Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Hobo Nickle of the Depression : a Folk Art

I have two Hobo Nickles that I've acquired over the years. They are descended from an old folk art of carving low denomination coins into art items of higher value. A poor mans way of making what they have more valuable as a barter item. From 1913 to 1940 the American buffalo nickle was the raw material from which these folk art items were made.

Working with all sorts of carving tools. These itenerant artist could turn the Indian and the Buffalo into tiny items of folk art like this:

"The Indian portrait or the obverse side of the nickel was altered and carved into portraits of clowns, women, men, other Indians, friends, loved ones, figurals and self portraits. The buffalo or the reverse side of the nickel were turned into men with backpacks or other animals such as donkeys or elephants. Like the Victorian Era Love Tokens, Hobo Nickels were inscribed with dates, names or other inscriptions.
Hobo nickels, were carved by the homeless during WWI and during the Great Depression. Hobo Nickels were traded for meals, a place to sleep, a ride, or other favors. Some were carved with images of loved ones as mementos. Each Hobo Nickel has a story behind them. These stories speak of a generation of men and women who struggled to survive, yet kept their faith in our Creator, themselves, and the American dream.
They may have been wanderers, but they worked hard for what they needed, helped each other, and honored an unwritten code of honor and respect among hoboes.
Hobo Nickels are still being carved today. Individuals who carved the Hobo Nickels have brought this area of folk art to another level. The images are contemporary and often abstract with modern imaging." Source
I'm going to show numerous versions of the "Hobo Nickle". The Internet has many many sites to tell you about these nickles, old and modern.


Israeli minister warns on peace stalemate

It is the Season for "PEACE ON EARTH, TO MEN OF GOODWILL". Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli Cabinet Minister on the Peace Talks:"It's not only that it is impossible to reach an overall agreement, It is simply forbidden."

Of course the West Bank Palestinians who are being walled off from Israel have stalled elections in there area. The Palestinian Gaza Strip isolated from the West Bank and by Israeli slight of hand is control by a separate faction , Hamas t...hat won't negotiate at all with Israel (Hamas that was fostered by Israel to counter the PLO). So if the West Bank and Gaza were ever joined it would mean a Palestinian Civil War. Granted Peace is hard and maybe even not probable. But if officially it is "Forbidden" then let us back away and wait to help the survivors. This is not Post WWII. Israel is steep in a war culture. In fact Israel is counting on its perpetual victim status as are the Palestinians. How about this world's generation stepping away from both sides, walling them both in, and saying you work it out and let us know when your survivors need help.

Oh yes, the world is taking over Jerusalem and holding it in posterity as an Earth Heritage Center. It seems we just can't trust you guys to take care of it.
Merry Christmas and peace on earth to men of good will. (oh I forgot that don't mean nothing to you guys).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

The eclipse started with high clouds.

But soon cleared off.

Using a hand held Sony digital camera DSC-H7 Zeiss 15X lense, you have to hold it Steady.

Laying down on the sidewalked worked well, but it was COLD.

Looks like something from Star Trek doesn't it?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dr. No's Long List of 2011 No-No (Defeated Earmarks)

Senator Tom Coburn, pediatrician to the Senate and nick-named Dr. No by friends and foes alike has compiled an list of all the open amendments for earmarked appropriations that were in the Omnibus appropriations bill killed in the Senate last night.

Here is the document.

6751 lines in a search able Excel format so you can look up you favorite projects, area, state, senator, etc.

Now, Mitch and the boys are saying they will not do these earmarks anymore. Really?
Talk about the proverbial ROCK and the HARD PLACE. So how can they function if they can't provide? Seriously both Dems and Repubs trade favors for votes. The Repubs maybe a little bit more than Dems, but not by much if any. So all these 6800 items, projects, etc. will go unfunded? Remember too that there are hundreds if not thousands of "hidden" earmarks within Agency and Departmental budgets as well.

So the Republican in particular are caught between their Fat Cats who expect a return on their investment and the radical Tea Party types that could knock them out in a primary challenge.
Democrats only have to worry about delivering the bacon however. How is this going to work.

This coming few months will see the Republicans taking the heat for not funding these local projects, as well as taking the heat if they try to fund them. Dang, not fun.

This is going to be like watching a 6000 pound elephant walking a slack wire between two sky scrapers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How To Steal A Dead Man's Voice

"End this war (in Afghanistan)."
Diplomat Richard Holbrooke said this as he went into surgery that ended in his death. Last words in western culture has had a special value. Legally a "dying declaration" is as good as live testimony in court.

Minutes after Holbrooke's last words were reported a concerted effort to discount them began in several quarters. He didn't mean it... It was a mistake....He was talking to the Pakistani doctor... He was just getting the last word in... Got to put it in context... Taking it too seriously.

Here is a War that has lasted nine years. Ninety two percent of the combatants fighting us don't know why we are there. Every dollar we spend there we are borrowing from places like China.
So when the number one civilian negotiator about the war in the country says on his death bed, "End this war", the powers that be try to take his voice away.

Stop the war in Afghanistan. I'm not anti-war. I am anti-dumb shit stupidity. The first year of the war was appropriate. Year ten of the war is plain stupid. Damn Stupid! To steal the voice of Richard Holbrooke should be the last straw, an act too much... end it now... Pull OUT just like the President has said we would...NOW!
Bring Our Children Home and Heal Them as best we can.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reading The Exploded: A Prophetic Sign ?

Superstition is a lizard brain thing. Sure it is cultural, organized, & codified but behind that organization is simply an attempt to control the uncontrollable. True superstition is buried deep in the brain's stem. A primordial fear. Shared with the most basic forms of life we avoid things we don't recognize or understand be we a newborn or a PhD. It is innate, basic, coded.
When we grab hold of these fears we tend to to do so with an organized method of some sort. We use religion, folk ways, humor, stories, traditions, something that will encase the phenomena and protect us from it.
We control it by naming it. We control it by categorizing it. We control it by controlling something stronger than it is (i.e. my god is bigger than your god).

So when something unexpected, unusual, unpredictable happens, our medulla oblongata hurries back to its most primitive reaction at the speed of flashing neurons. For that micro second before the frontal lobes catch the errant emotion and suppress it into the pillow of the rational, you know, "That's an Omen!"
I dropped a glass the other day. I've dropped thousands of glasses. I have broken hundreds of glasses. I've shattered dozens of glasses. I have never drop a heavy-thick-glass six inches onto a counter top and have it explode.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Nullabor X-mas

It doesn't feel like Christmas.

I turn on the TV and I hear that the Uber-Rich through their Republican slaves are holding the jobless hostage. We give them a dollar and they give back to the poor a penny. And they have the unmitigated gall to say we need to take their sour deal because it is Christmas.

Our recession was over in 2009. Not really, the recession for the Rich was over then, the depression for the rest of us may not be over for years to come. Merry Christmas?

Our Federal Government has threaten its citizen with criminal prosecution/ and job loss if they read a public open blog called Wiki Leaks. Why? Why turn to a tyrannical anti-constitutional behavior? What is hidden there? Merry Christmas?

Don't know about you guys, but we are not buy many gifts for the family, only three so far an maybe one more. We will give everyone money. They need it for living expenses, medicine, and debt. Unfortunately it won't be enough money to make a difference. Haven't been to a mall this season. I have pointedly left the See's Chocolates in their store. I've heard that the shopping carts and bags aren't very full at the check out counters. I also hear that Nieman Marcus is doing extra well this year. High end stores have pulled out of their slump.

There are a few homes decorated in our neighborhood. Not ours. Not the ones in foreclosure. Not the ones with eldery living in them. Up town in the show homes of Well-to-do-ville the lights are rampant. The mexican gardeners have hung them everywhere. So we can go look if we want to, but don't stop your car, and for gods sake don't get out of your car or you might be arrested for tresspassing on their city streets.

Some of the homes in our neighborhood have beautiful trees in their windows, but not much under them. Our house has no lights, no tree, no candles, no decorations of any kind. Christmas for us just isn't happening here. It just doesn't feel right. It is not bah humbug mind you, it is more like it would be fake of us to celebrate.

Don't dump in here any of that crap about, oh, but it is the birthday of baby Jesus. All that super-duper stuff about his changing the world and bringing peace and goodwill to men. Actually the quote should be "Peace to men of goodwill." The 25th of December was a winter holiday long before Christ was born. YES, I hear the echo of those words from the song, God is not dead nor doth he sleep.
Fine, good, and I know the song... farther along we will know all about it, father along we will understand why.

The trouble is of course we are here, and we are at now, and it is a nullabor X-mas and it just doesn't feel right to pretend otherwise.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cowboy Up America and Make The Sacrifice

The level of hate on the Conservative Right is astounding. Today the U.S. Senate voted not to give families making less than $250,000 an extension of the current tax breaks. That failed. Then they voted against familys making less than a $1,000,000 keeping the current tax rates.
The hate filled comments made by the Right to these news stories on the web are absolutely not American.

"Lets get that uppity boy out of the White House." I'm not repeating the N***** comments. Nor will I repeat the C*** comments about Nancy Polosi. As for the Senate, it "... is being led by a dried up old Mormon."

It really looks like this will be a very bad Christmas for Democracy.

It is time to do something about theses loud mouth toadies of the wealthiest Republicans; those who do not care about the needs of their less fortunate brothers and sisters and simply want more for themselves and their kind.

Lets' show these privileged Wall Street, Corporate, Oil Soaked blackmailing criminals how it is done in Our America!

Let all the taxes go up to 2000 levels. No, that's not fair, but hell it would solve many many many of our National problems. We can not let those who have no empathy for their fellow Americans win their greedy black mail scheme. It will just be even worse next time. There is not enough for these people. Stop it NOW. If we don't stand up now, we may not have strength to do it next time they bleed us.

Let us All Give Back the Bush tax cuts. All of us. Then dare the Republicans not to do something about it. Worse case, the increase will stand. Then we pay for our Wars, we will pay for Unemployment benefits, we will pay down our deficit, and we will keep the a-holes from cutting the hell out of everything else the less fortunate in America need to SURVIVE.

For me, it would be maybe $5,000 more a year in taxes. OK, do it. Tax me. I want to support my Country. I want to feed those who are hungry. I want those who are sick and wounded healed. I want those who have worked for their Country all their lives to be comfortable, well fed, warm in the winter and cool in the summer. That takes money. We all need to Cowboy Up in the American tradition and say, "Here is mine where is yours?

Cowboy Up America! Let all of the tax cuts expire!