Thursday, April 14, 2005

ART - I don't get it

I am not a connoisseur of art of the Gallery Type.

I’m not unschooled or unappreciative of Good Things.

I love much music, I think Opera is “Da Bomb”. I really enjoy Shakespeare ever since Minnie Onsrud made us read Julius Caesar aloud in Sophomore English. To date I have probably seen 30 different stage presentations of Shakespeare in my life. I loved them all. Then about 5 years ago I took it upon myself to read all the plays of Shakespeare. I did.

This must be an age thing since I notice that the people at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (an exact replica of the Globe in England) where we have season tickets, are all my age (OLDER). Except last night. Romeo and Juliet. Very excellent. Lots of “Dates” with the guys looking into their date’s eyes and saying, “all that stuff Romeo said, DITTO”.

We have been members of the Chicago Art Institute. Pretty darn famous I hear. Plus when we lived in Europe we traipsed up and down galleries often. I have been exposed. I have even watched the little nun who describes great art. Interesting. No emotion however.

Great Music makes me cry, Opera moves me, I got all “welled up” at Romeo and Juliet’s death. I love it when I am moved. That’s what greatness is supposed to do, isn’t it? I love great writing that stirs my soul. I wish I could do it as well as some.

But except for a few times with most ART I haven’t had the same reaction. Exceptions would be Michelango’s Moses, David, the Pieta, Starry Night (the second) by Van Gogh, Haystacks by Monet, Degas’ Dancers, Second thought, I guess much of Monet touched me. So there have been times. But given a choice Shakespeare, Opera or the Art Museum I will opt out of the Museum. I remember standing looking at Blue Boy, or a day at the Park or the Mona Lisa and thinking OK fine, is that it?

So when I looked at the Virtual Art Gallery that Julie is presenting, I think it’s good. I just don’t understand it.

I hope I can someday. I wish I did. I feel like I’m missing out on something.

Redlin Hunting Lodge and Uncle John

I’m off to SD for a couple days. My Godfather and Uncle John Lee changed worlds and we are having a service for him in Florence. My mom’s family has only one of her siblings left. She died in 1959. Wow. Think of the spread.

I will be staying with my Cousin Wally at his Redlin Farms Lodge north of Watertown where I was born. My brother Jim has hunting Lodge (Autumn Breeze) near Ellendale. And, my distant cousin Terry is the famous one. You would think all the Redlin’s have ever done is hunt and fish. I wish it were more true. I shoot for a weekend a year and haven’t had a fishhook in the water in years.

Very sad. But I grow trees, Write and Preach. That’s enough life isn’t it? I think so.

I will tell all upon my return. These family reunions are always fun and interesting. PS: Uncle John must have done OK Godfathering. I made it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why I can’t get another Dog or Cat

I will admit. I’m a soft touch in lots of ways. I have had my heart broken

I had a Dog named Skipper for 18 years. He was the ugliest dog you ever saw. In fact I entered him in an Ugly Dog Contest. He didn’t win but HIS picture was the one the Fargo Forum put on the front page news about the contest.

I loved that dog and he loved me. We moved him around more than he wanted to. As he got older, lost his hearing got feeble, conventional wisdom said to put him out of his “Misery”. But he would sit at my feet and sleep.

One day in 1989 June he died. Our whole family by happenstance was there. We buried him. I prayed. I cried. I still miss him. I have the little sandstone Grave Marker my two sons made.

I have never been able to bring myself to get another dog. We dog sit sometimes. I enjoy having a dog around. I just can’t give my heart away like that again. If I let myself love like that again I might get it broken.

We had a cat for 20 years. (We take good care of our animals)

EBNER. A big gray consultant “Male” Tabby. (neutered)

He spoke English. If he wanted to go out he said OWWMWMMOW,
If he wanted something to eat he said FONEMMMOERW, if he was in pain he said NENOWWOWOOW. Or maybe we spoke cat. I’m not sure.

He was very affectionate in a kneading drooling kind of way. They tell me that has to do with being weaned too early.

Who knows.

He was fun, later he became very ill. I don’t kill cats, dogs or kids because of inconvenience.

When he died I was sad. I also couldn’t see myself loving another cat that deeply again.

When our boys left home, I cried.

I love too deeply; give my heart away too completely. I am therefore vulnerable to the pain I read in Julie’s blog on “Leaving”.

I don’t have the answer. If loving means hurting, are we better to have loved? or not. Poets sometimes have the answer. I am going to the last of the Shakespeare presentations for our season tickets tonight. Romeo and Juliet. Certainly those two would have been better off without having loved, right? Well they would have survived, right? But what’s it all about if not about loving, giving your heart away and having it broken sometimes? I am not full of answers. Poets, painters, preachers and a few playwrights catch a glimpse of the mystery once in a while.

Meanwhile I’m not ready for another dog just yet.

Big Hairy Deal

I am not a big fan of Wal-Mart. For lots of reasons. I have promised to do a long form version on this blog sometime. I'm not ready yet. I already have spoken of it on the Dakota Revision blog I maintain. You can read it there. More will follow.

Today's news was all apoplectic about $35 million dollars Wal-Mart was going to give over 10 years for conservation restoration. In Dumb Dakota Kid math that comes out to $3.5 Mil a year. Wal-Mart made NET profits last year of $8 BILLION dollars. 8 bil/3.5mil. If you made $40,000 last year that would be the same as if you threw $20 bucks in the bucket to save the ducks or something. A good thing to do, but not a big deal. The proportional relationship is exactly the same. Where was Katie Couric then?

I wonder if anyone will follow up 10 years from now and see if it really happened. We have such an ADD focus capacity in this country I would place even money it never happens. Remember Ted Turner giving a Billion Dollars away in the late 90's (Over the next 10 years). OOOPS. Market went down. Didn't happen. Katie??

So, big spender, I'm with Shania on this one, "You don't impress me much"

Why I am a Nurseryman, a Preacher and a Writer

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist
complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked
how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the

The Mexican fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to
meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta
with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends,
have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs...I have a
full life."

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help
you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the
extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger
boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a
second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of
trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can
negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your
own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico
City or Los Angeles! From there you can direct your huge enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.

"And after that?"

"Afterwards? That's when it gets really interesting," answered the
American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start
selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?"

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the
coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a
siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings having a few drinks and
enjoy your friends.

(tip of the hat to Phil)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Man’s Humanity is his Doing or Un-Doing

I just had a conversation with a person I respect very much. He is one of the brighter minds I have the opportunity to engage in conversation.

We discussed the post below this one, the slippery slope, Terminal Timmy.

He was irritated, offended and without any sense of resonance at all regarding the mythical story of 2025.

I am not sanguine about the human condition. I believe that the heart of man is filled with all kinds of evil. Even Christians sometimes. I don’t ever get too self satisfied with my own personal ability to be righteous. Where do I get all this? Without starting a bible study, that’s where it comes from. We look ourselves in the mirror and see ourselves for who we really are.

My concern is that the man I was talking to believes that humanity can be basically good and could never sink far enough to find themselves in Terminal Timmy land.

OK: Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, KKK, Jim Jones, Suicide Pacts in Japan, Moms who drown children (too many to name), Japanese in China 2nd World War, Boxer Rebellion in China, French Revolution, Female Infanticide in India and China, Death Squads in Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Bolivia, Sudan, Rwanda, and more than I can call to mind right now.

Yes, but some of those are 3rd world, some are not civilized, some are un-enlightened. We in America are good. We are noble. We are civilized. So was the Germany of Beethoven, Wagner, Bach, Goethe, Schiller and hundreds more.

The people who gassed little Jewish Children went home to their houses, paid their bills, played with their kids, loved on their wives, went to church, had tea, listened to music, read good books and saw fine orchestras. The next day they went back to work.

It’s all about valuing life. Valuing human beings. Valuing ourselves.

I have a low belief in the innate goodness of man. I don’t think I am evil but I believe that properly deceived I could be led into evil and believe it to be good. The most haunting person in the Terminal Timmy story is not the mom, dad, grandma, or Timmy. It’s the Pastor figure telling Timmy’s parents it’s OK if they prayed about it. Calling good evil and evil good.

I don’t buy man’s basic goodness. I think we do battle till we die. I believe we must be on guard. I believe the deceiver is out to trick us up. Looking for whom he may devour.

But, if Gallup polling is any effect I will admit to you that I did an email blast on this story as I do when I think it’s important. It had such an impact on me. I usually will get back a certain percentage (10 out of 50) who say, “Very Interesting” or some such. This time I got 1. ONE! OK, I’m out of the mainstream here. I need to be more positive. When I got ZERO response (and I know you read it because I have a counter) it tells me I either hit a nerve or I’m way off.

One dear one said, don’t say things too controversial in your blog, people will think you’re a crackpot. Well if that’s my destiny, OK. I stand by my stand. I believe many persons I know are basically good. It’s people I don’t believe in.

Hope you can still love me. What if I’m right? Do you want to live in that world if it comes? I won’t, you might. Consider yourself warned. I can do no less.

No one believed in 1984. How close are we now??