Live And Let Kneel

“We use that flag to sell mattresses and beer. We wear it as a swimsuit. We wrap our bald head in a bandana and stick it in our pants because we disrespect that flag everyday.”

These words from Dale Hansen (sportscaster and Vietnam veteran) echo the thought I’ve had for years on the subject of the American flag. The flag is not meant to be a product or a prop. That’s why I don’t wear anything meant to appropriate the American flag (that’s also why I don’t wear anything that appropriates military camouflage).

All this noise about kneeling or standing in the NFL is just the by product of another prop for a product. The teams were in the locker rooms during the anthem until eight years ago. In 2009, the NFL brought the players out for the anthem basically to be a prop for their product. It was a marketing strategy made in order to make the players (and the league) look more patriotic. The Department of Defense and the National Guard also payed the NFL for permission to stage on-field patriotic ceremonies to increase military recruitment.

Don’t be played by the sideshow. The first amendment IS first for a reason. Live and let kneel.

Working On Something Big

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It’s my summer break and as I promised myself, I’m at work in my studio more often. Perhaps I should I say, fighting in my studio. Because I’m fighting myself at every turn. Making art is a battle. A good battle to have, but still a battle nonetheless. My creative energy as well as my physical energy have severe peaks and valleys throughout the day. More often than not, I’ll have creative outbursts followed by moments of fatigue. My confidence level can fluctuate greatly throughout a day in the studio too. At times, I’ll feel that my ideas and instinctive abilities are strong. Then in a moments notice I’ll feel indecisive, unconfident and almost insecure about my progress. Almost like I’m stuck in quicksand. At these times, I will even need to walk away and close my eyes for a few minutes.

These days I have been waging some big battles in the studio. I’ve been working on something big. Both literally and figuratively. Stay tuned for more images and other notes about my progress.

This Goes Way Beyond Stupid

This goes way beyond stupid, it’s a truly tragic failure on many levels. A nine year old girl shoots off an Uzi, easily loses control of the weapon and kills her instructor. Her asshole parents film the entire “learning experience.” This poor girl has to live with this tragedy for the rest of her life. She has to live with these assholes as her parents too. Assholes that thought this was a good idea in the first place.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28948946

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Professional Development

Well, hello. I made it to June in one piece. So much happening at once, I was wondering how I’d make it through. That’s why there hasn’t been a post in almost a month. No recovery time for me. I’ve got a work meeting to attend and paperwork to turn in. Painters, landscapers, an electrician and real estate agents will all be at my house sometime today. Then – I become a Feng Shui Master for a couple of days as I make this place look arranged.

Regardless. It’s time for me to reset the dial and get fully back on track. In this profession, that’s just one of the millions of things that get done over Summer Break, which is only really a break from the classroom and grades.

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This Is What A Stupid Idea Looks Like

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This statue of Kurt Cobain is a stupid idea for dozens of reasons. However, I’d like to focus on three of them in particular.
1. Why would the city of Aberdeen, WA choose to honor it’s most famous citizen (and most famous critic) in this manner?
2. Why would the city of Aberdeen, WA think that fans of Nirvana would flock to their city for something like this. Especially because its very existence is completely in contrast to the mission of the band and the struggles with fame that Cobain experienced.
3. Why is he crying and playing an acoustic guitar?
My answer to all three questions is the same. It’s because there were not any Nirvana fans or anyone with a significant knowledge on the life of Kurt Cobain involved with the project. This is an assumption, but I feel safe in making it.

Milwaukee, WI: Home Of Universal Knowledge?

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One of the men arrested in this case was named Universal Knowledge Allah. Who knew the home of Universal Knowledge was Milwaukee, Wisconsin?!? This world is strange, tragic and amazing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/us/stolen-stradivarius-violin-may-have-been-recovered.html?_r=0

The linked article is about how, just recently, a 299 year old violin was stolen from the owner as he carried it in it’s case. A tazer was used to commit the crime and the microprinted pieces of discharge helped like the weapon to the criminal. Nice. Let’s see if anyone adapts that technology to other weapons like guns. Doubt it. Because in that instance, the will does not equal the way.

Lionel Stitchie

I’m just giving some credit where credit is due. I was browsing the headlines and discovered this story about an artist that stitched Lionel Ritchie lyrics into abandoned furniture. Well, it turns out I know this artists! It was the work of my friend Molly Evans, a college radio buddy from back in the day. Molly was also a DJ at SCAD Radio in Savannah years ago.

This art made me smile. Thanks Molly!

http://www.ignant.de/2013/12/10/lionel-stitchie-by-molly-evans/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/16/lionel-stitchie_n_4442299.html?utm_hp_ref=arts

The Fraudster

Tell me where you’ve heard this before. Rand Paul is a fraud. You’ve heard it from me, dozens of times. This plagiarism story is just the latest and greatest reason why this guy is not a serious member of our government. Rand Paul is not ready for prime time and probably never will be, regardless of whatever any libertarian bandwagon rider will tell you.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20131106/OPINION01/311060062/1016/OPINION/Editorial-Sen-Rand-Paul-agiarism

These days, there aren’t many truly serious politicians in the spotlight. In fact, most of the serious politicians don’t usually seek the spotlight. Many of our elected leaders preserve an appearance of seriousness, but for the most part, they don’t give a fuck about anything but themselves. Because he is such an awful politician, Rand Paul is one of the worst offenders.

Rand Paul is an ass clown. High school students have a better understanding of what constitutes plagiarism. His rationalization of his actions are completely ignorant overall. Rand Paul (or his weak-minded staff) has repeatedly lifted large passages of other peoples words and entered them into his speeches where Paul brazenly read them verbatim. Not only is that lazy sloppy work, it’s plagiarism! End of story.

Listen to any of the interviews where Rand Paul defends himself against the allegations. His sense of entitlement is astounding. Beyond that, as an educator, it makes me sick to hear him blame the “haters and hacks” for calling out these kind of baffling high school level mistakes. For some reason, he even pulled out the duel reference, wishing he could challenge those making these allegations to a duel. For real?

Does Rand Paul even understand what plagiarism is? Seriously, among other things, he was reading from Wikipedia! Perhaps his cognitive dissonance towards plagiarism is the reason he can simultaneously be a hardcore libertarian and a social conservative. To me, this is logically unacceptable and results in a paradox I have little patience with.

Tell me where you’ve heard this before. Rand Paul is a fraud.

The Protection Racket

Many of you have enjoyed the piece of mind that comes with having the same doctor for years.

Many of you have received top notch care whenever you needed it, regardless of the circumstances.

Many of you are forever grateful for the expertise of medical professionals during the moments in life that are literally life and death.

Many of you have medical risks or have loved ones that do and that positive personal experience helps you take comfort in the likelihood that life-threatening changes will be quickly detected and treated with the greatest of concern.

The health care insurance industry as it exists in the United States is nothing more than a protection racket. I’m thinking of the neighborhood thug collecting protection money but in a systematically synchronized manner. Health care professionals know that health insurance for profit is the reason why our health care is inefficient on numerous levels and NOT the best care in the world.

At this moment, my cousin Theresa is very sick. She has been in the hospital since last Thursday (10/17). She has a hard time speaking and has a steady fever of 102 degrees. The medical team is working hard to figure out what is wrong with her. However, yesterday they moved her out of the Intensive Care Unit without a clear diagnosis of her condition!

Would I be a skeptic if I thought Theresa was moved out of the ICU without a diagnosis in part because she is poor and been on Medicaid and on and off of welfare for a long time?

Would I be a skeptic if I thought this played a role in why someone would ask Theresa’s husband if she was like this (in this condition) often?

Would I be a skeptic if I felt that whatever is wrong with her right now may be (in a small but not indirect way) be a result of years of waiting all day at Cook County Hospital to see her doctor when she needed to?

Would I be a skeptic if I were more concerned for her life than others because she has never experienced the quality of health care many of you have?

The Republican Party Will Soon Be History

For the last 10 years, anyone willing to listen, has heard me say the Republican Party is on a collision course with itself. Slowly but surely the GOP is falling apart. The marriage of convenience between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives has eroded beyond the point of return. Stay tuned. It’s still going to take some years to actually happen, but it will happen.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115134/gop-death-watch-final-days-republican-party

Art & Narcissism

No one cares about what the artist makes more than the artist that made it. Therefore, some narcissism is required just to make art. Then it’s required for survival in the creative world. Without it, the artist would never have the guts to put themselves out there for the world to notice (or ignore).

http://hyperallergic.com/87229/want-to-be-an-artist-try-a-little-narcissism/

Enduring Operation Enduring Freedom

There is a lot heavy stuff going down in the United States these days. The increased stress and tension level we all feel is perpetuated by the incompetence, indecision and dysfunction in Congress. In addition, we are also a nation continuously at war. Unfortunately, our collective consciousness of war is fading away. In case you didn’t know, our nations longest war, the Afghan War, started its thirteenth year today. Operation Enduring Freedom was officially launched on October 7, 2001.

All the dicking around instead of governing Congress is doing these days makes me wonder if they actually forgot the fact that we’re still a nation at war? Perhaps it’s more like a highly selective memory that has been disrupted by their own shutdown.

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/07/anniversary_of_an_endless_war/

How Dare You Enforce The Shutdown I Voted For!

Tonight I featured the legendary garage punk band Mudhoney on my radio program, the Fuzz Factory (http://fuzzfactoryblog.wordpress.com). One of the Mudhoney songs I played was a new song called Douchebags On Parade. I dedicated it to the GOP, who continue to grandstand while positioned in a circular firing squad. Almost all politicians act like douchebags on parade on a regular basis. However, today, on day three of the 2013 government shutdown, the douchebaggery was kicking on all cyliners. Specifically I am referring to the ignorant and unaware grandstanding that happened at the World War II memorial today. Yeah, this really happened.

HOW DARE YOU ENFORCE THE SHUTDOWN I VOTED FOR!

A Bad Case of Acute Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is commonly part of the content of my work. I am fascinated by the contradictions between our thoughts and actions.

Here we have an amazing act of hypocrisy. This list shows the members of congress that accepted and benefited from government farm subsidies, yet voted against expanding the food stamp program.

Crackpot hypocrisy.

http://jecarter4.tumblr.com/post/62446946046/33-members-of-congress-who-have-benefited-from-farm