Our Tiny House

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"But I Make Excellent Rembrandts."



Title could be: “We See What We Want to See”

Two days after I ranted on my writer’s blog*about how much data was on the Internet, and that books were dying faster than bugs on a sheep’s back after a good dipping—no  I didn’t use that analogy, just thought of it. Have you ever seen sheep swimming though a trough of sheep dip? Anyway I wondered why the government, the banks, anyone with personal critical data trusted it to the Internet. And then yesterday I heard on the radio that the IRS had been hacked.

Brother.

It appears that the hackers gathered personal information, but haven’t yet used it. “Authorities” figure they are waiting until next year to intercept any refunds entitled to certain taxpayers. And to add insult to injury, the burden of monitoring falls on the one who was hacked. These poor people need to keep checking to make sure their data is clean.

And then this morning I checked in on #Craig’s list, as I had placed an ad there, and they informed me that their site had been “compromised.” They assured me, however, that it had been fixed.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

We might as well laugh at it I suppose—I wouldn’t laugh, though, if my refund went to someone else. And I’m mad as hell that people aren’t buying books, but are reading on the Internet or Digital devices, or not reading.

Fahrenheit 451?

There was a funny post on #Craigs’s list—see we do love the Internet, just don’t trust it to keep our culture alive. (Book were once burned—remember? How easy would it be for a Hacker, or an on purpose “Authority” to erase us, our culture, our literature, our personal data. Think about old scrolls, good old papyrus, or leather, or clay tablets, or engraved rocks that have been found buried—that’s how much some wanted to preserve old writings and sacred texts.)

About the Craig’s list story: Someone bartered up from a cell phone to a Porsche.

How?

Beats me.

The topper, though, was that someone bartered up from a red paperclip to a house.

Yesterday I was sharing with my friend June who is an artist and would appreciate the movie we had seen the night before. It was Arts and Crafts, a documentary about Mark Landis, one of the most prolific art forgers in US history. This eccentric man copied the masters, didn’t sell them, but donated them to museums and galleries. The museums were happy, and greedy, to get their hands on such “valuable” works, and even their “experts” couldn’t tell they weren’t authentic. Landis was using gels and acrylic and colored pencils, and instant coffee to age them—modern day materials, imagine, on such artists as Monet. Because he didn’t receive any money from them it was not a crime.

June told me about Uncle Buds. I had heard about this eccentric old man she knew many years ago, but not this story: Uncle Buds was a master engraver, and he could also copy Rembrandt to a T.  The FBI often investigated him, for with his skill he could easily be a counterfeiter.  One day the FBI visited, inspected his work, found that no money was being created, and paid no attention to the many Rembrandt engravings scattered about over this table.

 “You always seem to have money,” June once asked him. “Do you make it?”

“Oh no,” he said, “never. But I make excellent Rembrandts.”




Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Fifty to One Long Shot


I don't limit my wishing to white horses--sometimes I bet on the bay.


Last night I was so inspired I almost fell off the couch.

How I missed it the first time around is beyond me.

I have been a Kentucky Derby fan for years—chose the winner three years running,--on paper, didn’t bet, but I stopped watching for a time after they kept breaking horse’s legs. I was mad that they race three-year olds whose legs are not fully formed. They race them because as youngsters horses are fast.  So, race them as older horses that have strong legs. It’s idiocy. You still have an even racing field. People, though, are concerned with numbers and speed, and sometimes they miss the big picture. And if you want to race in the Derby you must obey the rules.

So, in my discouragement with the Derby race, I missed the 2009 Kentucky Derby where Mind that Bird, was a 50 to 1 long shot. Mind that Bird won the race for two cowboys who didn’t even know the horse qualified, and it was the biggest shock in Kentucky Derby History. Mine that Bird came from dead last, way last, way behind the pack, but in a burst of speed passed every horse on the track, and won by 5 lengths. The announcer wasn’t even watching the horse, so discounting him he was.

I watched the movie last light 50 to 1, loved it, and decided not to be discounted, and to encourage those around me to do the same.

So how do we motivate people? By crititiques? “By criticism?

"Develop a think skin," they say.

Charles Schwab, United States Steel Company, 1927, said, “I have yet to find a person, however great or exalted his station, who did not  do better work and  put forth greater effort under the spirit of approval than he would ever do under a spirit of criticism.”

Schwab was not paid a million dollars a year (in 1927 yet) because he knew a great amount about the production of steel. He was hired because he knew how to motivate people.

They say that the second most need in people, behind health, is to be appreciated.

I appreciate you here. I appreciate that you stopped by. I appreciate that you continue to read my flimsy words.

If you choose to share what you are up to, or say what you would like to see here, you are invited to copy and paste my personal address. That way it will not go to a robot, and you will not need a password. Don’t you have more of those than you can shake a stick at?


Carry on,
JD


P.S. 50 to 1 is available on DVD. It was a labor of love for the director who directed Dances With Wolves and Bodyguard, and the jockey was played by the real jockey who won the Derby on Mine that Bird—a horse with a personality.

Note:Wish on a White Horse has a new address it is http://www.wishonwhitehorses.com

Saturday, May 16, 2015

On the Wings of...




“Each book is Lazarus, yes? And you the reader, by opening the covers, bid Lazarus to come forth. And he lives again, it lives again, the dead words warmed by your glance.”

I came upon this in Ray Bradbury’s book Somewhere a Band is Playing, and it struck me that there I was raising Lazarus, just as he stated in his book. I could see him, hear him, his words swam, circled, soared. I was riding a Pegasus. Visions came, lessons too.  

"The great ‘medicine’,” he wrote, “was finding that we were alive and loving it. We have celebrated every day of our lives. The celebration, the exhilaration, of worshipping the gift, has kept us young. Does that sound impossible? By simply knowing you’re alive and looking at the sun and enjoying the weather and speaking it every moment of your existence, this ensures our longevity.”

I know someone such as he is describing. She is 92 with a phone message that says, “I may be here or I may be out in the Universe having fun.” It’s hard to get her on the phone for normally she is out in the Universe having fun. She takes painting lessons, and has a weekly movie date day, and walks her dog, and drives her car.

I think of a story I read told by Deepak Chopra. A man wanted a son more than anything. God gave him two choices: one the son would be healthy but not too bright. The other, a bright son, but the son would die on his 21st birthday.

He took the bright son.

He never told the son about the agreement with God. One the son’s 21st birthday the father told his son to stay by his side, but in fairy tale fashion, the father was called away for a few moments.

The son, as was his honor to do so, went to the church to thank God for his life. Unbeknownst to him the angel of death was behind him and ready to throw a noose that would snare him and thus take him to the other side.  As the angel threw the noose, the son bowed, thanking God for his life. The noose feel upon his back and slipped off.  In that manner, thanking God for his life, the son cheated death.

And the people in Bradbury’s story, with their celebration of life, stayed young.

And children sit by on the stone floor
And draw out their lives in the sand.
Remembering deaths that won’t happen
In futures unseen in far lands.
Somewhere a band is playing
Where the moon never sets in the sky
And nobody sleeps in the summer
And nobody puts down to die;

--Ray Bradbury

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Why Did I Start Blogging

Why Did I Start Blogging?

I was asked that question this morning, and now I’m stuck.

Why did I?

Who wants to read me anyway?

And why am I doing this?

When I was fresh out of high school, or maybe still in high school, it was so long ago my memory has rusted; I took the Famous Artists correspondence course. In the course someone spoke of “The Painter with the Pen.” They were speaking of pen and ink drawings, and although I loved oil painting, and even more water color, this painter with a pen idea stuck. That’s what I wanted to be.

In college there were a slug of artists more skilled than me—and taking biology I made more drawings of various microbes, cells, and plants than you could shake a stick at. I really didn’t care if I made drawings anymore. Good thing I didn’t fancy myself as a writer then, but it was then I found I liked writing papers. You figure.

It took me years to get a psychiatrist’s words out of my head, “Writing is self-aggrandizement,” he said. With that statement he wiped literature into an ego trip. And I suppose he could have said the same about any other artistic endeavor.

And then there is that other fellow (Bulwer-Lytton 1839) who said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

I think I’ll go with the second fellow.

Why do we write, paint, garden, make mud balls, beautify our homes, play a musical instrument, sing, build, carve, sculpt, go fishing, do calligraphy, write letters, cook fantastic meals, perfect our sport?

We are all artists at heart, we just need to find our venue.

So why am I blogging? I don’t know. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I like to write. I wanted to reach out to people. I want to make a difference.

When my second daughter was in the first grade I asked myself what I wanted to be when I grew up.

“A writer,” I said. “If I had anything to write.”

But I began. I put words on a page…and blogging seemed natural since I am a cryptic sort, who likes to make black splotches on paper.


You will never Find the Time—Make it





The Magic of Believing--http:www.thebestdamnwriterbloggerontheblock.com

Friday, May 1, 2015

Success is...



Two blog posts in one day? One here, one on that other site. http://www.thebestdamnwritersblogontheblock.blogspot.com  

There I shared a link that totally inspired me. Jon Morrow’s blog, “How to Quit your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get paid to Change the World,” went viral.

Sounds like a plan.

Yep, change that dead-end job into something you love. What if we could all do that? What if it is really true, “Do what you love and money will follow?

I consulted the oracle. The oracle is opening a book and reading whatever page exposes itself. Earlier this morning I pulled David R. Hawkins book Power vs. Force from the shelf and thought I would look at it later on.Well, now is later on. I opened it and found this: “True success,” he said, “enlivens and supports the spirit; it has nothing to do with isolated achievements, but instead relates to being accomplished as a total person, and attaining a lifestyle that benefits not only the individual but everyone around them.”

I am a fan of #Pinterest, for I see that most of the people there are upbeat. They post what they love. They post quotes that inspire. See how people want to share and uplift?

"When I opened Hawkins book it dawned on me, I was writing about success.. If we think about what the tabloid world considers to be success, it is a success that often erodes the successful person’s health and relationships. Drugs are rampant, marriages and divorces are in serial. Spiritual collapse is common in the lives of the rich and famous.

According to Hawkins, it is not the wealth and success or the fame and attention that causes the erosion. It is the “small self” vs. the Big Self.” The small self is vulnerable to flattery. It feeds on accolades and applause. The big self is more evolved. It is humble and grateful for its success.

It is striking to see how many powerful figures of our world, captains of industry, presidents of co-corporations, Nobel Prize winners and members of legendary families are open, warm, sincere, and view success as a responsibly or a ‘noblesseless oblige.”

Long ago In college I read Theodore H.White’s Pulitzer prize winning book, #The Making of The President. It is the story of #John F. Kennedy’s rise to power. One thing that struck me was that the family had money-- that was not an issue, the issue was that the kids were expected to carry out the family mission. And that mission was to serve.