured by clever (buy Bud's art)marketing ploys including skillfully disguised subliminal messages (buy Bud's art), I'd like to thank all of you (buy Bud's art) who have purchased my art (buy Bud's art) during 2008. But beware of the advertising industry's (buy Bud's art)careful and cynical use of subliminal (buy Bud's art) advertising.

From the seemingly innoucuous (buy Bud's art)baking of cookies for open houses in the (buy Bud's art)real estate industry, to the use of (buy Bud's art)brand names in movies, to visual and auditory fragments of a desired message in (buy Bud's art)video, to the insertions of frame messages in motion pictures, to........the list goes on(buy Bud's art). All of these insidious (buy Bud's art)brain washing techniques are infecting our (buy Bud's art)marketplaces of(buy Bud's art) ideas and (buy Bud's art)products. In politics(buy Bud's art), does The Manchurian Candidate (buy Bud's art)ring any bells? These below conciousness levels of (buy Bud's art)persuasion can be the only reason (buy Bud's art) The Hummer (buy Bud's art)became a popular urban (buy Bud's art)commuting vehicle.

However successful (buy Bud's art)these pervasive techniques may be in the (buy Bud's art)market place, tremendous quantities of unpurchased art crowd the walls of my apartment (buy Bud's art), my hallway, my garage, my sister and mother's house (buy Bud's art), my brother's house (buy Bud's art), my other brother's apartment, (buy Bud's art), many of my friends' houses (buy Bud's art), several of my neices and nephews dorm rooms (buy Bud's art), bedrooms (buy Bud's art), apartment walls (buy Bud's art), hallways (buy Bud's art), my church (buy Bud's art), restaurants, coffee houses, and vineyard shops (buy Bud's art), as well as actual art galleries!! and I could go on and on and on and on and on and on....

In addition, with the current worldwide recession/depression, the election of Barack Obama to the highest office in the land (buy Bud's art), it is incumbent upon each of us to support(buy Bud's art) the nation's economy (buy Bud's art)by an enormous burst of (buy Bud's art)consumer spending in this last quarter of 2008. Give Barack a chance (buy Bud's art), let George W. Bush retire gracefully with a roaring economy (buy Bud's art), give John McCain a fond farewell, do your patriotic duty (buy Bud's art), show your love for others (especially me), and honor our religious, secular, and pagan traditions (buy Bud's art) by spending money (buy Bud's art) furiously until the year's end.

In addition to my art(buy Bud's art), I now sell representations of my art in the form of (buy Bud's art) hand made cards appr. 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". Let me know which pieces of my art you would like (buy Bud's art) and I can put that together. I sell them in a set of 5 for $10.00. They are really quite nice and make wonderful gifts.

Bud (see starving artist Christmas sale 2008 photo album) or

Ps. In the spirit of accountability, this message was reviewed be me three times now and I still stand by it.


1. ^ a b c d e "The Straight Dope: Does subliminal advertising work?". The Straight Dope. Retrieved on 2006-08-11.
2. ^ a b Pratkanis, Anthony R. (Spring 1992). "The Cargo-Cult Science of Subliminal Persuasion", Skeptical Inquirer, Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, pp. 260-272. Retrieved on 11 August 2006.
3. ^ tachistoscope - Definitions from
4. ^ a b c d "Urban Legends Reference Pages: Business (Subliminal Advertising)". The Urban Legends Reference Pages. Retrieved on 2006-08-11.
5. ^ Urban Legends Reference Pages: Subliminal Advertising
6. ^ a b Lantos, Geoffrey P.. "The Absolute Threshold Level and Subliminal Messages" (PDF). Stonehill College. Retrieved on 2007-03-01.
7. ^ Boese, Alex (2002). The Museum of Hoaxes: A Collection of Pranks, Stunts, Deceptions, and Other Wonderful Stories Contrived for the Public from the Middle Ages to the New Millennium, E. P. Dutton, ISBN 0-525-94678-0. pages. 137-38.
8. ^ Peters, Dan; Steve Peters (1985). Rock's Hidden Persuader: The Truth About Backmasking. Bethany House Publishers, 19. Cited in U.S. Senate, page 125.
9. ^ U.S. Senate, page 118.
10. ^ U.S. Senate, page 125.
11. ^ Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2006
12. ^ Karremans, J. (2006). Beyond vicary's fantasies: the impact of subliminal priming and brand choice [Electronic Version]. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 792-798
13. ^ Key, W. B. (1973). Subliminal seduction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
14. ^ Byrne, D. (1959). "The effect of a subliminal food stimulus on verbal responses." Journal of Applied Psychology. 43 (no.4), 249-251.
15. ^ Marka
16. ^ Williams, Leanne M.; Belinda J. Liddell, Andrew H. Kemp, Richard A. Bryant, Russell A. Meares, Anthony S. Peduto, Evian Gordon (2006). "Amygdala-prefrontal dissociation of subliminal and supraliminal fear". Human Brain Mapping 27 (8): 652–661. doi:10.1002/hbm.20208.
17. ^ Brain Activity Reflects Complexity Of Responses To Other-race Faces, Science Daily, 14 December 2004
18. ^ Hassin, Ferguson, Shidlovski, Gross (2007). Subliminal exposure to national flags affects political thought and behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, vol. 104, no. 50
19. ^ Vokey, John R. (2002). "Subliminal Messages", Psychological Sketches (PDF), 6th edition, Lethbridge, Alberta: Psyence Ink, 223–246. Retrieved on 2006-07-05.
20. ^ Robinson, B.A.. "Backmasking on records: Real, or hoax?". Retrieved on 2006-07-04.
21. ^ Moore, Timothy E. (Spring 1992). "Subliminal Perception: Facts and Fallacies", Skeptical Inquirer, Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, pp. 273-81. Retrieved on 11 August 2006.
22. ^ Vance, J., et al. v. Judas Priest et al., No. 86-5844, 2nd Dist. Ct. Nev. (August, 24 1990)
23. ^ Eskenazi, J., & Greenwald, A.G., Pratkanis, A.R. (1990). What you expect is what you believe (but not necessarily what you get): On the ineffectiveness of subliminal self-help audiotapes. Unpublished manuscript. University of California. Santa Cruz.
24. ^ The Straight Dope: Does subliminal advertising work?. The Straight Dope. Retrieved on 2008-06-11
25. ^ BTK Back
26. ^ Fight Club Easter Eggs -
27. ^ Screen It! Parental Review: Fight Club
28. ^ Fight Club (1999) - Crazy credits
29. ^ Crowley, Candy. "Bush says 'RATS' ad not meant as subliminal message", 2000-9-12. Retrieved on December 16, 2006
30. ^ Smoking Pistols: George "Rat Ad" Bush and the Subliminal Kid
31. ^ 9/19/00 Speech by Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth: The FCC's Investigation of "Subliminal Techniques:"
32. ^ Brasseye Wiki
33. ^ Error - - New York Times
34. ^ Re: [AMIA-L] Reply: "Sherlock Jr."
35. ^ "It was a glitch, not a subliminal ad, for McDonald's on Food Network". Canadian Press (2007-01-25). Retrieved on 2007-03-11.
36. ^ Subliminal advertising. - ninemsn Video
37. ^ YouTube - Led Zeppelin : Greatest Secret
38. ^
39. ^ Media:
40. ^ Agency asks slot-machine maker to halt subliminal messages
41. ^ Killick, Jane (1997). Babylon 5: The Coming of Shadows. The Ballantine Publishing Group, 131.
42. ^ Singh, Simon (June 10, 2003), "I'll bet £1,000 that Derren can't read my mind", The Daily Telegraph,, retrieved on 12 March 2008

* Dixon, N. F. (1971). Subliminal Perception: The nature of a controversy, McGraw-Hill, New York.
* Greeenwald, Anthony W. (1992). New Look 3: Unconscious Cognition Reclaimed, American Psychologist, 47.
* Holender, D. (1986). Semantic activation without conscious identification in dichotic listening, parafoveal vision, and visual masking: A survey and appraisal. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 9, 1-23.
* Merikle, P. M., and M. Daneman (1998). Psychological Investigations of Unconscious Perception, Journal of Consciousness Studies.
* Watanabe, Sasaki, Nanez (2001). Perceptual learning without perception. Nature, 413, 844-848.
* Seitz and Watanabe (2003). Is subliminal learning really passive. Nature, 422, 36.
* United States Senate (1985). Record Labeling: Hearing before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. United States Senate, Ninety-ninth Congress, First Session on Contents of Music and the Lyrics of Records (September 19, 1985). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

[edit] Further reading

* Boese, Alex (2006). Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S.'', Harcourt, Inc., ISBN 0-15-603083-7, 193-95

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Election Commentary -- Gobama!

You know I have to make a comment or two about the recent election. I'm pretty pleased with the results for the most part. And a kaleidoscope of images keeps running through my head: Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes, a hundred thousand cheering Chicagoans in the park at midnight, Kenyans celebrating in the streets!, hours long lines at polling stations on election day, Barack and his family (I feel like I can call him by his first name). A photo of a small white home with an American flag, a Confederate flag, and an Obama for President sign in the front yard. Whites, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics participated in this historic election. Not much coverage of Native American turnout…..

John McCain's gracious concession speech drew boos from his audience in Phoenix, and the Republican in-fighting is beginning in earnest. Palinistas and McCainites will be at each other's throats I imagine in a big way in the following days. Even Fox News was reporting that Sarah Palin didn't know Africa was a continent, for example…..That whole side show will get a bit rancorous, I suspect.

Barack Obama's inspirational speech in Chicago on election night was extraordinary for its inclusiveness and compassion and discipline with echoes of Martin Luther King's speeches – "I may not get to the Promised Land…." What a marvelous and inspiring message with a gracious nod to John McCain's service to the country.

In Nebraska, Douglas County gave a majority vote to Barack Obama, but apparently was not enough to give Barack the one electoral vote from District 2 in Nebraska, and the state of course went big for John McCain. An draconian anti-abortion amendment failed in Colorado, but an intolerant anti-gay marriage referendum in California passed. And some post modernist irony in Nebraska: carpetbaggers from California foisted upon Nebraska the 424 anti-affirmative action amendment that passed which will make it more difficult to address the imbalances in college admissions which currently show white males as the most underrepresented demographic. Put that in your anti-affirmative pipe and smoke it, Mr. Californian.

The news photos of the long lines at polling stations reminded me of photos I've seen of voting in third world countries. People lining up for hundreds of yards and waiting hours and hours to vote. That's embarrassing, isn't it? What's that all about? We looked like a third world country that can't figure out how to hold elections. Another observation - it appears that the Republican strategies to deny voting rights to tens of thousands of new and minority voters were unsuccessful. I stood in line for an hour in Papillion listening to the gossipy woman behind me in line going on about Feminazis and the "Liberal" agenda, but bit my lip and tried to ignore her. I figured that I'd probably cancel out her vote.

Re. race in America. For all the rainbow coalition gushing about it's a new day and we've turned a page and all that, I saw a blog in Salon that told the story of a Pennsylvania neighborhood organizer canvassing for Barack Obama. He knocked on the door of a white working class family and the wife answered. The organizer asked who they would be voting for. The reply came from the husband: "We'll be voting for the n*****." It's not a word I want to repeat. So there go. That's progress ---- of a sort. And I'm wondering why with a white Kansan mother and a Kenyan father we call Barack Obama an African American. Maybe Afrikansan American! What % of African genes makes one an African anyway? Echoes of Plessy v. Ferguson reverberating through the decades?

Anyway, our new President will face an enormous list of problems in the "inbox" in his new oval office. So God Bless America! I'm going to listen to Jimi Hendrix' version of The Star Spangled Banner some more…..


Bud C

Saturday, November 01, 2008


In case you haven't figured it out, I'm sure this will be a huge surprise, I am supporting Barack Obama for President. He appears to be the real thing to me. Bill Richardson was my first choice early on but he bit the dust rather quickly and I began to watch Barack Obama. His considerable ability to "organize" has been evident in his fund-raising, his ability to turn out huge crowds, his ability to attract smart people to his campaign and/or for endorsements, his ability to find local leadership in neighborhood after neighborhood, community after community, city after city, state after state. Maybe that'll teach the Repubs not to mock and belittle community organizers!

A long list of prominent Republicans have now endorsed Senator Obama including GWB's former press secretary, Scott McClellan, Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, Ronald Reagan's Chief of Staff, Duberstein, several Republican Governors, William Weld for example, and even the occasional right wing radio talk show host, Michael Smirkonish for one example. It's pretty heady stuff.

The next President will be faced with daunting problems: a melt down in the world's financial sector, a health care system which is critically ill, an economy teetering on the brink of a deep recession, deficits as far as the eye can see, a national debt that is impossible to express in terms that mere humans can understand, and two intractable wars.

One good thing I see is the dissolution of the social conservatives right wing base which progressively hijacked the Republican party over the last 8 years. The infighting has already begun -- McCain campaign officials calling Sarah Palin a "whack job" for example. Neither the hometown Wasila, Alaska or Anchorage newspapers endorsed Sarah Palin and John McCain. John McCain's inexplicable move to the right during the last two years cost him the respect and support of a huge number of moderate Americans if all the polls out there are to be believed.

The Republicans' cynical attempts to paint Barack Obama as a socialist, a Marxist, a "redistributionist," a friend of terrorism, a Muslim, an Arab, a foreigner, in fact, made John McCain a smaller and smaller person in light of his larger than life history. Karl Rove and his subsequent political incarnations took John McCain, a genuine American hero, and turned him into a tawdry and petty politician. The more mud McCain and Palin tried to sling, the dirtier their own hands became.

Barack Obama has attracted the best and brightest of American minds to advise and counsel him, he has remained calm and focused while John McCain careened from strategy to strategy, tactic to tactic. John McCain has attracted and elevated mediocrity to a smarmy kind of iconic status - Joe the Plumber comes to mind. The Republicans' assault on knowledge, on facts, on truth, on honor, on civility will likely cost them dearly. I sincerely hope so at any rate.

Barack Obama grew larger and larger this last several months in my mind; John McCain sank lower and grew smaller. Barack Obama reached out: John McCain reached down. Barack Obama was able to widen his circle of inclusion; John McCain directed his increasingly shrill, mudslinging message to an ever-shrinking market - the right wing base of the ideologically driven social conservatives, managing to offend 2/3 of the electorate.

So there you go. I'm nervous as hell that something catastrophic will happen and McCain will guttersnatch the election somehow and we'll continue the country's downward spiral. So like Rachael Maddow might say, somebody please talk me down!

Bud C.