Archive for November, 2009

Things I’d like to know

Posted in art, personal, political with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2009 by barryshapiro

Tonight I saw a shooting star zip through the sky. It quickly cut through the stars in front of the almost-full moon and then seemed to break up and disappear. It happened so fast. I wonder if it was a meteorite or a satellite trying to return home? These days I often feel as if I am trying to find my way home. I feel as if I took a wrong turn somewhere and wound up on some strange asteroid.

Where do pelicans sleep at night? At 2 AM the beach is incredibly quiet. Hardly a sound except for the crash of the waves and a wisp of the wind. It occurred to me that there were no birds anywhere. During the day there are thousands of them: terns, gulls, sandpipers, plovers and pelicans. Where do they sleep at night? Is there some kind of pelican hotel? The encyclopedia says that pelicans often sleep under docks and piers but I cannot see anything under the only pier in the area. Where do they go?

Speaking of wild animals, why does Tiger Woods have to tell the world the reason he had a car accident? No one else was hurt, it wasn’t a crime scene and the police determined that alcohol was not a factor. So why is every media outlet screaming that he must step forward to save his reputation? Could it be because they want a juicy story to feast upon? Really, who cares? I don’t hear people on the street too concerned about what really happened. It seems that the media, which has created and feeds the cult of celebrity just has to have its expose of the week, leveling Woods to the level of Danny Bonaducci. They never really liked him anyway: too, “uppity”, too arrogant, too independent. I don’t think the guy has to answer to anyone except his wife and kids and the corporate sponsors that pay him zillions, and he can do that in private. Someone yesterday told me that Tiger  HAD to fess up and speculated that he caught his wife in a lesbian affair. Now that’s something I would like to know. Are their forbidden Polaroids somewhere? Still, if I were Woods, with his money, his prestige, his golf swing – I would just say it’s nobody elses business and leave it at that.

I’d like to know why State Troopers think they are so bad. I was pulled over for speeding last week and the guy was a complete dick. Here’s the kicker – I wasn’t speeding (I know that everyone says that but I have no reason to lie here – I had the car on cruise control so I know exactly how fast I was going) and the cop was coming from the other direction. If he had clocked someone speeding it could have been anyone of the several cars that had passed me in the left lane and he was crossing the median to pull up behind me. I think that once he saw out-of-state plates he just figured he’d have an easy day and nail my ass. I was so surprised when he pulled up behind me with his blue flashers going off like Grucci fireworks that I almost slammed on the brakes. I thought he was kidding when he said I was speeding but when he said he clocked me doing 85 I knew it was bullshit and that I was just a notch on his quota belt. I will go to court on this one but I wonder if it’s worth the effort or the stress. I don’t think I deserve a $235 ticket for something I didn’t do but I have to question the sanity for taking a day off to have my day in court. In America you are innocent until proven guilty – except in traffic court. And this cop was such a dickhead I question my sanity in wanting to confront him, even in a court of law – afterall, this jerk carries a gun.

I want to know when Obama is going to close Guantanamo and when we will have a truly decent health care bill in Congress or when the rich, smarmy, self-aggrandized, butt-lickers in Congress will ever do the right thing by the working man. Is that too much to ask?

I hate reality TV – except the news which is really reality TV and I wonder what Vince Manze is doing these days. He was majorly responsible for much of the way we view TV today from his days as a VP at NBC, back when NBC was a network that people actually watched. Grant Tinker must really hate watching NBC and wonder what the hell ever happened. I know I do. Vince, my old buddy, are you kicking back on a tropical island laughing at the world you left behind or are you sitting in a desk in Hollywood creating evil reality shows that rot peoples minds? Just curious.

Oyster Catcher - crayon on paper

So where do the oystercatchers go at night? Do you think they ever worry about how to pay the rent?

 

Rejection

Posted in art, personal with tags , on November 22, 2009 by barryshapiro

Pastel of Sunset on AMI

I sent some examples of my work to a couple of galleries in Sarasota this week and got back a couple of rejections. Sometimes I wonder why I do this. What do I see that others do not?  Rejection is always a bitter pill but the artist has to be thick-skinned. I guess I could just go out and take photographs and sell a ton of prints but that is not what I am about.

Well, my mother loves my work. I guess that’s something!

Great White

Posted in art, personal with tags , , , on November 20, 2009 by barryshapiro

The White Pelican

 The magnificent White Pelicans on the Indian River.

By the way, we discovered some beautiful music at the Holmes Beach Art Fair on Sunday and we’ve been wearing out the CDs. Patchouli is the folk duo of Julie Patchouli and guitarist Bruce Hecksel. check them out at www.patchouli.net. You think that’s her real name?

What happened to us?

Posted in personal, political with tags , , , , on November 20, 2009 by barryshapiro

The other day I received one of those emails that you get from friends that you are supposed to pass along but never do. At least I never do, unless it’s pornographic which means it came from my friend Chris and I’m passing it along to my friend David. This one had a simple quiz published by the Pew Research Center. It was titled a News IQ Quiz. I thought I take the quiz and see how up I was on my current events. It turned out to be a very simple quiz: 12 questions all multiple choice about topics pulled right from today’s headlines. The first question asked who was the most recent appointment to the Supreme Court. Pretty simple stuff. The second asked if I knew who Glenn Beck was. Again, a no brainer. And there was not one question much harder than those two. I got to the end of the quiz and learned that I had scored a perfect 12 out of 12. Given the simplicity of the questions I would have been shocked if I had not aced it but I left open the possibility that I might have missed one.

What freaked me out was that when my score was calculated they informed me that I was in a group that included only 2% of the public. 2%!!!!!!! What the hell is that all about. The largest group, at 24% got only 3 or 4 answers correct. Only 10% of the population got it half right.

Have we really become a nation of stupid people? Are we so damn ignorant that we cannot answer a few simple questions about the most pressing issues of the day? Or is it that way too many of us are getting our news and information from people like the aforementioned Mr. Beck, who I suspect is either an evil genius or just a loud mouthed horses ass with the IQ of a toad? No that’s really demeaning to toads. I apologize to toads everywhere.

This is really pathetic. It makes me sad and embarrassed. We live in a country where so much is possible and yet it seems that we as a people get dimmer all the time. Can our schools be this awful? Can so many of us just not care?

Take the quiz yourself at http://pewresearch.org/politicalquiz/. If you don’t get at least 10 out of 12 then you should be ashamed and immediately get a subscription to the New York Times. And stop watching Fox News!

Bird of the day!

Posted in art, personal with tags , , on November 19, 2009 by barryshapiro

Plover

Here on Anna Maria Island the Plovers, Terns, Gulls, Sandpipers and Herons walk along the beach with the tourists and the sunbathers. This is a peaceful place – good for reflection and regeneration. I did this drawing after watching this guy chase the waves on the beach for about a half hour. It was amazing just to watch him tear up and down the shoreline.

More and more people I know are suffering with health issues, economic issues, personal issues and career issues and there is really not much left to say. Whether you are flush or not, you are still affected by someone who doesn’t have it as well as you. We all need to go inside and start taking care of our inner selves so that we can be stronger and more focused in the ‘real’ world.

It’s good to pull back a bit, reflect and regroup. A little solitude can go a long way.

A great new blog

Posted in personal with tags , , , on November 11, 2009 by barryshapiro

My friend Lori Drummond, R.D., L.D. is a registered dietician affiliated with Holmes Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida. Dedicated to her patients and seriously concerned about the food we eat as it relates to disease and dysfunction, she has started a blog that addresses issues of diet and nutrition, treating disease and better food solutions. Lori-portrait-smile-jpg1-150x150

Check out http://goodhealthconsulting.com/ and follow her god advice. Her articles provide great information, some that you may be unaware of like the fact that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 3 cups of dried beans per week to reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 16 percent.

16% is significant. Perhaps if we all ate more beans we’d be healthier. We should all start taking more Beano as well, just as a social precaution!

Just tell the truth

Posted in personal, political with tags , , , , on November 9, 2009 by barryshapiro

I hear a lot of people say that they really want to hear the truth – just the truth and nothing but the truth. I’ve heard that said by many women in all the relationships I have ever been in. The truth seems to be a much sought after commodity but I wonder why does it seem to be so scarce? There is even a movie that was recently released, a comedy about telling the truth. I didn’t see it but I am sure that the truth was stretched to make some very funny points.

I think that one big problem is that people do not really want to hear the truth. They’d rather hear something that is comforting or agrees with their point of view. Otherwise it’s an argument in the making and who wants to argue all the time. I also think that most people assume that because they don’t want to hear the truth that means that no one else really wants to hear the truth either. So lying and exaggeration have become just our natural way of communicating with each other. No one tells it like it is, although we often use that phrase (“Come on, man, tell it like it is” or “I’m tellin’ you the way it is…”).

The other day I was watching some news program – news programs hardly ever really tell you the way it really is, they give you the corporate advertiser friendly version when ever possible – and someone was interviewing some bureaucrat from the Obama administration. She was this chubby, pale-faced, blonde haired, windbag who was on one of the President’s economic advisory committees and she was there to answer questions about the banking industryand the economy. The interviewer asked her a very direct question about executive compensation, TARP money and the health of the now robust banking industry in light of the huge unemployment numbers just released. Now I realize that these people have all been trained to NEVER answer a direct question with a direct answer. Nothing scares these people more than an honest, direct question. But this woman was so totally living in the land of bullshit I just had to turn the TV off before she could pollute my airwaves anymore than necessary. Instead of answering a direct question with a direct answer she smiled her perky smile and said something to the effect of “Well, you know that everything we’ve done in this administration and in the previous administration as it pertains to the banks has been with one goal in mind and that is to put America back to work!” Excuse me? Did I just hear that? Unemployment is in double digits, the banks are making record profits and she expects anyone to buy that crap?

And the interviewer didn’t press her on it, not one bit of pushback. He could have simply said “Hey, how about answering the question?” but he wasn’t really interested in a truthful answer, just an answer that wold sound good.

Politicians and those in the media have mastered the art of truth evasion and  one way that they do this is by constantly saying that they are sorry. They apologize for everything and it seems that if they just make a public apology than everything is OK. All if forgiven! Just say I’m sorry.

Got caught soliciting a policeman in the airport bathroom? Just say “I’m sorry” and no one will demand you step down. Used anabolic steroids when you were playing in the World Series? No problemo, just say your sorry. Beat your wife with a broomstick? Oops, I am so sorry about that. Does anyone really believe these people are sorry? They are only sorry that they got caught! No one calls a press conference and says “I made a mistake and broke the law and I got away with it because no one knows it happened but I am sorry so i am turning myself in and paying all fines and penalties and intend to dedicate my life from now on to only honest good works.” No one does that. But when they get caught with their dick in the wife’s girlfriend or their hands in the till or whatever the first thing to do is call a press conference and say “I’m sorry!” Screw that, who really cares? Who really believes them? Nobody. It’s all for show. It’s all a lie.

Yesterday I went to the ATT store cause I was having a problem with my iPhone. When I bought it I was given a business card by the sales person and told I could call anytime during business hours and reach her directly and that I could send her email too. Well, that was bull because the store never answers the phone and it takes at least 24 hours to return messages to the voicemail or else you get connected to the general info line. So after a day of trying to get in touch with this sales person I just went back to the store. And what was the first thing out of the person’s mouth? You got it… “I’m sorry!” It’s become an automatic, knee jerk reaction in corporate America. Nothing works, no one can really communicate but just say your sorry and all is forgiven.

I asked her to stop saying she was sorry because I knew that she really wasn’t. How did I know that? Because I was not the first person to have that experience.  If they were truly sorry they’d do something about it. But they never do. That would take too much effort, maybe cost the company a few pennies and besides why bother when you can just say “Sorry!”

I would have been much happier if she had just said when she gave me the card that she might not get back to me and so I’d be better off just going to the 800 number and getting a tech guy from Bangalore to answer my questions.