Archive for the ‘Quote’ Category

“Never Alone” – At the West End Gallery

“When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.”

Dmitri Shostakovich

One of the things I worry about as I get older is that there may come a day when I don’t care anymore. That there might come a day when I would lose all interest in those things that once sparked fires within me.

That I won’t be moved by the emotion of the moment.

That I will lose the ability to feel love and joy.

And despair and grief.

How awful it must be to not feel those things?

They represent the high and low moments of our lives, marking our existence here. We experience both poles of emotion simply because they come from our caring for something.

And to not care anymore signifies a loss of believing that we have any sort of purpose here on this planet or that we owe nothing to its future.

It’s like an old person not planting a tree because they won’t be around to one day see it in its maturity. They don’t see that the simple act of planting it is a sign of belief in the future, that their nurturing of the young tree is a symbol that they still care about that future.

It is ultimately an act of caring and kindness.

I think you will find that those folks who plant trees when they are really too old to dig a proper hole have a great love of life, that they care deeply for what happens to the world around them. They laugh loudly and cry heartily. They know joy when the world is right and despair when the world is wrong.

And in their despairing of these wrongs, they seek to make the world right once more.

Because they still care.

I feel despair on many days lately. But I also find myself gladdened by knowing that it is a result of still caring, that I haven’t thrown in the towel and just given into the virtual death that comes with a life lived in not caring.

That beyond despair there remains the hope of joy once more.



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“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

These certainly is a time of mental pain.  a It’s time with a lot of moving parts, so many things with so many repercussions all going on at one time. Everything, every emotion and passion, feels heightened.

And that can be overwhelming. After all, most of us devote our lives to avoiding pain and difficult emotions.

Unfortunately, there are times when it can’t be avoided.

This is such a time.

We will all have to dig deep into our inner reserves and call on whatever courage and strength we have accumulated there. And if our reserves feel lacking, don’t despair alone. As C.S. Lewis points out above, mental pain is hard to bear and trying to go it alone makes it even more difficult. Everyone–and I mean everyone–needs help now and then so in these times of super stress, reach out and let someone know.

The exposure is often purifying.

On that note, here’s song from someone who, several years ago, I never thought I’d be playing here. It’s Sign of the Times from Harry Styles, who came to fame as part of the manufactured British boy band phenoms, One Direction. But going out on his own, he has proved himself quite a talent and this song has stuck with me from the first time I heard it a few years back.

Give a listen, reach out to friends and family and have a decent day.


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It’s your life — but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial. When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else or a community or a pressure group, you surrender your own integrity. You become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

I read a comment by someone on social media that tried to defend their possible vote for the president*** in the upcoming election by saying that who they voted for did not define them.

In normal times, I might agree with them to a point. I know plenty of folks who voted for Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes along with John McCain and Mitt Romney  and their values were not so different than my own. We shared some beliefs on some things and had different viewpoints on others. But we didn’t live on different planets, didn’t hold beliefs that were against every fiber of our moral selves.

However, these are not normal times, as you may have noticed.

Things are spiraling quickly with a deadly pandemic.

The forests burn, the rivers flood and hurricanes wreak havoc as we experience more and more dire climate crises throughout the land.

The streets are filled with protesters fighting for justice and racial equality. Opposing them is an armed legion devoted to open white supremacy that we are finding extends deeply into law enforcement.

There’s an economy that is staggering from job losses and business closings along with an exploding budget deficit.

Forgotten immigrant children and families are still in detention centers with allegations of sexual abuse and forced sterilizations coming out in recent months.

Our longtime and sworn foes around the world openly interfere in our elections.

I am sure I am missing some awful aspect here but none of it is normal.

And leading us is a man*** who seems almost pledged to making every one of these situations worse. He refuses to take any responsibility for his actions or inactions.

He has no plan for dealing with the pandemic. There was a plan early in the pandemic but it was set aside for political purposes because they believed the virus was only affecting the more populated Blue states. He then refused to take all the actions available to him because he felt that by passing responsibility for action on to the governors, they would be held accountable for a virus he knew was deadly even as he publicly said was not much of a threat.

A man who refuses to criticize our longtime enemies even as they pay bounties, on which he also refuses to comment,  on the heads our troops. The are the same troops he calls “suckers” for serving and “losers” when they are captured or killed. In fact, he fawns over despots and dictators, often subjugating himself and our nation to them. All of this while he spurns and alienates our longtime allies.

A man who openly foments racism and uses it as a pry bar on our population. Who refuses to criticize the white supremacists even as the FBI and other agencies point out that they are the most deadly and dangerous terrorist group at play in this country. In rallies, he talks about the “good genes” in states that are homogenously white and uses racial buzzwords when describing people of color. This racism extends to his immigration policies.

He has openly invited foreign interference in our elections and in recent days has set the stage for creating a crisis around the election, negating the ballots and sending the election back to state delegations that would be allowed to set aside the actual votes and choose the president as they see fit. His campaign has called for an army of able-bodied patriots to volunteer to surveil polling places during the election.

He speaks openly of ruling after a second term, much like his Russian mentor.

His actions are those of a dictator.

He is corrupt. He is dishonest. He is immoral. He is a racist. He is hateful and vengeful. He is weak-willed. He is beyond selfish. He is loyal to absolutely no one and no country.

There is no gray area here this year.

You are defined more than ever by this year’s vote.

In this election, if you stand with this man***, those are the values you are adopting.

I will forever define you by your vote this year.

If you vote for this man***, I will forever see you as racist, as morally bankrupt, as dishonest, as weak-willed, selfish, bitter, mean-spirited and stupid as the man*** you chose. That is the definition you choose.

You may think that is wrong or harsh or that I am somehow being hyperbolic.

Maybe so.

But I stand by it. Especially in this year, this terrible mess we call 2020. Nothing I have seen in the past four years has given me pause or proven me wrong. You have had more than ample time and evidence to see what he truly is.

If you can’t see that, I can live with this judgement. Both mine of you and you of me.

There is a line in the sand. This is a binary election. Yes or no.

Yes to America. No to Trump.

Our future depends on it. Try to have a good day and keep this in mind: this might be the best chance you will have to have a good day if he*** is somehow reelected or subverts or outright steals the election because it will never ever get better with him.

So, remember that today might be as good as it gets for a long time to come.







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The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him?

‘No, thank you,’ he will think. ‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Thought I’d kick off the first day of autumn by sharing a painting, And the Glimmer Comes, which I look at from my chair now, a few words from the always inspiring Viktor Frankl on finding meaning in one’s life and a piece of music that brings it all together for me, as someone just in the autumn of his life. Well, I say just but I guess that would be based on a lifespan of 120 years.

High hopes, I suppose.

The music is an atmospheric piece, Good Night, Day, from the late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (1969-2018) who was best known for his scores for films such as Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 and The Theory of Everything.

I am going to leave it at that. Have a good first day of fall.



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“Light Comes Darkness Goes”- Now at the West End Gallery

As for … the idea that we could lose our freedom by succumbing to a wave of religious hysteria, I am sorry to say that I consider it possible. I hope that it is not probable. But there is a latent deep strain of religious fanaticism in this, our culture; it is rooted in our history and it has broken out many times in the past.

“It is with us now; there has been a sharp rise in strongly evangelical sects in this country in recent years, some of which hold beliefs theocratic in the extreme, anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, and anti-libertarian.

“It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. This is equally true whether the faith is Communism or Holy-Rollerism; indeed it is the bounden duty of the faithful to do so. The custodians of the True Faith cannot logically admit tolerance of heresy to be a virtue.

“Nevertheless this business of legislating religious beliefs into law has never been more than sporadically successful in this country — Sunday closing laws here and there, birth control legislation in spots, the Prohibition experiment, temporary enclaves of theocracy such as Voliva’s Zion, Smith’s Nauvoo, and a few others. The country is split up into such a variety of faiths and sects that a degree of uneasy tolerance now exists from expedient compromise; the minorities constitute a majority of opposition against each other.

“Could it be otherwise here? Could any one sect obtain a working majority at the polls and take over the country? Perhaps not — but a combination of a dynamic evangelist, television, enough money, and modern techniques of advertising and propaganda might make Billy Sunday’s efforts look like a corner store compared to Sears Roebuck.

“Throw in a Depression for good measure, promise a material heaven here on earth, add a dash of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Negroism, and a good large dose of anti-“furriners” in general and anti-intellectuals here at home, and the result might be something quite frightening — particularly when one recalls that our voting system is such that a minority distributed as pluralities in enough states can constitute a working majority in Washington.”

–Robert Heinlein, Afterword to Revolt in 2100, 1953

In my Virtual Gallery Talk a few weeks back, I spoke about my belief that artists, writers and others who devote themselves to observation and creation based on their sensing of patterns often create work that is prescient or prophetic. Simply by going down the list of science fiction greats such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke and so many others, you can find many examples of scenarios and concepts in their literature that came to be.

In the talk, I mentioned as an example the novel The Parable of the Sower from the late Octavia Butler which was written in 1993 and describes a chaotic and dangerous USA in 2024 that doesn’t seem implausible at this point. I felt that she was obviously observing patterns of behavior and extrapolating them out in her imagination to come to a created future state of being that was in the realm of possibility.

Of course, it’s just supposition at the time. But sometimes, out of the many speculations for the future that are put out into the world every year, a few strike close to the reality that follows.

I submit the words above from sci-fi giant Robert Heinlein written as an afterword to his 1953 book Revolt in 2100 which involves a citizen rebellion against an authoritarian theocracy in 2100. I suggest you pay special attention to the second, third and final two paragraphs. It certainly seems as though we may be at the culmination of a pattern that Heinlein observed 67 years or more ago.

A most dangerous culmination, I must add.

We have limited time to avert his vision but it will be very difficult to ever fully repress the embedded behaviors and beliefs that led to it. I have often felt that the current president*** was merely the product of a very long arc, comprised of a series of events over many decades, that bent to this very moment. His peculiar set of skills, as vile as they are, fit the needs of this pattern and he became the sharp end of a spear that is following its arc. For all his his awful behavior, malice and stupidity, he is merely the current tool of this pattern.

I have thought over the past few years that we were actually fortunate that such a flawed and horrible person ascended into this position as the spear for this pattern.

Yeah, I said we were lucky to have this piece of crap. But that’s the point, he is a piece of crap. He is so flawed, so self-destructively attached to his own hubris, desires and prejudices, that he ignites a passionate fury in those who stand opposed to his faux nationalism, his desire for total rule, and his very real racism.

With this piece of crap, we at least have some warning of his ill intent.

It gives us a chance.

Think about it. If he had been still as insidious in his actions but had been smoother, saying the right things and not outright pissing off a majority of Americans, he would be cakewalking into a reelection now due to our complacency and unwillingness to rock the boat. This could mean a complete dismantling of the American Experiment over the next four years. It would be (and still could be) a situation that would be (and still could be) beyond reversal.

Maybe even taking us into the 2100 of Heinlein’s book.

So, this morning, let’s hope that Heinlein’s observations don’t come to fruition.

Plus, let’s give thanks for the president***– thank god he’s stupid. Thank god he’s impulsive and self-destructive. Thank god he is only interested in hearing his own voice– or maybe one with a thick Russian accent. Thank god he thinks he is the smartest man in any room. Thank god he is weak willed. Thank god he has no self restraint. Thank god he has not an iota of empathy. Thank god he thinks so little of the common man. Thank god he thinks he is bulletproof and above the law. Thank god he lies as easily as he breathes– which has a little huffing, by the way. Thank god he belittles the military and the scientists. Thank god he has no loyalty to anyone– save someone with a thick Russian accent and a name that rhymes with Rootin’ Tootin’.

The list of thanks I have for this president*** is too long to list so let me sum up in this way:

Thank god our president*** is a total piece of crap.

Now, get out there and have a good day!



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“America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, ‘It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.’ It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: ‘if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?’ There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.

Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

I was going to write a much longer entry this morning about the vast income inequality that is the underlying problem for many of this country’s ills but thought I’d share the selection above from Kurt Vonnegut. This was brought on by a study released by the RAND Corporation that was featured in a recent TIME Magazine article pointedly titled, The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure.

Even though they kind of give away the message of the story in that ridiculously long title, believe me when I say that it is an article that should be read. It shows how that if we had simply maintained the same income distribution that the US had in the the three decades following World War II, from 1945 to 1974, that the aggregate income of the bottom 90% of workers would be $2.5 trillion higher each year.


That is such a large number that most of us cannot even begin to fathom it unless we break it down into smaller, more digestible bits. Well, in this case, 2.5 trillion breaks down to about $1144 more per month for every working person in the bottom 90% of the population. Or to put it another way, the level of income inequality we have accepted since 1974 costs the median income of the average full time worker about $42,000 per year.

The Counterfactual Column is What Might Have Been With Income Equality Maintained

I could go on with numbers and figures but what I want you to do is imagine if we had maintained that level. You might have to go back to the period fro 1945-1974 to get an idea. It was a time that so many people here yearn for now because it was marked by many of those things to which we all aspire still. The great American Middle Class was at its peak. Think Happy Days, okay? Building and infrastructure increased tremendously as our national highway system was built and suburban communities popped up with housing developments. The average worker could buy a home and prosper with a single income, most often in jobs that came with health insurance and a retirement plan.

I want you to imagine what this country look like now if we had continued that arc?

Our infrastructure would be the best in the world. Our GDP would be through the roof. Our health system and school systems would be among the best in the world. Small businesses would boom because wealth builds from the bottom up, despite what supply-siders would have you believe with their snakeoil concoction of Trickle Down economics. People would not be so upside down in their mortgages or auto loans.

It comes down to the fact that most could live comfortably on a regular job that would have vacations, healthcare, pensions and more free time for ourselves.

There are a lot more examples that I know I am missing. This is just off the cuff so I hope you will take the time to imagine them.

I am not saying it would be perfect. Social problems– crime, civil rights, homelessness, etc– would remain but might not be exacerbated by the high levels of poverty that we see now.

The rich would still be rich but just not as rich. Ask anybody old enough if there were rich folks in those years between 1945 to 1974. The wealthy were still rich as hell. Maybe Betsy DeVos would only have one luxury super yacht instead of the three or five or whatever the hell she has now.

But that is the beauty of the ruse the wealthy has perpetrated on the American people. The average worker worries about the welfare of the richest of us more than those folks in their own economic strata. You see it whenever there is talk about raising the minimum wage. It is the people who make just a bit more than the minimum wage who scream against it the loudest. I think they see it as devaluing them in some way.

And maybe it does. It should. Instead of railing against someone getting a living wage and a better life, they should be yelling about why they themselves aren’t getting a bigger piece of the pie.

You also see it in the people who attend the president***’s rallies. Most of those folks are working class who are rotting for a creature who is peddling policies that go directly against their own self interest. He doesn’t talk about higher wages for those with jobs. He doesn’t offer them better healthcare. Well, he promises healthcare then moves on to a newer distraction without delivering anything at all. He spouts about the stock market and has these working folks believing it is the economy, even though the bulk of them don’t own a share of stock or understand that in order to return maximum profits to their shareholders, these companies need to keep wages and expenses low.

They root for their own lower wages.

I could keep going and going and going. I don’t have an answer except to say that we will never get back to that time if we don’t acknowledge that there is a real problem. And even then, we have so empowered the top 1% that they will never willingly agree to go back to that level even though they would not experience any real decrease in the quality of their lifestyle. In fact, they would be rewarded with a society that would be far more pleasant in which to live.

Okay, that’s enough. At least I got it off my chest.  Just read the article.

And remember that this not from some left wing think tank. It’s the RAND Corporation. Look them up if you’re not aware of them.

Oh, and have a good day.

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View of California Wildfires From Above the Clouds

“In all your years and all your travels,” I asked, “what do you think is the most important thing you’ve learned about life?”

He paused a moment, then with the twinkle sparkling under those brambly eyebrows he replied: “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on. In all the confusions of today, with all our troubles . . . with politicians and people slinging the word fear around, all of us become discouraged . . . tempted to say this is the end, the finish. But life — it goes on. It always has. It always will. Don’t forget that.”

–Robert Frost , on his 80th birthday, speaking to journalist Ray Josephs, 1954

What a time it is.

Much of the imagery you see these days is downright terrifying and disheartening, from the apocalyptic fire scenes from the west coast to the images of clashes in the streets between protesters and police to the scenes of armed white supremacists being given virtual carte blanche treatment as they move about the country to the ugly, hateful stupidity displayed so publicly now by the president’s red hatted followers as they gather to piss and moan about “their country” being taken from them.

Oh, what a time it is.

I wish I could quote Dickens and say that it was the best of times, it was worst of times but quite honestly, where is the best of times to be found these days?

I saw the photo at the top of the California wildfires as seen from above the clouds and at first glimpse thought it was a closeup of the coronavirus. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had somehow sprang from the same Pandora’s Box and ultimately resembled one another. The destructive effect of the two on the lives of those involved is much the same, that’s for sure.

I guess I can only look to the words of Robert Frost and many others who have told us that life will go on. Even though they seem wise enough that I want to trust that they somehow know this to be true, these days I find myself doubting them. But for today, I am going to trust their judgement.

Life goes on.

Here’s the Beatles with their Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da which uses that phrase as a refrain. Keep it in mind as you hopefully have a good Sunday.

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Paul Klee- Fish Magic 1925

He has found his style, when he cannot do otherwise.

-Paul Klee

Paul Klee always seems to have something in his works and his words to which I can relate. I know these words relate to my own experience as an artist.

I do what I do. I am what I am.

I just can’t do anything else.

It can be frustrating at those times when I feel blocked and find myself wishing I was someone else with different and greater talents and skills. Or when people ask me why I don’t paint in a different way or ask me to do something outside of my artistic realm or area of interest.

So I do what I do and I live with that.

There was a scene from a PBS series years ago that I have mentioned here before  (and borrow from in what follows) that perfectly encapsulates this situation.

It was an episode of Mystery! on PBS starring Kenneth Branagh as the Swedish detective Wallander. It was an okay, nice production but nothing remarkable in the story. But there was a part at the end that struck home with me and related very much to my life as a painter. Wallander’s father, played by the great character actor David Warner ( I always remember him best for his portrayal as Evil in the Terry Gilliam film Time Bandits, was, like me, a landscape painter. Now aged and in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, his son comes to him and intimates to his father, after having recently killed a serial killer, that he can’t go on as a detective, that he can’t take the stress.

The painter tries to comfort his son then recalls how when Wallander was a boy he would ask his father about his painting, asking, “Why are they always the same, Dad? Why don’t you do something different?

He said he could never explain. Each morning when he began to paint, he would tell himself that maybe today he would do a seascape or a still life or maybe an abstract, just splash on the paint and see where it takes him. But then he would start and each day he would paint the same thing- a landscape. Whatever he did, that was what came out. He then said to his son, ” What you have is your painting- I may not like it, you may not like it but it’s yours.

That may not translate as well on paper without the atmospheric camera shots and the underscored music but for me it said a lot in how I think about my body of work. Like the father, I used to worry that I would have to do other things- still lifes, portraits, etc.- to prove my worth as a painter but at the end of each day I found myself looking at a landscape, most often with a red tree.

As time has passed, I have shed away those worries. I don’t paint portraits. Don’t really paint still life. I paint what comes out and most often it is the landscape. And it usually includes that red tree that I once damned when I first realized it had became a part of who I am.

I realized you have to stop damning who you are…


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Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

–NOT Abraham Lincoln

I was thinking about character this morning and came across the quote above, which has been used on occasion by political organizations in recent times and is usually attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

Great words and most likely the truth.

But it turns out that the words were actually not from Lincoln but instead were spoken about Lincoln.  The words actually come from my new hero of words, Robert Green Ingersoll, who I briefly profiled in a blog post this past week.

In 1883, at an event in Washington DC, Ingersoll was introducing a speaker who was going to lecture on the late President Lincoln. During his introduction Ingersoll said of Lincoln’s prowess as an orator, comparing Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburgwith that of the speaker, Edward Everett, who followed him and rambled on for a very long time :

“… If you want to know the difference between an orator and a speaker, read the oration of Lincoln at Gettysburg, and then read the speech of Everett at the same place. One came from the heart, the other was born only of the voice. Lincoln’s speech will be remembered forever. Everett’s no man will read. It was like plucked flowers.

After a round of applause, Ingersoll then added:

If you want to find out what a man is to the bottom, give him power. Any man can stand adversity — only a great man can stand prosperity. It is the glory of Abraham Lincoln that he never abused power only on the side of mercy. [Applause]. He was a perfectly honest man. When he had power, he used it in mercy …”

Ingersoll modified these comments for a later lecture on Lincoln:

“Nothing discloses real character like the use of power. It is easy for the weak to be gentle. Most people can bear adversity. But if you wish to know what a man really is, give him power. This is the supreme test. It is the glory of Lincoln that, having almost absolute power, he never abused it, except on the side of mercy.”

Over the years, Ingersoll’s words were used often in many newspapers and magazines and correctly attributed to him. But as time wore on, his words were condensed down to the form you see at the top with Ingersoll’s name being forgotten, instead replaced by the very man of which he spoke.

As great and lauded as he was, Bob Ingersoll was just destined to be overlooked by history, I guess.

But his observation on character certainly holds true today.

We have a man who holds what is most likely the most powerful position in the world, the president*** of the USA, who has been given ( and has taken) almost absolute power. It has certainly revealed his true character.

And it ain’t pretty.

A multitude of revelations have come out in recent days, all painting him (almost always with his own words) as the soulless, selfish, ugly creature, something that seems so obvious to me and many others by the simple witnessing of his actions. Yet, reading through the reactions of his ardent followers on social media, it is portrayed as some sort of character assassination.

My question is: Can it be character assassination when the character of the person ( I am giving him the benefit of a doubt here, folks) in question is fully revealed as it truly is?

His actions and his words– spoken in his recorded voice— all reveal a character that is lacking any positive attributes. It is a character that shows itself as being small in scale and weak in practice.

It is a character that would let tens of thousands–maybe even hundreds of thousands– of the citizens he was entrusted to protect die, suffer and lose their livelihoods so that he might protect his political and financial aspirations.

He has told us who he is with his own words and he has demonstrated his character day after day for the past four years.

If at this point, you still believe that he has a reverence for or loyalty to this country, a respect for its citizens, or any interests beyond his own, you, my friend, are a fool.

I am going to condense that for you, probably not in a way that would please the great Robert G. Ingersoll:

If you still support this goddamn creep, you’re a fucking idiot.

Apologies to my less profane friends out there but this a time for plain speaking. Just my opinion.

Try to have a good day.


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The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.

H.L. Mencken

I have been trying to stay away from current events but seeing this morning that the Department of Justice is looking to take over the defense of the president in a defamation lawsuit brought against the president*** by a private citizen over an alleged rape that took place twenty years ago just raises my blood. The fact that we, the people, are now paying for his legal defense and any subsequent settlement for is beyond the pale.

It is just another mile marker on the road to authoritarianism.

Factor in what is happening under the rulers this thing in our white house so much admires and refuses to criticize, often even as they imperil our citizen soldiers. You have the kidnappings of opposition leaders in Belarus. The poisoning of opposition leader and Putin critic Alexei Navalny in Russia, which was, by the way, not the first such occasion under the Putin regime. And then there is the crazy number of Putin critics and journalists who “accidentally” fall from high rise windows or mysteriously get shot with sight of the Kremlin.

Not to mention the brutal killing and dismemberment of a US based journalist by the Saudi regime that he often coos about, an atrocity that is now barely a blip in a radar screen filled with atrocities.

That’s the world to which our creature in charge aspires. And 40% or so of our population thinks, or in the absence of thought, believes that this is just fine and dandy.

I can’t accept that.

I will not succumb to the dark world being forced upon us. Will not keep my mouth shut. Will not close my eyes to the wrongs being perpetrated. Will not turn my head away from the rampant corruption or the many injustices of this regime.

I won’t do it.

And the 40% of us that are his true believers view this as being unpatriotic.

Well, we obviously have different views on patriotism.

I am going to defer to Aristotle on this: “It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.

If being a good citizen requires me to be less than a good man, then I will cease being a good citizen.

Sorry for the spew this morning. Here’s a song that says this much better than my angry words. It’s from way back in 1984 from Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul and his album Voice of America. You might know him better as Miami Steve Van Zandt from Springsteen’s E Street Band or as Silvio, Tony’s lieutenant and the owner of the Bada Bing Club on The Sopranos. Or from his Sirius radio channel Little Steven’s Underground Garage or from his Netflix series, Lilyhammer. He’s a busy, multifaceted guy.

And a patriot by my and Mencken’s definitions. Here’s his I Am a Patriot.

The painting at the top, The Way of the Brave,  is from quite a few years back. It’s a longtime favorite of mine and one that I used when I last played this song here back in 2009. It still fits the song.

Have a good day.


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