Saturday, December 06, 2008

No Tragic Hipsters

Portly Dyke, writing at Shakespeare's Sister, fired off this letter to The Advocate in response to their "Gay is the New Black" Cover.

"_________ is the New Black" is a phrase meant to infer that something is new or cutting edge. News for you: Oppression is neither new nor cutting edge -- in fact, lateral oppression among and between disenfranchised groups is so old and status-quo that perhaps your cover would be better served with the following slogan: "Same Shit, Different Gays".

In your rush to construct a "clever" cover, perhaps it did not occur to you to completely think through the inferences in your choice of trendy phrase -- which is most commonly defined to mean this: "Blank is the New Black" is used "to indicate the sudden popularity or versatility of an idea at the expense of the popularity of a second idea". Get that?

Which I do. And yet, speaking from my perspective as an ethics blogger who dosen't really concern himself about specific niche groups, I really didn't have a handle on the issue.

For me, an image helps, something that focuses the idea for me. And I found it in the comments threads.

This is where I got my "ahHA!," the point where I realized what was wrong with this picture.

My instinctive rresponse to the Advocate is "please; get OVER yourself." And I'll tell you where it comes from; it comes from the abuse community, various mental heath communities, the places where damaged and broken people come together to commensurate, whine a little, and then learn to get over themselves and cope. Not because there's some grand moral imperative to do so and certainly not at ALL because that's what people who watch Larry The Cable Guy think we SHOULD do, but because the alternate is being stuck, paralyzed and stupid, whining in public.

One of the greatest sins among those trying to cope with their crap is "abuse-sizing;" claiming that the nature and circumstances of their abuse or oppression is ever so much more significant than that of another person belonging to a different group that is oppressed for different reasons.

There is really no intelligent response to this that doesn't involve some mockery; and for two reasons. First, because stuck people need to be slapped out of the things that keep them stuck. And second, because it really doesn't matter what excuses people used to oppress you. After years of poking under rocks and teasing out motivations, I've come to a conclusion that would be clear to more folks if it weren't for precious stunts like this.

There is no difference. Oppressors and abusers do what they do to the people they can isolate, cut out from the herd and torment. They depend on behavior just like this to make it possible. The Advocate has "come out" as being a publication with no interest in actually dealing with the problem - rather, they have siezed upon "being oppressed" as being a means of creating a captive market, a dysfunctional closet filled with potential victims. And you would want to be in that closet, because one is surrounded by a better quality of victim?


We are in a culture war with the same exact peckerheads - peckerheads that collectively make up no more than 30% of the US population, and while I don't have figures, I'm betting that's ballpark for pretty much everywhere. Some places, they have more clout, some places less, but the thing to remember, they are all the same, everywhere, the world over.

However, they pick on three percent here, ten percent there, one in 150 one day, five in a hundred another. Oh, they all have their own pet hates - but the real, core motivation is the same.

They like hurting people. They like having power and abusing it. They like beating queers to death and bragging about it. They like calling autistic people "freaks." They like lynching black people. They like burning down and blowing up and shooting and torturing people who are different from them. They celebrate cutting the clitoris off a screaming eight year old to "keep her pure."

There are all kinds of reasons they give, many justifications and rationalizations - but it's all bullshit. The point is, the existence of a "them" is the only thing that defines them to themselves. Their entire culture depends on defining themselves as not black, not gay, not weird, not strange, not "defective," not sick, not twisted. They think of themselves as normal, and they prove that to themselves by doing their very best to make life as difficult and dangerous as possible for everyone else.

So let us stop enabling these people. I'm calling The Advocate on doing just that. This is not "The Last Great Civil Rights Struggle."




Prop 8.


"Conscience Clauses."

And then there is this immensely stupid, annoying distraction of a "War On Christmas." It's all about 30 percent of the population making war on the rest of us.

Well, we have a small, historic window of opportunity. And a very simple path to victory. All it takes is a loud, unifed, determined "no." An affront to one is an affront to all, and that the sort of person that thinks themselves entitled to abuse and persecute others in the name of Flag, of God, of Politics - that person is a danger to everyone.

If these last eight years have not been lesson enough to us to put an end to this, these thirty percenters will continue to drag us into the killing fields. For literally, there is no difference between prop eight and Krystalknacht, between the killing fields of Cambodia and the voting booths of Kansas. The people who did and would do these things are all the same. The only question is, how far do we let them go; how much do we tolerate? Because those examples show us just how far they WILL go, given the chance. And before there were thugs smashing glass and skulls - there were lots and lots of "minor" transgressions. Like, say, Prop 8. Like, say, Legislation to protect the "consciences" of bigoted busybodies.

I'm fed up right now. I don't need some pinhead pulling a plastic bag over my head in the name of Jeezuz to tell me that I should have paid attention earlier. What about you?

Created for this post:

Big Black No by webcarve
No Tragic Hipsters by webcarve

Thursday, December 04, 2008

We have Been Here, We have Done that....

Been there, done that, still have the PC T-Shirt.Good Conservatives Run The Numbers.
(Maybe we should elect some.)

I am speaking as a former PC member who has just returned from the howling wilds of Reno, Nevada to find this sad state of affairs. It's just too sad and demeaning for words.

The Conservative Party of Canada Came Unto The People of Canada, Whining Thusly:

3,633,185 Liberal

2,515,565 NDP
1,379,991 Bloc
937,613 Green
8,466,354 Total Non-Conservative Votes.

Versus 5,208,796
Total Conservative Votes

The numbers that this video claim to cinch a Conservative mandate add up to a very different message. 3 million MORE voters preferred a different party. The actual popular mandate is "somebody else."

But since there is no agreement on who "somebody else" would be, the leader with the greatest single block of seats supporting him is the leader. It's not a comfortable position to lead from, but the cure is simple: win more seats, or stop whining!

The last election was supposed to accomplish that, I understand. The effort seems to have fallen short of the mark, and one would do well to examine the cause, rather than whine about those about to make use of the effect.

Indeed, Steven Harper is trying to stave off a vote of confidence he would almost certainly lose, and has gone so far as to suspend Parliament in order to buy himself some time to come up with a plan.

This is all explained nicely by Marcus Cyganiak.

The suspension comes during a time of political outrage in Canada. Less than two months ago on October 14, 2008, Stephen Harper was re-elected Prime Minister with a minority government that gained more seats in the House of Commons. Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party had received 37.63% of the elected seats in Parliament, while Stephane Dion of the Federal Liberal Party had accounted 26.24% elected seats, with Jack Layton of the New Democratic Party following up with 18.20%.

Though Dion is resigning from the Liberals in May 2009, he wanted to take one final attempt in a backdoor-like fashion to become Prime Minister of Canada, even if Canadians did not decisively elect him.

So earlier this week it was announced by both Stephane Dion and Jack Layton that a new coalition government was being formed between the Liberals and NDP, which would account a total of 44.44% elected seats under a unified party. That figure would be enough to overthrow Stephen Harper as Prime Minister with his 37.63% elected seats.

Dion, the leader of the new coalition, would ultimately become the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada come Monday, December 8, 2008, the official day where the confidence vote was to take place. It should also be noted that the Bloc Quebecois are also supporting the coalition with their 9.97% elected seats, ultimately making the coalition a majority government.

On Wednesday, during the Prime Minister’s televised address to the nation, Stephen Harper stated that he was going to do everything in his power within the legal helms of the constitution to ensure that the Conservative minority government that was elected by Canadians remains in power.

The Parliamentary suspension was an imperative key motion for Prime Minister Harper because after the forming of the coalition, it was projected that Harper was going to lose the confidence vote.

The confidence vote will still occur; however, not until the suspension is lifted in January. Prime Minister Harper has until then to diligently move forward with presenting a federal budget plan and an economic stimulus package to potentially sway votes of confidence for the Conservatives in January.
It saddens me that such a sharp mind could come to such a dull and predictable conclusion.

We know Prime Minister Harper is passionate with a plan on keeping our economy strong. However, if he has distractions of a coalition government trying to overthrow him, then that would no doubt take him off task of the all-more important work he would have been attending to.

This is where I do not see eye to eye with our Parliamentary system here in Canada. Such a system allows a coalition government to sprout and take a run at overthrowing the Prime Minister with a minority government.
But then, this was actually the first time he voted, and probably like most Canadians, he's got a better idea of how things don't work down there than how they don't work up here.

It is my hope that Stephen Harper remains in power as the Prime Minister of Canada. I voted for the Conservative Party on October 14, 2008 – which as a 19-year old, was my first time voting.
At his age, I was still arguing that Nixon should have burnt the tapes, so I kinda feel all warm and fuzzy. It took me a while to come to the more basic conclusion that having things to hide, that needing to resort to tricks and stratagems - as this most certainly is - is evidence of the level of failure that should disqualify you for leadership; irrespective of party or ideology.

One gains office based on what one may do - one keeps it based on what one has done. And that dynamic is particularly obvious within the Parliamentary Democracies.

Now, here's a single question Canadian Civics Quiz for you:

How many Canadians voted for Steven Harper in the last election?

A: 5,208,796
B: Zero

The Correct Answer: Zero. Zip. Nada. None!

This is CANADA. We do not have a President. We have no democratically elected executive at all.

If you voted, you voted for a preferred Member of Parliament. That MP probably belongs to a political party. But that's not a legal requirement, so far as I know.

Generally, MP's remain aligned with a particular party - but crossing the floor is not unheard of, and sometimes political parties evaporate like water on Mars. You may or may not have heard of the Social Credit Party, or indeed, the Progressive Conservative Party. The usual kiss of death for a Canadian party is when they start believing that their party is more than a tenuous marriage of convenience between peers.

The only loyalty a Member of Parliament properly has is to their constituents.

Members of Parliament vote, act, breathe and believe this fact of life; that all Canadian politics are local.

Successful, ethical parliamentarians place person above party, and work their assets off for any constituent that asks for help, regardless of the stripes on their ties. The party that gets in the way of that duty - well read your newspaper. This is what happens. This is what is SUPPOSED to happen.

So back to our civics quiz. Who elects the Prime Minister? Well, nobody, really. Members of Parliament vote for their party leaders, and the leader of the party able to form a government is stuck with being Prime Minister. I mean, they are privileged to serve at the pleasure of the Queen.

According to the the very standards and traditions of Parliamentary Democracy that Conservatives treasure (save, of course, at times such as this, when American-Style democracy would be far more convenient), the numbers are clearly in favor of a coalition government, should anyone be able to put one together. That being the trick, of course.

In the normal order of affairs, Parliamentary democracy is not unlike trying to drop three hundred odd cats into a sack in the fond hope that the end result will be a cute puppy.

In fact, Parliament is not really about making laws or policy - it's much more a functional representation of the Canadian consensus. The person who is stuck with - I mean, privileged to serve as Prime Minister is as much potential scapegoat as leader of The Free World's Nicest Democracy.

They are the ones tasked with interpreting that consensus; it's a remarkable leader indeed that can stand up to Canada and impose their own vision. They have to make themselves an inspiration OF that consensus; they must be a Trudeau or a Brian Mulroney to pull off that sort of stunt.

Steven Harper reminds me strongly of neither. And had any other leader reminded anyone of either in a positive sense - well, Steven Harper would perhaps be a Minority Leader.

The Conservatives may claim a greater mandate than any other single party. Certainly Steven Harper is still the Conservative Leader, but looking at the numbers, it seems rather like being damned with faint praise. If a vote of confidence is in the wind, a leadership review cannot be far behind.

One might more reasonably look at the election numbers as being relatively large support for all the parties - which could be argued as a mandate for centrist, coalition governance and the product of the various regional identities that make Canada the beaver-laden land of promise that we adore.

There's certainly no mandate for Conservatives to govern as if they DID have a mandate, and it's
certainly not a time for an ad that can be summed up as "we won, you lost, neener neener neener!" Not because it's so very American, and not because it's wrong, not even because it's so very childish, but because it ain't true! Not in a parliamentary system.

If you annoy all the other parties enough, they can join together against you and they can indeed command a mandate. That's not "anti-democratic," that's exactly how the system is designed to work.

Ordinarily it's a technical truth and a practical impossibility for parties with large differneces to make any lasting common cause, but while no opposition leader could inspire a coalition based upon their own policies, visions and merits, Steven Harper may well be reason enough. Because Steven Harper's "vision for Canadians" is a cheap Chinese knockoff of George Bush's vision for Americans.

Go look at again. Good Lord, it's embarrassing!

Steven Harper's vision for Canadians seems to be to turn us all into Kansans. Or at least, it seems presumptive of that degree of smug ignorance of our own best social and economic issues. At a difficult and complex time in history, a time that may well force Canada into the very first rank of world powers whether we like it or not, we need to be offered more than what looks suspiciously like an Air Farce Graphic.

If Conservative policies create conditions wherein two or three party leaders feel they must set their own leadership ambitions aside for a time - Harper is toast. And he certainly seems fixated upon creating those conditions.

When I click through to the Conservative party page - I see a vision for Canada that has been obviously shaped by an out of work Republican political consultant. Now, when you hire a consultant - you really ought to think on why they ARE out of work.

Yes, that's the leadership Canada needs; Bush Style Conservatism. Ask Kim Campbell how well that sort of advice worked out for her. Come to think of it, ask John McCain. And he FIRED better people than this!

Well, the same sort of advice gets you ads like the ones you see above and websites like this.

Were I inclined to create a parody site aimed at mocking the Conservative party - it would not appear greatly different. Indeed, not very different at all.

Considering the public relations climate and the sea-change down south, it doesn't seem to speak toward a realistic appreciation of political reality on the part of Conservative party leaders.

Do the math. Understand the facts the numbers tell you. Stop whining and do something about it.

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy No Bush!

No Bush Dog T-Shirt
No Bush Dog T-Shirt

There are many reasons to celebrate this coming US Inaugural, many of them truly transcendent; the first Black President - and the first male president to come within a whisker and a prayer of losing to a female candidate. Glass ceilings shattering in all directions!

On the other side, there was the Ron Paul Revolution - and it's a whole new political movement. Indeed "paultards" are probably going to form the core of the next legitimate Right of Center party in the US. As far as the Republicans - well, they are the party of foolish candidates, false promises and faulty premises. I think the Whigs were in better shape when they circled the drain.

So part of Bush's Legacy may well be the end of the Republican party and all that it became in the name of St. Regan of Trickle-down. That is a good thing, because conservatism is about economics, and economics is based on numbers and those numbers have to add up at the bottom of the balance sheet. If they do not, you are not a conservative, you are a fraud, a fool or a Social Conservative."

The problem with Social Conservatives is that they aren't interested in conserving anything worth having, and are willing to impose endless costs and pain upon third parties in order to benefit their own conservative religious dogmas.

Well, I think I speak for a lot of folks when I say - get your grubby paws off my junk, stop leering at my daughter's tits and get the HELL of my property.

Indeed, that might just be the explanation for Obama's "Mystifying" victory that still has the professional right-wing bloviators talking in circles.

Then there was the amazing sea change in the election process itself; after two elections in a row being slimed and stolen, the american people rose up on their hind legs and took the process back to themselves, with a combination of grassroots activism and Internet-driven fund-raising. One of the major tools used by activists of all stripes is the one I'm linking to here. Cafepress emerged in this election as the political print on demand community, and the go-to place for the hottest political trends expressed on shirts, nearly instantaneously.

I think I speak for all Cafepress shopkeepers when I say - what the hell do I do now?

My Cafepressing started in 2001 and it's been all anti-bush, all the time. Who do I pick on now? Must I start drawing puppies and kittens? My wife suggests fairies and landscapes. I will try, but it feels so... cynical. Even a little depraved.

I was thinking on this as I was cleaning and rearranging my shop, looking at old designs, some that sold well, some that never sold at all. I was about to toss my "no bush" out along with them when I realized that until bush is officially out of office it still has meaning.

Indeed, if I had tickets to the inaugural and any intention of crossing the border any time in the near future - I'd wear one of these designs.

All hope and change aside, that's the most important thing to celebrate.

The final, formal end to eight years of the worst misrule ever suffered by the people of the United States. And let's remember, he may be laying low, but he still ain't gone and he still has that red button. Let's not get all complacent here.

Still, I think it's worth hanging on your tree if you can afford one this year. Indeed, I think it's an important heirloom of the future; a tangible reminder of an "interesting time" we cannot afford to leave unmarked. I speak for millions when I say I have paid far too high a price for the promises and the failures of George W. Bush, due to the actions of the Bush administration, it's economic, health and education policies; all of the things things that led to our personal financial meltdown and run for the border.

So I'm gonna celebrate. I'm gonna celebrate the fact that I escaped with my wife and my life; I'm going to celebrate what is a huge victory in a war that is not yet complete, but no longer one I'm so personally invested in. Those are my personal joys, but there are many more globally good things just around the corner that could not and would not happen if we had allowed four more years of "Like Bush, but older."

Let us celebrate the humilition of the corporate greed mongers coming to us with caps in hand (well, at least to congress) begging for help and forgiveness.

Personally, my answer is no; why throw good money after bad?

Let us celebrate the confluence of technology and need to fix our energy deficit once and for all, while making the world a greener and better place to live. Let's start on that new vision by getting rid of those who can't see the point to a new approach to our core economic ventures even when they are forced to sit on it and squirm.

And if there are a lot of auto workers out of work and parts makers looking for cars to make parts for - well, that's an opportunity, not a problem. We need money and capacity to fix these problems and they must be made available to those who have a better plan than "well, help us stay afloat while we think of something."

Instead of congress funding a bailout of the bad old companies, let us invest heavily in something worth having - a line of cars built well, in north america that are as safe, as green and as efficient as possible, that run on electricity, natural gas and other alternate fuels and which are every bit as fun to own and drive as anything ever made by Detroit. There ARE such companies. I wonder what we might see if they were to take over the capacity and workforce so badly misused by the fatass idiots who brought us the Hummer.

The big three are not the solution. They are the problem. They don't deserve forgiveness, much less a handout. And if you are an economic conservative - such as myself - you don't believe that those who invested blindly in such an obviously short-sighted corporate plan (if one may use the word very loosely indeed) deserve any more consideration. We need to preserve the workforce and the skills, so if anyone needs a bailout it's the auto workers themselves. So, unemployment, so they stay in detroit. Investment in retraining programs - so they can learn new skills important to new, green products. Laying up cabon fiber. Working on Cad/Cam lines that are essentially "assemble on demand" propositions.

And let's not forget the idea that we need lots more mass transit. Ideally mass transit that will take you AND your personal vehicle from here to there.

Detroit set itself up in competition with mass transit, it went to WAR with mass transit. Well, we can't afford that attitude any more. And besides, we deserve the best of both instead of what we ended up with, the worst expression of each.

These businesses made choices that contributed a great deal to the energy crisis we are living with now. WE have to take a great deal of responsibility too, but part of that is to give up our preference for the big Detroit penis and to stop flinching at the idea of "appropriate technology." Appropriate technology doesn't mean "settling for less," it means "using the right tool for the job." Big, petrolium fueled cars and livable cities are uncomforable bedfellows at best.

That's not to say that we should have to give up powerful vehicles. It means not wasting their operational life on going to the corner for a carton of milk. We need to demand cars that work for the things we actually do most often, and do those things as well and economically as possible.

That doesn't mean settling for less - it means having more options and more money. The best and cheapest way to save money, fuel, anything at all is to not waste it in the first place.

All these changes will come because they have to. It's time. It's like when the railroads came, all at once, all around the world. It's not a question of whether, all we have to say about it is how.

But the symbol of all this change is a man; a man who did all he could to delay, deny, defeat and discredit truth and common sense, and who came to symbolize all that that was wrong about American values; the greed, the pettiness, the lies, the spite, the xenophobia, the willful stupidity, the abysmal ignorance, the distrust of the intellectual heavy lifters that are going to have to fix things.

He came to symbolize a great many things and ideas that need change if the United States, and indeed, rather large chunks of the rest of the world are to survive to the middle of the century without a major war or seven. Fortunately, he's SUCH a good example of all that is stupid and so consitant in picking the single worst expression possible of his economic, social and political philosophies that he can be credited (if this can be called a credit) for making the Great Failure obvious.

So let's celebrate the excremental abyss we have begun to climb out of and seize upon the first best thing of a shiny new era. All politics aside... we can join in celebrating the most important change of all: NO BUSH!!!

It's a special gift from Santa; a plasma HD for the soul. And if it's all that some of us can look toward getting under the tree we will not erect - it's still a damn fine thing.

Reality, "realisms" and ethics.

A darned interesting article by by: Marc Ash leads to this conclusion

t r u t h o u t | The Threat of Realism:


The debate in Washington right now is defined by what media pundits have taken to labeling as 'Realism.' As is the case with any 'ism' it has man-made borders. The cornerstones of this brand of realism appear to include:

- A notion that it is an American birthright to lead the world, and profit by doing so.

- A notion that the US can maintain over 700 military bases worldwide and not unify the world in opposition.

- A notion that an Iraqi government, or any government orchestrated, protected and funded by US occupiers can someday be sovereign.

- A notion that the occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan can end well.

Those are clearly false, unsustainable and quite dangerous realisms.
Indeed they are. And they are long-standing ones; as Marc Ash points out, the question as to which "side" was right in the US dispute with Cuba (and the larger struggle with various anti-American/anti-imperialist movements) is somewhat beside the point. The more useful and important question is this; what got us to the point where a nuclear showdown over a tobacco and gambling enterprise seemed like a good idea.

I grew up in the US, so I have to tell you that finding out what was really behind all of that was not easy. The issues are cloaked in ignorance and idiology. Nor do I doubt that of the other side; the Marxist cant of Castro and Che tended to conceal for everyone involved that the issues involved were not at all idiological. They were not even abstract manifestations of human rights.

And when the demagogues hauled out words like "The Free Market" and "Capitalism" and "Communism" and "Imperialism" - even before they got to the insults designed to motivate their respective power bases, well, the end result was nothing good for anyone.

I point to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the history leading up to it because it's relatively accessible and because it's an expression of basic US Foreign Policy that has not fundamentally changed in my lifetime. And sadly, the rhetoric of Hugo Chavez is not very different from that of Che or Castro because that side of the coin hasn't changed much either.

The problem is not one of economic systems; both capitalism and communism - socialism as well; all these systems can and do work rather well when applied intelligently by the professionally minded to situations they are suited to with the goal of maximizing gain for all. In other words, they need to be applied ethically, with the goal that everyone involved is better off at the end of the day by participation within the system than they would be by opposing it.

Or in other words, the goal of any sane government, any sane approach to foreign policy, any sane approach to avoiding expensive drama in any human context is to avoid approaches that are known to create opposition and will tend to create a highly motivated pool of pissed off individuals willing to act politically, economically and violently with the aim of frustrating your goals.

This has the effect of sharply limiting the goals one may legitimately aspire to. Oh well. It has been my observation over many years that accepting and working within limitations tends to boost creativity and generally produces better outcomes than plans that admit no limitations at all. For ideas that accept no human, practical, economic or ethical limitations simply do not fit into any human context. That means that some degree of violence will be required to make them work at all.

And aside from the ethics - it's metaphorically identical to having a furnace that must be firmly addressed with a sledgehammer in order for the feed auger to move coal into the firebox. The proper way of addressing this problem is not to sanctify the office of auger-banger, nor to devote great attention and effort to building better sledgehammers. The problem is that you are trying to heat your house with a hundred-year old coal fired furnace that was badly designed to start with and which has not improved with age.

Rip it out, recycle it and install something that works. This is what ethics tells us; that we must not invest ourselves in institutionalizing wrong answers. That creating an edifice of institutional justification for wrong actions will not make the action right - and all mysticism aside, wrong actions lead to undesirable outcomes, every single time, and almost by definition, at a cost that is exponentially higher than doing it right in the first place.

So instead of "realisms," worldviews in which "men of the world" take for grated that the actions of Great Men and the Legitimate Aspirations of Great States will lead to vast numbers of enemies, internal opposition and economic dislocation for the "lusers," we should take for granted that any person that takes those things for granted is dangerously, obviously and provably wrong.

CF: Cuba, Afghanistan (History, International, Military, Year Dot to Date), Carpetbaggers, The War of Northern Aggression and The Decline And Fall of the Roman Empire.)

It takes a good deal of willful blindness to look at the situations, history and people behind these conflicts and celebrate the outcomes as being the proper outcome of any defensible plan or legitimate, desirable outcome.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My wife says it better. I can't be too proud to beg.

I hate feeling needy, vulnerable and scared. It makes me feel literaly crazy, and it's why I sent the last post out in the universe, begging for business.

But my wife deserves someone who won't let his pride get in the way of doing the right thing.

Canadian Communique ~ Letters to my son: want, need and necessity:

So, what are actual necessities?
Love, connection, and hope.
Enough nutrition to live, enough warmth to not get frost bite, air and water. But mostly love, connection and hope.

On those days when I'm feeling connected to others, feeling loved and able to love, and feeling even a smidgen of hope, I'm okay. And Okay is a good thing right now!

The problem is, that currently, there is no certainty that we will be able to afford enough ramen, heat and water to make it. Not when we add tobacco to the small list of necessities. Yes, I know, tobacco should be more on the need or perhaps want list. In any version of objective reality, it should not be on any list at all. But, with our current circumstances, lack of other medications, battling depression and anxiety, living in more of a survival mode than I have ever experienced before... tobacco is on the necessity list. At least for now. (more on that in our Tobacco Hanukkah Miracle post)

Any way, current circumstances make hope a hard thing to hold on to. Perhaps I need to replace it with faith! (I'll do a rant on that soon too.)

So, given current circumstances:
  • New town, no local friends or support
  • No medications
  • Truly scary financial situation
  • Lack of sunshine
  • Upcoming holidays which will need to go unrecognized
How can one hold hope?
I dunno.

Right now the rent is overdue. It's a technical glitch that's adding to my stress levels on top of the fact that paying the rent will reduce us to pocket change and lint. So, if you are in a position to buy a t-shirt... please do.

There's also my last post... and finally, I'm not too proud this month to take donations. As much as I wish I could afford that luxury, I'm in need of charity.

And if the only charity you can afford is to thumb this up on stumbleupon or forward this post to friends who you think might be interested in my artwork... every little bit helps. Fifty cents or a dollar will buy me quite a few ad impressions on project wonderful and the more ways I can offer the universe a chance to come up with a Christmas Miracle - the better.

The Last Minute Christmas

I've pretty much given up on blogging this season. Between Nov 1 and Jan 1, I'm pretty much useless. I've gotten several things half written - and when I can edit them properly, they will be half as long, or less.

You may thank me now.

So I'm trying to use this time wisely and well, in hopes of being able to delight my wife with something pretty.

My mind seems to work seasonally, and right now I'm in a highly visual mode. I can barely make sense in words. So I'm starting a tradition, belatedly. From now on, this season will be devoted to art and photography. Oh, and there's another crass, commercial reason. Without some money, this season will suck abnormally hard. I would like to buy my wife a few shiny things, I'd like to cook a nice Christmas dinner, maybe even have some folks over.

I'm hoping that my needs and yours may congrue - and I'm hoping that in working on your photos, some of the happy might rub off. :)

So let's get started.

I have a lot of trouble bragging about my abilities, but I'm pretty good with a graphics package. I've kind of specialized in taking bad photos and turning them into great art. It's not JUST because I tend to take interestingly bad photos myself. It happens that when you take a blurry, over-compressed photo and start applying filters, amazing things can happen. I'm not always sure what I can pull out of a photo, but I can promise it will be worth hanging on your wall.

Here's one of my absolute all-time favorites, shown as I'd want it framed. Of course, that's all up to you.

Fae in the Fernwoods print
Fae in the Fernwoods by webcarve
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Now, if that happens to be the perfect gift for someone you have in mind, great! I've set it up so that you can even add a custom inscription. Heck, if you like, I might even be able to create a fairy to add to the image, if you have an image I can start from.

But it's getting late, we have all been procrastinating and there might not be time for this to be created, printed and shipped.

But that is not actually a problem, thanks to the magic of email and home photo-printers. If you have a photo-printer, your butt is totally saved. All you have to do is send me the image you want turned into art, tell me how big it needs to be to fit the frame you are going to run out and buy right now, and whether the paper you plan to print it on will be gloss or matte.

Yes, it matters. Trust me, I'm a professional.

Now, how much? Well, I'd like to be busy, I like having stuff to work on - but see above. And it is going to be a solid day's work. Send $200 (US) (per subject) to via paypal. Make sure that you include all the information I need in the message there and also send the actual image(s) as an attachment.

I will do my absolute level best to turn this around within the day, so that you will have as much lead time as possible. Now, 200 bucks is not a lot for what you are getting - which is a digital original. But wait, there's more!

What you are getting is the image burned to disk - possibly several versions, if I have variations that are too good to toss. I'll send that to your physical address. This will serve as the "provenance" that makes this an original work of art. But that's for later. I will email the original to you even before I've done that, so you can slam it into the printer, or download it to a thumb-drive and run to Wal-Mart to print, frame and wrap an 8x10.

That way, you will have something worth giving, but what makes it special - aside from the speed - is that you have the option of taking that image and printing it out via the service of your choice on canvas, say, with a better frame than you are likely to score at an all-night drug-store.

You will also find an html page included on that disk with pointers to the various services and products that I think would work best for your image.

Obviously, I have to take commissions in order and the quicker you click the button the more options you will have.

Oh, and I've given you two options. You can send me the image, or you can just give a gift certificate for this service, an absolutely non-lame option.

The advantage of doing this is that I'll be able to take a little more time to work with your friend, and I promise, I will go the extra mile to thrill the heck out of them.


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