Archive for July, 2010

Do you think this mask makes me look fat?

This is The “Writer”. Besides being my alter-ego he shares this blog with me. Lately he has been pitching a fit about the amount of time and space I am devoting to TAH. To shut him up I am including this picture of him I found near my computer. He is proudly displaying his brand new get-up. I know, it’s pathetic. But I have to humor the poor old guy. After all we do share a brain and this blog, so we have to try and get along. He’s been in an agitated state recently. Something about the Illuminati on the move again. Hopefully seeing his ridiculous picture will placate him for a while. I promise not to mention him again or let him onto this part of the blog. Poor old sod, fancies himself some sort of superhero. Back to reality first thing tomorrow. My sincere apologies for the interruption of relevant material.

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Trenton asleep.

This is Trenton. He’s two years old and a student at “Loving and Learning”, a combination infant/toddler and preschool center, owned and operated by Ms. Teri Foster, a close personal friend of mine. Since she is one of the “Secret Seven” readers of my blog, and since I have a degree in Early Childhood Education, I sometimes fill in for a teacher who’s ill or has an important appointment. My duty today was to watch toddlers sleep. Although it is fascinating and demanding work, I found time to do this pencil sketch of Trenton.

I really don’t know that much about Trenton other than he’s cute, energetic and happy. With my years of training I can tell that Trenton will grow up to be some sort of celebrity, so even though he is already pretty amazing he will only get more so with a few years under his belt. I have no problem with his being included here. By the way, he often sleeps on his tummy with his hind end stuck up in the air much like I did as a child. That is a definite predictor of excellence.

Listen to the beauty

This sketch in no way depicts the beauty of Majora Carter, the African-American environmental justice advocate and economic consultant from the Bronx. I think you have to see her move and speak to get the full impact. This morning I visited the “Democracy Now!” show for the first time in a while and was fortunate enough to catch part of a speech she made at a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference in Las Vegas in 2006. I laughed, I cried, I marvelled at her speaking skills.

“Newsweek” has named her one of “25 To watch” and one of the “century’s most important environmentalists”. You can still catch the speech on the “Democracy Now!” website. Check her out!

He was a mongrel too.

When I was a kid we used to visit Castillo de San Marcos, a fort built by the Spanish when Florida belonged to Spain (construction started in 1672). My favorite part of the tour of this famous St. Augustine tourist attraction was when the guide led the group up many stone stairs to the highest level of the fort and a small dark cell with only one tiny window carved out of the coquina (rock formed by the compacting of tiny shells over centuries), high above the floor of the cell. The guide would then tell of the famous Seminole chief, Osceola, and how he was deceitfully captured under the supposed protection of a “white flag” of peace. He was imprisoned in that very room. During the next few weeks, the feisty Seminole fasted to slim down to a size which would enable him to squeeze through the eight inch window. He fashioned a rope out of some unspecified material and when the time was right, made his escape. Then it was just a matter of swimming the moat, evading the gators and a 25 mile walk through mosquito and snake-infested swamp and it was home cookin’. I loved that story.

This here is a chickee.

When I was a kid there was a Mississippi-style riverboat that took tourists up and down The Intercoastal Waterway from a station in West Palm Beach. At the station was a chickee (thatched Seminole dwelling) where a couple of Seminole women would use old-time foot pedal sewing machines to make beautiful shirts, skirts and jackets, made from alternating strips of brightly colored fabric. Now even that sad remnant of a tribe that defied subjugation by Spanish, English and American invaders for centuries, is gone.

Osceola packed an awful lot of excitement into his thirty-four brief years. He refused to get with The Great White Father’s program which caused him  no end of grief. He found it necessary to dispatch a few “white eyes”, and eventually died in captivity when he contracted malaria. His exploits have been celebrated in film, books, poetry, art and music. I just wanted to add this little tidbit of interest: Osceola was a mongrel like me. His mother was part Muscogee and part Scottish. His father was reportedly an English trader.

I could never afford one of these cool shirts.

"I'm so pretty!

Two of my favorite guys are the only guys who have said, “I’m so pretty!” and truly lived up to it. One of them, Richard Penniman, is depicted (left) in a serene moment, a boy and his process. Already the manic gleam, not yet full blown, but plenty enough to get me upset in a good but mysterious way at 12 years old. There was something so raw and powerful in those legendary old recordings. I loved to see that newest yellow and black Specialty label, couldn’t wait to flop another Little Richard pulse pounding electric performance on my trusty 45 spinner and get his New Orleans Jungle Boogie going. Big talk for a pre-pubescent rocker, huh?

The other is Muhammad Ali. He would definitely be on my to-do list, if I had one. Remember, this is a totally random process.

My slogan is (and feel free to use it if you live far away):  “Float like a jellyfish, sting like a jelly fish.” I know, not very catchy, but that’s how I roll.

Billing myself as Little Wretched, I shamelessly imitated my hero at an 80s Halloween gig.

I realize that appearing in blackface may be interpreted as racist behavior. But, in this instance nothing could be further from the truth. I absolutely idolize Little Richard and this event was my attempt to be him for an evening. It was fun! Ooh, my soul! Shut up!

Bonus sketch! Gojira (AKA, Aldo) sticking his head out of the car window.

Blowin' In The Wind

One sexy grandma.

Maybe this is a minority opinion but I don’t think Yoko Ono had much to do with “The Beatles” breaking up. I can understand that seeing a bandmate undergo a soul connection with an inscrutable Asian woman could be a bit distracting for a musician, but hardly enough to precipitate such critical discord. I think everyone in the group had different things they wanted to try, and some of these things wouldn’t work with “The Beatles” format. They wanted to play with other guys, follow another guru, write a book, bang a gong, dig a pygmy of a totally different ordure.

I actually like Yoko. She does a considerable amount of good (check out her website: imaginepeace.com) and nothing truly evil that I’m aware of. There are many kinds of art that I like alot more than hers. My tastes run more toward Lurid Surrealism, as seen in the work of Robt. Williams, way over at the other end of the Artistic Spectrum.

She likes Peace. Who doesn’t (besides those who profit from War)? I like Peace, don’t you?

But if I was a captured spy, you would only have to play about two minutes of early Yoko vocals and I would divulge every secret I knew (forget waterboarding). Some of her later kid-friendly vocals are reasonably pleasant. I used them as background music at my Kindergym classes in a past life.

See, I can be nice to the right billionaires. And besides, she’s one sexy Grandma. At least in my sketch, n’est ce pas?

"Nature Boy", Eden Ahbez

Born in 1908 as George Alexander Aberle, this Proto-Hippie walked the streets of LA with long hair, beard and sandals, decades before his “modernday” counterparts. He wore white robes, lived simply on veggies, fruits and nuts, and claimed to exist on only three dollars a week. Not a lot even in the forties and fifties. He made his “home” camping out beneath the first “L” in the Hollywood sign.

In the forties through the sixties he made a living as a song writer and recording artist. And that’s how he caught my ear. I’ve always loved the song which made him famous, “Nature Boy”. He wrote and published it in 1947.

The most successful version of the song was recorded by Nat King Cole in 1948, but many other stars have covered it through the years and it has become a Jazz staple of sorts. Here is a partial list of others who have recorded or performed the song in major venues: Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Cher, Grover Washington Jr., Celine Dion, Yma Sumac, Dick Haymes, and “Vanity”.

The sketch was done from one of his album covers.

“There was a boy. A very strange enchanted boy…”