Monday, January 26, 2009

Guantanamo - Isn't that a song by Trini Lopez?

In the last week, several people remarked to me that they enjoyed receiving my
e-mails; I warned them that that would only encourage me to continue to write
these pieces.....

So today, I'm sitting here looking out the window and it's 11F and snowing and I'm thinking about summer. I thought about naming the attached picture "The Summer of 2009" but decided instead to do another Happy Days title.

In my class this morning, we discussed contemporary issues including the order signed by President Obama closing the Guantanamo Bay prison where we hold - and this is part of the interesting part of all this - POW's? or Criminals? Unlawful Enemy Combatants?- many of whom are indeed sworn enemies of the United States. But many of whom were swept up in the "shoot first, ask questions later" methodology of the prior administration in the post 9-11 military actions ordered by George W. Bush.

This was a promise by President Obama that I wish he hadn't made during his campaign. Stop torture, yes. Stop spying on American citizens w/o court orders, yes. And yes to most of the Executive orders he has signed in recent days overturning the many GWB constitutional end-runs.

However, Guantanamo does have its advantages -- it's not in our neighborhoods, our cities, our states. Putting militant Islamic jihadists in our prisons seems like a bad idea to me. Our prisons have enough to deal with already with gangs, and racism, and violence, and drugs, and all the rest.

Stop the abuses that occurred at Guantanamo; follow the International Laws regarding treatment of those captives, open it up for the Red Cross and Amnesty International, etc. And by all means, sort out the ones unrighteously held captive and send them home with an apology at the very least and a change of clothes, a weekend at a Hyatt Regency somewhere, and tickets to Disneyland maybe. Figuring out what we owe people wrongly imprisoned for years borders on the impossible it seems to me.

But I, for one, don't mind the rest of those POW's spending their days at Guantanamo, the real POW's, until the war against the United States is declared over by the radical Islamic jihadists who have declared war against us in the first place.

So that's my two cents on one of the many very complicated issues the President has embarked upon unraveling which were left on his doorstep by you know who.

So with that, I'd better grade a few papers and get ready for tonight's class and am attaching a new picture.

"Happy Days are Here Again, Again!"


"When all else fails, I always say, paint a flower!" - Cassiday

"I'm not going down in history, I'm going down now!" - Cassiday

'Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow
spot into the sun.' Picasso

'Use enough dynamite there, Butch?' - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

'Three out of four people make up 75% of the world's population.' Jeremy

'An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one. ' - Albert Camus

'In Theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they're not.' -
Yogi Berra

'Always live in the ugliest house on the street - then you don't have to look at
it.' David Hockney

β€œHey, hey, hey β€” don't be mean. No need to be mean. 'Cause, remember: no matter
where you go... there you are.’”-The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the
8th Dimension!

"If given lemons, try to make lemonade!" - anon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Martin Luther King Day 2009

Here's a new pic for Martin Luther King Day 2009 and a few thoughts on this Monday .... I've been watching some of the memorial programming on the tv and working on this painting today. The concurrence of Martin Luther King Day with the Inauguration
of Barack Obama is quite a remarkable coming together of memory and hope. Growing up as a preacher's kid in small towns in several western and midwestern states, I've heard my share of racist remarks. And even now, four decades from the Civil Rights Victories of the 60's you don't have to scratch too far beneath the surface of civility we usually encounter to find residual racism and bigotry. So I thought a cross was an appropriate metaphor of Christianity and the misuse of Christian symbols (the Klan) to place in this painting. And some thoughts on what we worship may be helpful....status, wealth, power, beauty, money ... or love, kindness, charity, and hope. Whenever I hear that Jesus died for our sins, I think that it might be more accurate to say that Jesus died because of the sins of his contemporaries. And the sins are the same we have today. Pride, arrogance, bigotry, hatred, jealousy. We killed Jesus just as we killed Martin Luther King. Jesus' death was a result of the power of a government afraid of one man, a state action, to stop a feared revolution perhaps. MLK's death was the result of an individual filled with anger, and resentment, and hate which was aimed at stopping a movement. I'd say both killings failed to achieve the desired ends -- so far anyway. So I'm in a contemplative mood, hoping for the best, awaiting Barack Obama's Inauguration tomorrow and thought I'd share this new painting today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Buick Specials, Roadmasters, and The Good Old Days

In the good old days, car repairs seemed to always be $200. It didn't appear to matter what the repair was, it cost $200. New brakes - $200. New shocks all around - $200. Generator broken - $200. Then a few years later that doubled to $400 --- A/C not working - $400. Radiator rusted out - $400. Now it has doubled again and then some - front end bushings, tie-rod arms - $900. Fuel pump - $900. Brakes, drums, rotors, master cylinder - $900. So today it's a head or manifold gasket, new thermostat, and some water hoses - $900. Apparently, they have to disassemble most of the vehicle to do these things.

One winter years ago, my brother Jerry and I were driving home to Nebraska from a Christmas visit with parents and family in Montana. It was about a 16 hour drive and we were doing it in one stretch in my 1956 Buick Roadmaster -- the fancy one with the four portholes on the side, wide white wall tires, power steering, brakes, windows -- the top of the line Buick of its day. The year was 1972 or 73 maybe. About 11 at night while driving on I-29, the headlights suddenly dimmed and the electric indicator lights on the dash showed a power drain. The generator had lost its brushes and therefore was no longer generating any voltage.

I know this because we managed to pull into Elk Point, South Dakota and park under a street light and pull out the spare generator I had in the trunk and crawl under the car in the cold snowy night and remove and replace the generator.

Why, you ask, did I have a spare generator in the trunk? Well, my dad bought me a 1956 Buick Special when I was a High School Senior to get back and forth from school. That was a pretty cool car, too, but not as fancy as the Roadmaster.
While driving to school one day, another driver rear-ended me and totalled my Buick Special, which led to an insurance settlement, which led to the purchase of my Buick Roadmaster. But before having the car towed to the junk yard, I stripped if of any usable matching parts I could think of and carried them around with me in the trunk.

So we pulled off the Interstate into Elk Point, pulled under that street lamp, unbolted the old generator, bolted in the new one, connected the various wires and continued on our journey back home. Ahhhh, those were the days.

So here I sit today, waiting for my $900 car repair on my 13 year old Chevy Blazer S-10, wondering why my students at Metro Community College drive brand new Mustangs.......And working on a new painting, which I'll probably post later. Wait, I may have just answered my own question........

Bud C