Friday, March 30, 2007

A Message From Clucky...

It's Friday and I am in a Friday mindset. That means that I don't want to sepnd a great deal of time on this blog today. In fact, the only thing that I want to spend a great deal of time on at the begining of the weekend, is the begining of the weekend.

I have decided that from now on, every Friday, I will let Clucky the Talking Chicken greet all fans of this blog with a Happy Weekend Message. While his message will more than likely stay the same, I'm sure that his quirky imagery will remain in flux.



Thursday, March 29, 2007

Popularly known as "Yeomanettes"

I found this story about the obituary of Charlotte Winters rather amazing...

Last Surviving Female World War I Veteran Dies (Charlotte Winters)

109 years old - What a life she must have had!

"Yeomanettes" at Portsmouth Naval Yard, Kittery, Maine. Oct. 1918

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Past Life or Pasta?

A lovely Spring morning is dawning here. I have my windows open, and from where I sit, I can hear the voices of little children conversing with their mothers as they walk to school intermingled with the sounds of chirping birds and the muffled roar of an occasional jet as it passes overhead. It's a comforting sensation and I've not once yet been tempted to turn on the XM Satellite Radio. I listen to the 40's station, usually, in the mornings as I slough off my morning somnolence with each sip of coffee. though, I prefer the sounds of Spring this morning.

I had a great day in the studio yesterday and feel that I will do the same today. As I was winding down my painting day a wonderful friend of mine that I hadn't seen in weeks, Marnie, slowly drove by with a beep of her car horn and stopped in front of my open studio. She parked, came into the studio, and we had a great visit. Shortly before she stopped by, I had just finished inviting Michael and Karen over for a simple dinner and some wine. I haven't seen them in a bit, certainly not since they both shaved their heads for the St. Baldricks group that raises money for kids with cancer.

After they arrived, we all sat in the backyard and had great conversation over wine and scotch. Eventually I threw together a very nice pasta dish with Kielbasa, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, artichoke hearts and more.

Now, because we ate later than I usually do, and also probably due to the Scotch, I feel rather quickly into a deep sleep after I went to bed. But one of my dreams last night was particularly compelling. I think it may have been a past life dream.

It was so vivid and different and it certainly took place in the past. I wish I could remember more of it, but what I do remember is very acute. In the section that I do remember, I have traveled with another man to an immense stone bridge just outside of a large village/town. There were several other military men there and everyone was dressed in very colorful military garb with swords, long robes, and metal helmets. I knew that they were there to meet with and quite possibly kill the man that I was there with. I could tell that he knew this as well.

One thing that I do distinctly remember was that the man that I was with was Asian, quite possibly Chinese. Also, the group of men that we were meeting were definitely not Asian and were more than likely European. Again, I don't know where we were, but I did feel that I was somewhere in Europe, especially Italy. No one, including the fellow that I was with, seemed to take notice of me. It was as if I was some sort of silent observer.

Though the majority of the men by the bridge were on foot, some were on horseback. There was a distinct air of tension and the fellows by the bridge were stony faced to say the least. Though I do remember the Asian man looking somewhat bemused with a slight smirk on his face. I remember thinking, "How can this man look so relaxed? Surely, he knows that he is about to be killed!" This didn't seem to phase him in the least. He, too, was dressed in highly ornamental clothes and was carrying at least two swords, on on either side.

What happened next was like a scene from a Martial Arts film. About 4 or 5 of the men in the group began moving towards the Asian man threateningly. You could see that they were intimidated, but they came forward anyway. The Asian fellow, suddenly began moving like the speed of light. In my dream, it was actually stunning. Though I would normally be repulsed by witnessing such a thing, in the dream I simply witnessed without judgment. It was fascinating. Within seconds the men that had approached the Asian fellow lay dead or dying on the ground. This also stunned the men on horseback because they literally fled after witnessing the same scene.

The next thing that I was soaring above the village. I could see every detail beginning with the Asian man who was know cleaning his sword of the blood of the dying men around him, to the countryside, to the cityscape of the town in all of it's medieval glory and on and on. It was as if I were a helium filled balloon rising with great speed into the air. It was so exhilaratingly! And then I awoke with one of those "sit straight up in bed" type of awakenings.

So, to tie all of this into an even more uncanny experience for me this morning was what happened after I came downstairs to have my coffee. I was checking my email still somewhat groggily, and I noticed that I had a request on myspace to add a new friend. I was checking out this person's page, and they had a song streaming by a group called Melee. I really liked the song ( entitled "Built To Last") and I wanted to know more about the group. I opened Wikipedia and put their name into the search engine. I expected to find a page about their group but was given this instead.

I was reading the entry and thinking, "Wait this sounds like my freakin' dream!". I then noticed the image that the entry had posted was even more astounded. It looked like a illustration of the scene that I had just witnessed in my dream! I clicked on it to get a larger view and saw this -

The similarities between my dream and the image above simply floored me. So, now I'm not sure what to think. What was my dream and why would I have such a strong visual reference to it in my waking world less than an hour after having awakened? Is there some message that I haven't caught onto yet? A Past Life regression? I'm going to think about this for quite some time and try to piece the puzzle together. Any help would be appreciated.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Self-Portrait Tuesday, Bacon and Open Windows

It's Spring and time for new things. Thusly, I changed the image that had been in my banner at the top o' this page and in the thumbnail to the right, to the new image that I took this AM for S.P.T. Here tis -

The previous image that I had been using was taken right before my 40th birthday. Well, I'll be 42 in May, so, out with the old and in with the new. Besides, it's going to be a lovely day weather wise here in ole NJ.
I had every intention of getting into the gym today, but with the weather so nice, I may just have to talk my power walk around my favorite near-by park. When the weather is so lovely, I have a hard time convincing myself that it is a better thing to be inside a giant gym on a treadmill with earphones and a wee little video screen in front of me. It seems so Orwellean. I'd rather have the sun and the "Springnesss" of it all - allergies aside.
Though, I haven't been to the gym in months and I battle with myself every morning about that. I do truly think, however, that had the weather been not as nice this morning, I would have made the trek to the gym.
Of course, right this very minute, someone in the neighborhood is frying bacon.

It's alluring scent is wafting trough my open windows and it is about to transform me into a ravenous wild eyed madman beating down every door to find it.
I hope they made enough...wish me luck.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Mafioso" and Alberto Sordi

Though I have a busy schedule this morning, I just had to pop in here to mention a wonderful film that I saw last night at the Ritz at the Bourse Theatre in Philadelphia last night. The title of the film is "Mafioso" and it stars the incomparable Italian Cinema star Alberto Sordi. It's a brilliant dark comedy with several existentialist twists.

From The New Yorker by Anthony Lane:
Antonio Badalamenti (Alberto Sordi) is every inch the modern Sicilian. He is organized and forward-looking; he is married to a blonde from Bellagio (Norma Bengell), and they have two blond daughters; he lives in Milan and works as a foreman at a Fiat plant. But the call of home is strong, and, when Antonio drags the family back to his native village for a vacation, the loyalties of the past rise up to consume him. “Mafioso,” Alberto Lattuada’s comedy from 1962, which was recently showcased at the New York Film Festival in a restored version that will play in revival at the Angelika and at Lincoln Plaza starting Jan. 19, clamors for rediscovery. Filmed in a hot and bleached black-and-white, it manages to swerve from culture-clashing farce to alarming suspense without losing control; admirers of the Corleones, or, indeed, of Tony Soprano, will revel in the fleshy, pontifical presence of Don Vincenzo (Ugo Attanasio), the head of the local Mafia. The small favor that he asks of the fawning Antonio is the movie’s big surprise; if you give it away, the Don will not be happy.

If you get a chance, and enjoy Italian cinema as much as I, you should definitely see this film during it's current re-release.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

HAHAHAHA - Incredibly funny, yet sadly true, video

The above was sent to me by my dear friend JT. I love it on many levels. Whats so ironically funny is the TRUTH that it speaks while making you laugh until it hurts. That is - if you've enough intelligence to understand such concepts as comic irony. According to a recent Newsweek poll (, only 30% of the American populace approves of Bush's job performance. I have seen even lower numbers as well out there. So, let's say that at least 70% of Americans who watch the video will enjoy it and better yet - understand it. You just have to wonder about the mentality of people that support the way that Bush is destroying our beloved country...

I think this little image from The Center For American Progress explains it quite well...

Now, the Republicans in Washington that support Bush, while clearly not under educated, are, in my opinion, motivated by greed, hate and fear. I am a Progressive and proud of it. One only has to open their eyes to understand what's happening in this country on so many levels to see how non-progressive rule is destroying it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SPRING 2007!!!!

photo by Derick Rethans

Let there be great rejoicing that Spring has arrived! A little after 8:00 PM EST tonight, Spring will officially arrive and that makes me a very, very, happy man! Enough of this Winter cold, snow, sleet, slush and more. I want bright skies and warm breezes, chirping birds and tulips, front porch swings and my ukulele.
Already, the depressing icy slush that formulated so much of the weekend is melting away like a grape Popsicle on a sunny summer's afternoon. I'm going to spend the rest of this glorious day in my studio with every door wide open right onto the street!

By the way, it's Self-Portrait Tuesday...

Oh, and one more thing, Dr. ML, I love you man, but if you text message me at 12:45 AM in the morning on a Monday night when I am trying to sleep one more time with another silly rambling, I'm going to jump on the next plane, show up unexpectedly on your doorstep, and introduce you to another use for your cellphone not currently allowed in public advertising. My best to your lovely wife and children.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Studio Day - Sucky Sleet

I have reached an age where winter truly makes me want to wretch. After two days of lovely Spring weather, we now are having a sleet storm. I hope that my lovely bulbs (tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths) which have awakened from their winter slumber will make it through this ugly hellishness unscathed. Sleet - What fun! In any event, it makes for perfect studio weather and that's where I am at this very moment...

Studio Day, March 16, 2007

There is the new work I have started on the wall behind me to the left. The drawings on the wall directly behind me are what I do with my artists friends when we "hang out" in the studio, play music loudly and drink scotch and wine. I'll photograph those soon I think.

I think I will stay in my warm and dry studio for the rest of the afternoon.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007


It's self-portrait Tuesday - though I'm not much in the mood for it. The mother of one of my dearest friends died last night after battling a very long illness. She was my friend as well.
Her son and I have been close since we first met as young children in 1970. She died much too young and the world will be a darker place without her illuminating spirit in it.
Around 9:15 PM EST last night, I had the strongest urge to call my friend and check in with him and to see what the status of his mother was as we hadn't been able to touch base in a couple of weeks. He has worked tirelessly and on his own during her entire illness as her caregiver. He didn't answer, but I left a message to that regard.
He called me two hours later to tell me that at the moment that his phone was ringing with my call, he was holding her hand as she released her final breaths. He told me that he knew that she and I had a special connection and that she had always loved me as one of her own.
I love you Sandy. You will be sorely missed.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunny very late Winter/ very early Spring Monday

So begins another week after a somewhat frustrating yet overall enjoyable weekend. The weekend started off well enough with my driving in from the beach late Friday morning. That afternoon, I was to join JG to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show. By most accounts, it's the largest flower show in the United States, if not the world, and countless visitors attend the event. Some travel great distances to view the enormous display. We were going to be met at the show by her friend A then afterwards, we would join A's partner J and JG's partner JT for dinner in Chinatown. I have met A and her partner J on a couple of different social occasions in the past and though I don't really know them well enough to consider them friends, they both seem very personable and I'm sure that by the end of this year, I will be able to move them from the "social acquaintance" category to the "friends" category.
I arrive back in NJ at about 12:30 and do a few things about the house for a couple of hours as JG is picking me up at 3:00. While I'm tending to the cats, my phone rings and it's JT. We chat briefly about the flower show that she will be missing this year and then she asks me about my plans for Saturday evening. I told her that George was coming up and that we had tentative plans to hang out with MS and KK and to attend an art event at their place as well as to check out the latest exhibit at the Perkins Center for the Arts which was opening that night. It's an exhibit of wood-turning and a friend of mine had some work in it.

JT informed me that she and JG had been invited to the home of CS and MM for dinner on Saturday evening and that they had asked her if George and I were free as they would like to extend the invitation to us as well. I have met CS and MM on several occasions over the last year and a half and we always get along very well. They are on my "friends" list. Late last Summer, they purchased on of my works entitled "Memory".

At the time that they purchased my work, they informed me about a close friend of their's who was a well connected art buyer. They told me that they wanted me to meet him one day because they thought that he may be interested in my work. It just so happens that he and his wife would be attending the dinner Saturday evening as well. I told Jacquie that that sounded not only like a great opportunity but that it sounded like fun as well. I told her that IO wanted to check with George, though I was sure that he would agree, and that I needed to call MS & KK and change my plans. Being both artists, MS & KK , would understand the importance of dinner with a well connected art buyer and potential client.

So I phoned George, MS & KK, and informed them all about the change of plans. At around 3, JG shows up and we decide that we would take the High Speed line into the city to avoid the massive amount of traffic connected to the Flower Show. It was held at the Convention Center so we got off at 8th and Market and walked in. It was very sunny bit still a bit cold.
We arrive and I have to but tickets. I figured that I would use my brand new USAirways Dividend Miles Visa card to purchase the tickets to add to my air miles. I stand in line briefly only to have my card declined for some reason at the window. That's when the yellow caution light whet off in my head that something was amiss with USAirways. I had already had a nightmarish experience with them the previous weekend when I purchased our tickets to Italy. I couldn't help but think that this was connected somehow.
I pule out another card and purchased my ticket and Janet and I waited for A to appear. There were people everywhere though we had yet to enter the actual show. It wasn't long before A arrives and we all head up stairs. The theme of the show was "The Flowers of Ireland" or something of that nature. The first thing you notice of course is the lovely scent of fragrant flowers everywhere.
I wish I could explain how large this display is but I simply can not. We were there for over 3 hours and we still didn't see it all.

There were so many people everywhere that taking photos was rather difficult and many of mine didn't come out very well. These displays were really breathtaking with waterfalls, Irish Cottages, life size, robotic animals, Irish dancers, bagpipes and more. Here are a few of my images that did work.

You can read more about this wonderful display (and see much better photos) at their website. The Flower
After the show, we took a short walk to Rangoon, where we were to meet JT and J. Rangoon is a Burmese restaurant in the China Town section of Philadelphia. I had never had Burmese food before and I was really looking forward to it. I was also so hungry at this point that on old shoe in Burmese sauce would have proved tempting. The restaurant was simply, but nicely decorated and very popular. A suggested it was because of the Flower Show. We had made reservations and it wasn't long before we were seated. It was a bit awkward at first because of the table we were seated at. It was a rectangular table for 6. There were 5 of us, 4 of whom were 2 couples. So after JT and J arrived. they sat next too and across from each other. I sat on the end away from the wall which threw the balance off a bit. It was visually I'm sure odd because I was this giant blond haired man sitting at the end of a table with 2 somewhat petite lesbian couples. Because of where I sat, it was somewhat difficult to join into the conversation, but I was able to enough that we all enjoyed the experience. I must say, that the food was very enjoyable. We all ordered several different salads and entrees sampling some of each. They were all just phenomenal. You can check out their website here...

I really want to include here how totally crazy my Saturday turned out to be starting with the hell of trying to work out the USAirways issue and ending with the dinner party, but I have to get my day started. I will revisit this afternoon and follow up.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I am so freakin' sick of right wing idiots with their bumper sticker mentality and their misplaced holier than thou bullshit.

Hate mongers - the lot of them.
I am so very pleased when their masks fall on occasion and their ugly, soulless true face is exposed - which has been happening with more and more frequency...
Conservative star turns out to be star of gay porn as well...
more here ( this link is definitely NSFW!)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Evil Transgenderesque she-man with the initials AC who referred to John Edwards as a "faggot"

Whew - what a busy last few days I have had since my last visit here! But before I get to that I have to address a news event over the weekend really filled me with rage. This would be what I hinted at in the title of this post. I have decided not to use her name because I want to deny the skinny foul smelling goat what she wants the most which is publicity, that and, of course, real, non-surgically created female genitalia. However, I do feel the need to respond to what the she/he said. Basically, she referred to John Edwards as a "faggot" during one of her speaking engagements. With no offense to legitimate prostitutes, AC, of course, said these words because she is a media whore - maybe not even a media whore, perhaps just a basic whore. I don't want to spend a lot of time on this hate mongering shoe scrapping, but I was able to find a photo of her that I would like to share. It's several years old (she's much older than she looks - but don't look too closely due to the risk of turning to stone). It appears that she may be at some sort of fund raiser in the photo. Maybe its for her boyfriend or father (or boyfriend/father - think Chinatown) who is seen standing next to her. In any event, you'll get a great idea of where the ho's heart and mind is from this image o'de past -

Now, several of my gay friends have informed me that if they didn't like the Democratic candidate chosen to lead us to victory in the White House, that they would support Giuliani because he has been supportive of gay rights and has close gay friends (even living with a gay couple after his breakup). Well, let them read the words of Glen Greenwald from Salon magazine and realize that Giuliani was there in the audience when AC spit shit out of her stained mouth! In my opinion, this is a valid guilt by association case and shows you where he really stands when the chips are down.

From Glen Greenwald of Salon Magazine - "Anyone who went to this event -- and that includes Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Dick Cheney -- knew exactly what they would be getting. Coulter's face was prominently plastered on the promotional material. The right-wing political candidates who accepted the invitations to speak there knew exactly the type of people would be there -- namely, the type who continuously cheer on Ann Coulter's bigoted and nakedly hateful screeds. Anyone who makes themselves a part of that event is purposely associating themselves with those sentiments. That is what this Conference is for"

Now, back to my busy weekend - our magazine, Le Chic Shac, came back from the printers a bit early, so I had to go into high gear on getting the web site up (I'm almost finished).

I also had some overnight guests on Friday night (close friends C and B) and their lovely 13 year old daughter - H). They drove in from Virginia on their way to NYC to pick up a pool table. Long story. In any event, due to traffic and what not, they weren't able to arrive until about 11:15 PM. We ended staying up to about 3 AM. I haven't done that in quite a while, and It took me most of the remainder of the weekend to catch up.

G cam in for the weekend as well, but arrived shortly after our friends departed for NYC. Other friends of ours, J&J, hosted a lovely dinner on Saturday evening in honor of G's birthday that they had missed the previous week at the beach. MB and her cousin KK were there as well and JT prepared one of her famous traditionally Italian meals to the raves of all of the guests.

I spent a large chunk of Sunday afternoon going through the grueling process of trying to purchase our tickets to Italy from the USAirways website. It literally took hours, most of which was spent on hold. Finally, one of the technicians informed me that they were reformulating their systems that weekend and that they had been informing anyone who called that it would be best to wait until after Monday to order tickets online. However, I saw no such warning on their site nor did I hear any such warning, recorded or live, during the 14 years that I spent waiting on hold. In any event, I finally was able to complete the process. Now, I have questions about frequent flier miles. Hmm...