Sarah Palin Let Go From POX Spews

There’s not much to say on the subject. Sarah Palin ceased to be marginally relevant ages ago. She’s dumb as a smacked Labrador retriever (no offense meant to Labrador retrievers) and she’s no longer generating revenue for Rupert Murdock. She’s now relegated to the Republican elephant burial ground of useless tools along with Glenn Beck and Karl Rove. End of story.

– Dissociated Press, 1/28/2013

Bipartisan Senators Make a Landmark Stand on Immigration Reform – In What Kind of Swamp Will the House Make a Stand?

Not every person with a Latin accent is from Mexico, or Central America or even South America. Americans need to stop lumping people into groups and get wise to embracing human difference and variety as the ingredients that make our nation strong.

While it is very encouraging that a bipartisan group of Senators just made a landmark stand on immigration reform, it remains to be seen what kind of swamp the House of Representatives will be standing-in with regard the same issue. Congressional constipation seems to emigrate from the very bowels of the Boehner House of Representatives, and the TeaPublicans therein who are determined to grind any and all definitions of progress into one giant full scale geopolitical intestinal blockage. It should be pointed out to the Tea Party that certain kinds of herbal “tea” can be used to cure constipation–but herbal tea is probably bears too common sense for hyped-up, caffeinated radicals.

It was refreshing to see Chuck Schumer sharing a stage with John McCain and being in full agreement. All in all, eight senators have endorsed a bill to reform America’s antiquated immigration laws including Chuck Schumer (D) of New York, Dick Durbin (D) of Illinois, Bob Menendez (D) of New Jersey plus Michael Bennet (D) of Colorado. What’s stunning is that prominent Republicans are on board, including John McCain (R) of Arizona, Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina, Marco Rubio (R) of Florida and Jeff Flake (R) of Arizona. Those particular Republicans aren’t so much of a surprise, the surprise is the party itself acknowledging the reality that alienating women and minorities no longer works like a charm in garnering winning tickets.

Demonizing people of color or difference has been recognized by “thinking” members of the GOP as a failing strategy based on the results of the last two presidential elections. So in order to win, cheat or steal future elections, the Republican Party will need to diligently gerrymander voting districts (no doubt employing the weird math skills of Paul Ryan) to neutralize future Electoral College votes so as to give empty acreage the same rights as living, breathing registered voters. First corporations were redefined as “people” now it’s your front lawn (depending on where you live). Front lawns are people too, grassy knolls may soon pull as much political weight at the polling station as an individual’s own vote. AND if passed, the people mowing those lawns might even be granted equal rights under the law, which is only fair considering a great many of them already paying taxes and have Social Security number. At least some of minorities peoples are a little bit closer to being recognized as having valid rights, even if old garde politicians still try to keep us stalled in a cowardly old world, ignoring the needs of people while standing up for the rights of the manicured north forty acres of their gated estates. By the way, there’s no mention in the bill about the Canadian border.

– Dissociated Press, 1/28/2013

And Now for a Moment of Gratuitous Self-Promotion:

I have my first book coming out this spring, titled An Early Work Late in Life. An Early Work Late in Life is a hybrid book: It’s a biography and a memoir which reads like a novella, but is also an art book with captioned plates featuring the work of a late artist named Danny Allen. Danny Allen was the most important influence in my life both as an artist and as a gay man. He was my lover and my unwitting instructor. Danny took his life in 1974 at age 28, when I was 24. His work is now being rediscovered now that a piece he created four decades ago goes on display in a show titled Art From the Vault at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, opening March 15th, 2013. An Early Work Late in Life will be available this spring. Hopefully advance copies will be printed and bound in time for local Rochesterians who knew Danny Allen to have books in hand. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1149501600/1467318020?token=8afb8f0f

Redefining What Makes a Man a MAN

Eligible bachelors for the ladies.

Big guns, whether we’re talking massive biceps or massive firepower, don’t make a man any more of a man. Masculinity is prized in our culture, but it’s a confusing prize. The men who look like he-men are actually gay, and the men who consider themselves “men’s men” are not. Gay that is. The women I’m friendly with tell me the straight men who are still available don’t know how to define themselves as anything other than out of shape and possessing no sense of style or personal hygiene–let alone mentioning the things that matter, but we’ll get to that. Thus the gene pool is littered with couch potato sports fans, some of whom are clinging to guns while only marginally aware of the phallic significance those tools possess. I’ve been reflecting on a book I wrote years ago, but never made any effort to publish. I’ve given it the working title of Unclaimed Freight as it is also unfinished. Excerpted below are some passages that came back into my mind, dealing with masculinity rather than guns. But I consider the two to have a closely intertwined relationship in our culture. The book excerpt is in blue. The names of the people involved have been changed:

What is presumably one of a pair of big guns.

It’s no secret that I’m a gay man, born in 1950 – best to get that out of the way right up front in case anyone wants to begin dissecting my masculinity or lack thereof even before I’ve had my chance to speak. At my age, I’m comfortable in my own skin, but as a high school kid in the 1960s, I was not. I remember the football players cutting up before Spanish class when the teacher was running late. They were prancing around, led by Jake O’Swaggerty, who was the star quarterback. He and the jocks were feigning limp wrists and lisping in an exaggerated Castilian accent imitating our teacher’s foreign accent and lilting voice. Our Spanish teacher was an immigrant from Poland, so we were learning Castilain Spanish with a Polish accent, but in the our unruly classroom, no one was learning anything, so it didn’t really much matter. The teacher insisted that we all assume Spanish names during class. For example, he was Señor Volenskia, and I was addressed as “Guillermo.” Señor Volenskia was a very refined (and dare I say it) effeminate man who dressed like a dandy. During this pre-class episode of horseplay, I was doing my best to dissolve into my desk lest I draw attention to myself and have the ridicule turn my way.

The more I hid however, the more attention I drew to myself, so in desperation and self-defense, I stooped to joining in the melee. I did a rather accurate imitation of our teacher rolling his R’s, tripping my tongue against the roof of my mouth and letting out  a staccato “A-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r” to the tremendous amusement of the football team and other classmates. They loved it, and insisted I do it again. I was off the hook as the object of ridicule but had inadvertently placed myself center stage when Señor Volenskia suddenly entered the room having heard far more than we realized. He sharply clapped his hands together twice like an enraged Polish flamenco dancer and said, “Tell us, Guillermo what it is that you are finding so amusing about me?” I was dumbstruck. “Tell me at once, or you will go to the principal’s office.”

In a squeaky little voice I said, pausing, “The way you roll your R’s, Señor kind of makes me laugh.” Señor Volenskia widened his eyes with rage. He addressed me and the entire class while I stood frozen in place. “All of you silly children think that I am a sissy! A panty-waist! None of you know anything and probably never will. A man is courage and integrity. Not football or sexual prowess. Go back to your seat, Guillermo and stay there after the bell!” There were tears filling my eyes as the truth, pain and embarrassment of what he had just said pierced through me.

After class, Señor Volenskia made me get to work and roll my R’s repeatedly. We then practiced phrases for the following day’s lessons, one of which was: “Los tocco discos es descompuesto.” Which I believe roughly means “my record player is broken” or something to that effect. Taking off his cuff-links, he pushed up his sleeves and grilled me while correcting my pronunciation over and over. He caught my eyes resting on the pink triangle tattooed on his left wrist with the line of numbers on his forearm. He quickly tugged down his sleeve, and dismissed me. Life was not going to be easy, and that was my real lesson for the day. I had missed study hall, and had to proceed directly to gym class.

Classic J. C. Leyendecker illustration of the quintessential football hero.

Gym teachers liked to make fat boys like me, hang limp with defeat on rings and ropes attached to the ceiling. They relished forcing us to leap over leather-upholstered horses and other useless apparatus. They lived to hurl weighted medicine balls at us just to see us fall over backwards, but nothing made their day like wrestling. Wrestling meant that they could match boys by weight class. At fourteen years old I tipped-in at roughly the same weight as an apartment piano.

I was paired with Jake O’Swaggerty the aforementioned quarterback of the football team. Now as delighted as I was to have Jake O’Swaggerty breathing close to my face and crawling all over me, it never really lasted quite long enough. Nine tenths of a second and I was pinned. (I was actually pinned by the quarterback of the football team, and here I didn’t even know we were dating). The romance generally lasted only a painful fraction of a second, but what was pain when there was love and lust in my eyes?

That’s me to the far left, the dazed looking fat kid at my brother’s college graduation.

Showers came next. Everyone was forced to shower—naked that is. Some poor souls who hadn’t yet sprouted pubic hair tried to shower with their underpants on, but there was no way of avoiding the ridicule and shame. My problem wasn’t a lack of pubic hair, my problem was the the Lord in his infinite wisdom had seen fit to cause my pubic hair to sprout-out as Safety-Signal-Orange. “Please God, let the earth swallow me whole,” I’d pray as I paraded my fat pasty ass past handsome naked boys, snapping their towels at me calling out “hey nature boy, look at the burning bush!” I further prayed that I wouldn’t pop an erection and be killed. This was counterbalanced by a darker prayer where I would pop and erection and be killed. Either way it was pure undiluted hell. I could hardly wait for gym class to end just to go home and lapse into my dazed adolescent hormonal nod of listlessness and television.

Jake O’Swaggerty lived a few doors away from me, and delighted in tackling me on my own front lawn when I least expected it. He’d pin me down for much longer periods of time when there wasn’t a gym teacher around with a stopwatch. He’d pin me down breathing in my face and holding me in place with his massive toned body. Every part of me hurt—the Indian-burn he’d be giving my wrists and the pulled muscles straining in my helpless limbs. “Say ‘uncle’ ya’ fat little creep!” he’d demand, but I’d refuse. How else could I keep him lying on top of me? Eventually he’d let me go, dimly believing that even though I had no physical strength, I had endurance for whatever he could dish out. The minute I was free I’d run into the house and lock myself in the bathroom and relish the moment privately. Use your imagination.

This went on for several months until Jake O’Swaggerty decided that I was made of tougher stuff than muscle. One day he tackled me from the back pushing my face and belly down into the grass using all his weight and strength to restrain me. He berated me with insults breathing venom into my ear grinding his body into mine to keep me from struggling. I felt a stiffening in Jake’s loins, and he suddenly realized what was happening to him too. He drew back from me and spit down the side of my face, and called me a faggot. He climbed off my back and ran home, never to acknowledge my existence ever again. Just as well, I hate long goodbyes.

Another stylish bachelor displaying his penis extender. Clearly it’s been quite a while since he’s been able to see past his man-belly to have a gander at his own little button mushroom.

But today, relentlessly straight men aren’t by and large, physically fit like Jake O’Swaggerty. Being physically fit has become associated with gayness for so many men. But the dynamic of lording power over someone weaker than themselves hasn’t changed. In my recollections, Jake, the stereotypical jock, while admittedly still young was completely insecure about his masculinity, which is why he was a bully. My effeminate teacher had endured and survived challenges in life few of us could ever begin to understand which are the very things which made him a man. These days men need dangerous toys and inane “stand your ground” laws to bolster their waning stranglehold on the world around them. Which brings me to the point I’m trying to make: I believe that smart and secure men aren’t threatened by the existence of gay people or powerful women. But I suspect that men born with a sense of entitlement and a belief that the world inherently belongs exclusively to their gender, are very unsettled by the increasingly progressive era in which we live. The “old boys club’ is threatened. And nowhere is that threat more evident than in the inevitable emasculation of the NRA. Men have mostly controlled the world throughout history. The word is, after all HIStory and not HERstory. It’s time for that to change. Guns, fast cars and big muscles (or bellies) seem to give some men a false sense of entitlement. Granted, you see a similar dynamic at play in certain women, but nowhere is it more evident than in male mental weaklings who require props like guns, cars and brutish behavior to bolster a subconscious denial that they might not be a real man. A real man is gentle, understanding and tolerant, and therein resides his strength. A real man shows courage in the face of adversity without falling victim to prejudice or false prophets.

A real man (I’m talking to you John Hinckley, Jr.) doesn’t need to shoot Ronald Regan to impress Jody Foster only to discover she’s been gay all along—and he was barking up the wrong tree, even if she’d been straight. A real man will find every possible remedy to avoid violence. Preemptive violence is the sole property of cowards and fools. Beat-up or shoot someone you disagree with, or don’t understand, then you’ve broadcast yourself to be a ‘natural born loser.’ Kill an innocent, and you lose your standing as a man. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi. Now that, was a real man.

– Dissociated Press, 1/22/2013

And now for some gratuitous self-promotion, I have a book coming out in spring.

Follow the blog – http://anearlyworklateinlife.wordpress.com/ and ‘like’ our page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DannyAllenArt?ref=hl

Interview With a Gun-empire: Weighing the Rights of Gun Owners Against the Rights of Innocents to Live Without Fear

When I listened to Wayne Lapierre deliver his illogical disconnected statement to the nation on behalf of the NRA, I seriously wondered if the man realizes that other people also have rights. Specifically  “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Granted it’s a quote from the Declaration of Independence, and not the Second Amendment to the Constitution; it predates the Constitution. If a person thinks that “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” includes shooting innocent school children like using Hummel figurines for skeet practice, then that person is irreversibly sick and has no right to have access to a gun; because killing people decimates the meaning of life, liberty and happiness.

A photograph depicting an example of exceptionally tacky fake wood paneling.

All people are different, and some among us have a more peculiar brain wiring than others. Winnie and Duck have decided to take a brief look at the gun culture in America, keeping in mind that when the Second Amendment was written, the right to bear arms was more than a snappy fashion headline in the Spring/Summer issue of Vogue; they were talking about cumbersome, front loading muskets. Not semi-automatic weapons with extended ammo clips. A good place to start in this brief but admittedly cherry-picked study is Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh doesn’t actually believe a word he himself says. His priority is to stir up the ill-informed and gullible for ratings so that he can remain impossibly wealthy while possessing no talent. He is evil incarnate, and if you believe what he says and take him seriously as a source of accurate information, you’re a fool.

Rush Limbaugh singin’ the blues with ‘jazz hands.’

In his typical inflammatory style, Mount Rushbaugh advised listeners to buy guns: “before Obama outlaws them all.” In reality, prior to the Sandy Hook shootings, the Obama Administration was unusually lenient toward gun laws, but that doesn’t fit in with the mythology Limbaugh wants to promote. “What could a bunch of liberal Democrats worried about guns, talking about using executive orders…? What could it possibly be about? A gun grab,” (alliteration for the illiterate). “So make no mistake: They are planning a gun grab.”

“The Man Who Laughs”

 

Toy guns were a favorite when I was a little boy in the 1950s. The house was littered with them but they weren’t my toys, they were hand-me-downs from my brother. I showed little interest in them, but children ran around in backyards across America with cap-guns, some of them falling down and playing dead, but no one thought much about it. Now, as Wayne Lapierre points out in his own archaic way, films and video games have desensitized the children who play these games. What Lapierre fails to own up to, is the NRA has played a hand in developing those games. So has the United States military. But no matter what you may hear, guns do kill people, yes, at the hands of other people, on purpose and by accident. Lapierre says: “We have blood-soaked films out there, like ‘American Psycho,’ ‘Natural Born Killers’ that are aired like propaganda loops on splatter days.” He went on to say, “There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people through vicious and violent video games.” Yes, and Wayne Lapierre is a part of that culture of big business. Not once did he mention that no one needs multiple round magazines or drums of ammo to kill a deer. The animal would be an inedible pile of ground meat full of shrapnel. There wouldn’t even be anything left to mount on the wall.

Headlines and headlights.

Rapid fire weapons are stock-piled by weird, paranoid survivalists, many of whom hide behind religion and the American flag, espousing the 2nd Amendment while having deep roots in the culture of the American Nazi Party whether they choose to acknowledge it or not. Even as those same people accuse others (like, say President Obama for instance) with no credible evidence of Nazi or fascist sentiments. Survivalists come from a long, rich history of racism and neo-Nazi madness. Read down on this 1965 vintage magazine cover featuring Jayne Mansfield. No, lower. Come on now, lower still. Get past the first couple of headlines and headlights and read the catch-phrase for the story at the bottom of the page. This is a headline about the early neo-Nazi movements that are the precursor to the gobbledygook skewed toward the easily persuaded among us who want to believe the country is out to get their guns.

Ethel Merman impersonating the broad side of a barn.

Annie Get Your Gun was a very popular Broadway musical and film based on the life of Annie Oakley, who herself probably couldn’t sing. She was a one note kinda gal. Toss something in the air, and she’d shoot it, riding backwards standing on a stallion’s back if necessary. Annie Oakley was a feminist in her own right, and a gun advocate, but I doubt she’d have been impressed favorably with firearms that spray the air with deadly projectiles mowing down everything in its path. There’s no skill in that. No talent. No brains, except for the ones splattered on the back wall. In the musical, guns come off as tentatively harmless. Speaking of weapons, Ethel Merman’s voice could shatter glass ten blocks away and cut you, but I doubt she could hit the broad side of a barn with a mallet.

Annie Oakley

The real Annie Oakley was a great deal better looking than Ethel Merman, but nearly everyone is. Annie herself was a thoughtful woman, and unlike the character in the musical, me suspects the lady was likely more attracted to girls than boys. But I digress. Annie offered practical advise that can be applied to any number of disciplines: “Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.” But that was back when sanity was still a virtue.

This is the gayest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

Somewhere along the line, probably after America’s disastrous war for profit in Vietnam, there came a waft of films followed by video games (too many to mention) that centered on revenge fantasies to reclaim our national manhood. Enter the age of Rambo and other stupefyingly violent forms of entertainment of a similar ilk. Rambo was a cliche before the credits rolled on the first monosyllabic moment of the film series. Rambo movies are cluttered with quotes like the following:

“What we’re like is animals! It’s in the blood! It’s natural! Peace? That’s an accident! It’s what is! When you’re pushed, killin’s as easy as breathin’. When the killin’ stops in one place, it starts in ‘nother, but that’s okay… ’cause you’re killing’ for your country. But it ain’t your country who asks you, it’s a few men up top who wan’ it. Old men start it, young men fight it, nobody wins, everybody in the middle dies… and nobody tells the truth! God’s gonna make all that go ‘way?” It’s worth noting that John J. Rambo goes on killing in several more sequels, and appears perfectly delighted to do so.

Sylvester Stallone who played Rambo, has recently had more cosmetic surgery completed, and with a cryogenic body pumped full of steroids, just released a new film with a title so vile I refuse to mention it. But the film’s release was delayed for a month in deference to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As if a delay in the release date was going to make the film any less repulsive. But on a lighter note, for the serious collector, there are still Rambo bobble-head dolls available, complete with a rifle that looks like a very gay butt plug. I’ve seen them advertised but don’t own one personally, the butt plug that is. Who wouldn’t cherish a tiny Rambo bobble-head doll to terrify your Hummel collection?

‘The Journey to the Center of His Mind’ yielded no results.

Any mention of gun nuts and general human confusion would be incomplete without a nod toward Ted Nugent, best known for ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ from which he appears to have never fully recovered. The man whose “Trample the Weak” attitude has an appetite for killing defenseless animals, but claimed to have irritable bowel syndrome as his excuse for not serving in the military during the Vietnam War. Ted and I are roughly the same age. I didn’t serve in the military either, but at least I had the common sense and decency to be an anti-war protestor. Ted clings to guns and Jesus with no clear understanding of either. Nugent, who possesses a limited grasp on reality outside of his own prejudice, was recently quoted about the Obama reelection by saying: “He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country! We are not a democracy!” Ted, like Karl Rove, appears to be still waiting for what he considers to be more a agreeable political outcome to coincide with his own cockeyed worldview.

Just the person we all want locked loaded at the entrance to every kindergarten.

Now that gun violence in America has reached a critical mass (shooting) let cooler heads prevail. Radio talk neanderthal, Alex Jones did everything short of physically assault Piers Morgan on CNN while discussing gun violence in America. Piers is a wee tad effete, but that’s no reason to deport the man nor riddle him with rapid-fire hatred because he asked the same question any talk show host would ask a lunatic trying to justify personal ownership of killing machines.  Jones said: “We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”

Jones, by example did his level best to reinforce the reality that not everyone should own a gun – starting with Alex Jones. Looking at the coterie of confused souls who comprise the “face” of the NRA, I would be embarrassed to be a member. The NRA has lost its way. It’s not a gun-safety public service organization. It’s a lobby for gun manufacturers. A moneymaker, complicit with killing trying to hide the blood on its hands. If the American gun lobby doesn’t want their guns taken away from them, then they better find some more coherent talking heads, and fast. Perhaps it’s time for the feminine perspective, like former NRA president, Marion P. Hammer. Yes, that is her real name.

Marion’s reaction to the Sandy Hook massacre, and the ensuing outcry for banning assault weapons was the following statement: “Banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago.” Excuse me, Ms. Hammer, but that comment doesn’t even make any freakin’ sense. No one is trying to demonize guns for the way they LOOK. It’s what’s being done WITH them that’s the problem. No one is trying to ban guns simply because every spokesperson for the NRA looks eerily similar to a mental case. We’re all sympathetic to the possibility of how that might be a mere coincidence. But crazy is as crazy does. No one is trying to take away personal safety handguns or legitimate hunting rifles. But more guns isn’t an answer, its feeding fuel to the fire. The American people, and through their reelection of President Obama, have spoken. And we’ve had enough of gun violence and mass killings. If the NRA finds Joe Biden’s negotiations to include reinstating the assault weapons ban and mental health checks: There’s a good reason. If Biden’s recommendations involve closing gun show loop holes and reinforcing background checks: So be it. If gun buy-back programs are instituted: It’s not without cause. Irresponsible gun owners have proven time and time again that nothing good has ever come from a gun. Bullets come from a gun, and people aren’t clay pigeons.

- Disassociated Press – 1/14/2013

“Laugh at the devil and the devil will dissolve.”

OK, I Missed Winnie and Duck… Here is a new post of disjointed ramblings barely touching on politics.

I admit it, I missed Winnie and Duck. I don’t have the time to devote to their adventures that I once did, but I was depressed by not allowing myself to escape into their universe of alternative reality. I merely need to ration my time differently. I think it might be best for my mental health to continue doing a WinnieToon from time to time.

I’m in the process of publishing my very first book An Early Work Late in Life. Here is a link to that separate blog: http://anearlyworklateinlife.wordpress.com/ There is also a Facebook Fan Page:  http://www.facebook.com/DannyAllenArt?ref=

The book is due out with advance copies by mid-March of 2013 and with a general release a month or two later (probably May, 2013) but I’ll talk more about that in a later post. My book is entirely unrelated to WinnieToons in spite of there being ducks featured on the cover.

Concurrent to writing a book, I’ve been trying to keep my art client base happy (especially with Christmas gift commissions) while still finding the time to shower. It hasn’t been easy. Nor have I actually showered until very recently. Winnie had a bath for the first time in over a year today, and the house was cleaned for the first time in eighteen months this past weekend.

I’ve been overextended. I’m a painter by training. An artist/painter, not a house-painter, which is more of an honest trade than a creative calling. I paint quickly as artists go. If you’ve ever painted theatrical sets and you didn’t learn how to paint quickly, then you’re not too quick on the uptake. The economy must be improving, because I almost had more commissions than I could handle. What I didn’t have was free time. Forget the money I wasted joining the gym, there was no way I could ever get there.

A contemporary Philadelphia gentleman painted in the “guise” of Casanova as a Christmas gift from his business partners. 20″ x’ 24″ acrylic on canvas artificially aged.

In the month of December I painted several period-style portrait commissions. I painted a panorama of the Grand Canal in Venice, decorated an historic home for Christmas, constructed a light-up paper theater with movable characters in the French style and managed to largely ignore the holidays even while they took place all around me. Mostly I tried to break my addiction to being a political junkie. I’m only half paying attention these days.

Work not withstanding, we’ve all survived the fiscal cliff/curb/bump-in-the-road and smitten the Mayans with their flawed mathematical calendar. Now we’re waiting for the “debt ceiling” and Congress’s very own “take” on flawed mathematics. Still, the economy be damned, I continue to paint everyday as if I were merrily working for tuppence in 1787. I write daily as if all the troubles of this world weren’t really happening. And I fidget like mad if I don’t have enough to keep my mind occupied.

Portrait of a contemporary young man in Regency garb, commissioned by his mother for Christmas. Dudes get dates these days if they can convince young ladies that they’re actually vampires born centuries ago. 12″ x 16″ in acrylic on canvas, artificially aged.

So here I am adding a disjointed post to a blog I intended to close due to a lack of time, but realized that in doing so, WinnieToons was the only sensible outlet in my life that remotely resembled my own definition of personal creative normalcy.

WinnieToons didn’t start out as a political blog, it morphed into one. I used to merely do Photoshoped cartoons of Winnie and Duck cast as Blanch Hudson and Baby Jane, or as Big and Little Edie Beale; when all of the sudden it occurred to me that my country had so completely lost it’s collective mind, that someone had to speak-out. Who better than a duck and a small-game hunting dog to remind our tiny share of the American ear that we’re all are on the verge of a national nervous breakdown. A breakdown that actually started taking shape sometime around the swearing-in of Ronald Regan as our first made for TV president, but gathering critical mass once Baby Bush was given a free hand to destroy the world in his own image.

However, America didn’t start out anywhere near as shit-assed crazy as what we’ve devolved into. The concept of “laugh at the devil, and the devil will fail” has never been lost on me. I’ve always known that laughter has been my personal survival technique. That said, I couldn’t laugh at all through the entire holiday season. I hate the holidays in the best of times, but the events in Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School depressed me so profoundly, I couldn’t find humor in anything. Not until I listened to NRA talking head, Wayne Lapierre have an on-air mini-stroke and then later witnessed pro-gun advocate Alex Jones deliver a deranged, mentally naked out of body experience, that I realized Winnie and Duck still have a great deal more work to do. Reelecting Barack Obama wasn’t our only mission. America still has pot smokers serving time in prison while heavily armed lunatics roam the nation free-range treating real living people as if they’re playing computer games like “Mortal Combat” or “Mafia Wars.” And for some unexplainable reason there are nut-jobs out there who believe violent mental illness is protected by our 2nd Amendment, and rush off to Walmart to by extended ammo clips. What I’m trying to say is, there isn’t anything happening today that’s nearly as comical as Donald Trump endorsing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan; but rather, it’s more a case of there still being fools impacting our world and being taken seriously. What those people really need is to be berated for the imbeciles they really are. (Meaning no offense to clinically diagnosed imbeciles).

The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, 12″ x 24″ in acrylic with oil wash on canvas.

I spend everyday in my little 3rd floor studio listening to the TV as if it were a radio, longing for the past. Not even my own past, anyone’s past, just not the present state of affairs we’re living through. Truth to tell, I often wish I was living in the 18th century – however, I know all too well if I were to get that magical dream-come-true, I’d still be among the impoverished and abused. I know my place in the world.

I’d prefer to be sitting on the Grand Canal, sipping Italian wine but that isn’t in my budget according to my credit councilor. The picture above was painted as a gift for one of my team of terrific lawyers. It takes an Iditarod of lawyers to defend me because I keep getting into trouble largely as a result of getting up in the morning and simply leaving the house. Were it not for the dog, I’d never go outside. So I take sanctuary in painting pictures of Venice and other dreamworld activities. That painting is barely dry as of this posting, and it’s already hanging in my lawyer’s home. There is no reason for a painting like that to actually ever dry, as it is, after all, Venice. I live in a fantasy world because reality is not a viable option if the news I’m consuming on air and online is to be believed.

Double-sided LED lighted classical French paper theater with foosball figures of all the dinner guests in drag as later beheaded historical French figures.

Instead I show up at pot luck dinner parties with other friends who are discontented with contemporary reality, and I bring the centerpiece because no one trusts my cooking. I make vats of rice and beans. I’m indestructible, so if I’m out of olive oil, I use linseed oil, although it does catch fire more easily and will reward you with a stomach ache that lands you in the ER. If I’m out of red wine, Japan Drier is much the same color. My friends know better than to eat my food. I’m only ever assigned the task of creating centerpieces. This year’s Christmas theme was 18th century French cooking. For a centerpiece, I made a light-up French paper theater with paper dolls of all the guests, each of whom entered and exited the stage like Foosball figures. Each guest’s likeness was dressed to resemble one of the Kings or Queens of France, gender notwithstanding. All the figures bore banner sashes announcing the dish they’d prepared for the feast. That dinner is always the highlight of my yuletide. And in spite of the 18th century French theme, all the guests refrained from leading one another to the guillotine after the Yule Log was served.

The sweeping staircase leading to the ballroom at Oaks Cloister, where I spent my New Years Eve hoping to get kissed at midnight by someone who wasn’t carrying the flu.

New Years Eve was spent at a lovely home belonging to the only friends I know who’ve got a ballroom and a separate, free-standing Library wing. Curiously enough, I’m not remotely jealous, because that couple are by nature generous, down to earth, and show no latent signs of morphing into Republicans. At midnight, I was kissed by strangers, and thus far have not come down with influenza, although there’s still time.

The New Years Eve bash is a wonderful annual party, where all the guests, regardless of income level, get to feel like extras in an old Merchant Ivory film. The house is magnificent, and was featured on A&E’s America’s Castles. I’m still waiting for someone to return the glass slipper I left behind, but considering all the foot fetishists in attendance, I’ll probably never see that shoe ever again. Living alone, and having no close family living nearby, my Christmas and New Years Eve parties are the only holiday gifts I receive. But I don’t want to get trapped into a volley of exchanging presents anyway. I can’t afford to get caught up in all that.

Still, everyone needs to do something special for themselves during the holiday season. And my gift to myself was to piss off right to life protestors picketing Planned Parenthood. I suppose I should really be ashamed of myself, but I’m not. I do feel badly for my neighbor who was walking down the street with me when I snapped-out, forcing her to witness my moment of temporary insanity – I completely went off my nut. I was walking past the Planned Parenthood offices at 12th and Locust Streets here in Philadelphia, and kicked down one of the anti-abortionist’s tomato puree, dead lasagna sandwich boards set up on the sidewalk.

Portrait of a Moral Majority Right Wing Christian right to life protestor who believes stem cells should have personhood and voting rights, but congenital idiots need to be armed with semiautomatic weapons.

One of the “men” protesting (they’re always men) came thundering after me, and I just happened to have in my possession, a full, steaming bag of dog-shit that Winnie had just pinched out. I threw it at him and got him square in the face. Unfortunately, the bag did not break. I was cuffed and put into the back of a police car. It was a very stimulating experience, I only wish the cops had been more attractive. Donuts can be so damaging to the figure. When I told the police I’d thrown dog shit at the old fool who’s always on the corner protesting, they laughed, unlocked my cuffs and sent me home. So I still don’t have an official police record, but I am recorded as having “participated” in a disturbance. I won’t be required to go to court. I’m supposed to pretend like I feel contrite. Maybe I’ll wait until lent. The officers only detained me as “window dressing.” It turns out the police can’t stand the anti-abortionist protestors any more than I can.

Twelfth Night has passed. We (by which I mean “I”) are as safely far away from the Christmas holidays as we’ll ever be in 2013. Today’s lapse into stream of consciousness has resolved itself. And it’s time to face a new year ending in the numeral thirteen. Good luck everyone. – Dissociated Press, 1/9/2013