PRATIE PLACE

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Melinama does Illustration Friday: "Balloon."

I was a Russian language and literature major in college and was fascinated by icons. The halos look like gold balloons.

The gentleman farmer invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner with his interesting friends and as they all got more into their cups, he confided to the assembly that he does not believe in God but he does believe in a fairy godmother, "like Cinderella had."

This inspired me to paint him an icon of that iconic fairy godmother. Hope he likes it. (Click for a larger view.)

The words are from her famous song, "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" (I thought it was "Bippity Boppity Boo," thanks Google), and one of her heartwarming speeches to Cinderella.

Below, for comparison, two icons of Saint Genevieve.



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Dixie Draft Horse, Mule, and Carriage Auction, Troutman NC, November 28 2008

Hannah and I hopped in the new red truck first thing Friday morning and drove two hours west to Iredell County. We didn't buy stuff but we had a fabulous time.
















Time Waster of the day: freerice.com

I can't believe I never heard of this before. FreeRice.com is an insidious time-suck: it provides multiple-choice answers to vocabulary definitions and each time you get one right it "donates 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program."

Favorite words I learned this morning:

Fulgurous: dazzling: amazingly impressive; suggestive of the flashing of lightning.

Ecdysiast: a stripper.

Recusant: nonconformist.

I thought it was cool that a supercilium is an eyebrow. That must be where supercilious comes from! Heh.

Word I kept not getting right even when it asked me again:

Levigate: grind into powder

I thought I had a good vocabulary but I can hardly squeak my way up to level 50 (of 60). I seem to be mainly stuck on level 47.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

HP laptop dies at 18 months; everybody hates Microsoft Vista; FedEx provides staggeringly bad customer service.

My laptop (a Hewlett-Packard Pavilion dv6000) was barely over a year and a half old when it breathed its last. Its internal power supply and/or motherboard failed, it quietly chunked away cycling on and off with a black screen, it would have done it for hours. I took it to a trusted computer guy who said: "It's dead, and you should never have bought an HP. If you won't buy a Mac, I can only recommend Dell or Lenovo."

So first I want to ask: when did it become ok for us to spend multiple hundreds of dollars on pieces of equipment which die so quickly? Why is it ok to sell such rapidly-destructing machines?

I need the laptop, I run my recording business on it, and I couldn't find a Dell without the loathed Microsoft Vista operating system, so I opted for a Lenovo from Buy.com.

So second I want to ask: why is it ok for Microsoft to force all computer sellers to put the hated Vista operating system on new computers? Some sellers will, as a special favor, for $120 extra wipe out Vista and install the older system, XP, but you still have to buy Vista.

My daughter is trying to sell a one-year-old computer because she hates Vista so much, but when buyers hear it has Vista on it they say: "No, thanks."

I bought a Lenovo with XP, and it was supposed to arrive yesterday via Federal Express.

I was home all day except for my 45-minute donkey walk. I left a note on the gate when I left with Jethro, and signed it, hoping that would get my computer delivered. The note was still there when I returned, but there was an email in my inbox: FedEx had tried to deliver my package but nobody was home.

This morning at 9:30 there was another email: FedEx supposedly tried to deliver my package at 8:46 am but nobody was home. Hah, there were three of us awake and already enjoying pumpkin pie in the kitchen. FedEx hadn't bothered to come down the driveway.

That bothered me, but what bothered me more was the response I got when I called. Using gethuman.com's advice (call 800‑463‑3339, say "representative" at each prompt, ignoring messages), I did get a human, but she might as well have been a machine, because she merely repeated "I know how you're feeling" to my every sentence.

The upshot: the drivers cannot be contacted (no cellphones?), and neither can the dispatch center! She said I could GO to the dispatch center (a half-hour drive) and talk to them, but they have disconnected all their phones so nobody will call them. So there will be no redelivery, even though the guy may be only blocks away...

So next I want to ask: why is it ok for a business, excepting of course the IRS, to disconnect its phones so nobody will call?

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Monday, November 24, 2008

"I was just grocery shopping, like any other day.."

Americans, non-apathetic for once. An excellent use of the Butterball.

Extracts from
Carjacking suspect hit with frozen turkey
WRAL, Nov. 23 2:00 p.m.

Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — Authorities arrested a man whom bystanders say they hit with a frozen turkey when he carjacked a woman's sedan outside a Fuquay-Varina grocery store Sunday.

The man stole money from a BP gas station and then ... approached Irene Moorman Bailey loading groceries in her car.

Witnesses told police that the man started beating Bailey in the face, trying to get her keys.

Bystanders intervened and hit the man in the head with a frozen turkey that Bailey bought, police said.

"I was just grocery shopping, like any other day, and I happened to come out and I saw all this chaos that just had happened," shopper Leanne Sweet said.

"Several people interceded and tried to get him away from her," Owens said.

The man managed to get into Bailey's Maxima and hit five other cars while escaping from the parking lot, officers said.

"He backed across and he hit the Cadillac and our car," Owens said. "My bumper's cracked and the whole side is dented in," Sweet said.

Officers found Fred Ervin, 30, in Bailey's car... When he is released, he will face these charges: assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, robbery, driving with a revoked license, hit and run and larceny.

"Sad is what it is, especially during the holiday season," Owens said.

Melinama does Illustration Friday: "Opinion."

I'm kind of getting the hang of this woodblock thing. I chose the quote and cut the lettering on Saturday, which left me all of my Sunday afternoon art time to think up an illustration and cut it. Most of my time was spent trying to figure out as I went along, which areas should be white and which black. Once you decide something is going to be white (cut out), there is no going back.

The design for this cut actually started with the back of the devil's head, lower left, because there was a big hard knot in the plywood there, and I didn't want to mess with it.

This quote is an extreme example of an opinion I myself held as a child. I thought it was so obvious which was the best choice at all times, I thought people disagreed just to spite me. I was older than I like to admit when I first had the exploding light of revelation in my head: "no, they actually like the other thing better."


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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mark does Illustration Friday: "Opinion."

Opinions Are Like A Tube of Toothpaste

In the current crisis, it will take more than Republicans and Democrats squeezing the green out of the middle for special interests. Improvement will only come when grown-ups work for the greater good. That good is really not that hard to see is it? What about better health, better design, cleaner air, and creative solutions to the shortsightedness of financiers. Capitalism could actually embrace the idea that government has value and that ruthless competition is not the only way to behave. That this might happen is probably utter fantasy but I am entitled to my opinion.


Mark


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In which, as a contrarian, I support the economy and buy a pickup truck.

I saw this picture in a New York Times article last weekend called A Sea of Unwanted Imports with the caption: "Imported Toyotas turn acres of port property in Long Beach into a parking lot. Unwelcome by dealers and buyers, the cars number in the thousands and are worth millions of dollars."

I decided it was time to buy the Toyota Tacoma truck I've been thinking about for a couple years. I drive a 14-year-old van and have joked with my mechanic for a long time: "Keep it on the road, Jay, I want to drive it until my son graduates from college."

Now, with Ezra on a leave of undetermined length, the date of his graduation is in question, but the van continues to get crankier. Like a two-year-old laptop computer, only a dozen years older.

So, armed with the optimistic idea that the economy is in the tank and Toyotas are on the loading dock, I went shopping. First I thought I'd get a 2004 or 2006 used truck, but they're hard to come by and priced high.

As a response to one of my inquiries, a dealer emailed me back: "I can put you in a new 2009 model for $14,900."

That was a good offer - the November NADA guide lists 2008 used models selling retain for $15,476!

I didn't want to drive to Winston-Salem to buy a car, so I took his offer around locally.

There's a Toyota place near me and they advertise NO-HAGGLE pricing, and their prices were about $1800 higher than this offer, but I wanted to see what the 2009s looked like so I went over there and talked to a nice salesman from India, now named Alex (I wonder if his actual name has many more syllables). He said, sorry we don't haggle, and I said, I understand, have a nice day and I went home.

The next morning I got a call from Alex: there was, suddenly, coincidentally, a manager's special - just one truck, just the kind I wanted, and a nice color too! (Barcelona Red), for $14,900. I guess this is how no-haggle places haggle.

I went by there and saw about 25 employees and about 5 customers. I felt the consumer reluctance associated with deflation: if it's this cheap now, how cheap will it be in a few months? But, eat dessert first, I got out my checkbook and that was that. The business manager said: "I never saw anybody buy a car so fast."

So now I have this nice red truck.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

[Hannah]: Founding Fathers Not Immune to Pleasures of High Carbon-Footprint, Deficit Spending



"Despite his effusive praise for the yeoman farmer, Thomas Jefferson could hardly restrain himself when he wanted a special object for Monticello, his beloved estate. After the Revolution, for example, Jefferson served the new nation in London and Paris, and when he was not performing official duties, he indulged his almost insatiable appetite for shopping ... Betraying a side of his character that often escapes modern comment, Jefferson informed Madame de Corney that the "splendor of their [the English] shops... is all that is worth seeing in London." His consumer frenzy embarrassed his old friend the marquis de Lafayette, who on one occasion admonished Jefferson to exercise more self-control in the stores. Jefferson responded weakly, 'It is not from a love of the English, but a love of myself that I sometimes find myself obliged to buy their manufactures.'"

-T. H. Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

[Hannah]: Researching Revolutionary Virginia

[On life among Virginia plantation families, where white men for many generations had children by their slaves - the children remained in slavery and lived and worked for their fathers or were sold to nearby plantations...]
"To his surprise, Washington discovered in 1760 that a Mount Vernon slave was the offspring of another prominent white family: "I was informd that Colo. Cocke was disgusted at my House, and left it because he [saw] an old Negroe there resembling his own image."


[On "Black Jack" Custis, the father of Martha Washington's first husband, who had a child in his old age by a slave, and who loved this child far more than he loved his much-older legitimate son]:
"History has been carefully shaped to suppress evidence of cracks in the slave system and distort the actions of the masters and mistresses who deviated from orthodoxy... Washington's preeminent biographer, Douglas Southall Friedman, embellishes the Black Jack cover story by portraying Custis as a lunatic, writing that his "eccentricities were daily more marked and, in some ways, alarming. [He] had developed, in particular, an inexplicable fancy for a little slave boy named Jack, and once, after a madly unreasoning outburst of temper against [the older son] Daniel, actually was believed to have made a will in which he left nothing to his children and his entire estate to the small Negro."


- Henry Wienceck, An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America

Monday, November 17, 2008

Melinama does Illustration Friday: "Pretend."

Once again, there isn't enough time in an afternoon to cut a woodblock! So I whittled away at it some more this morning (getting tiny wood chips all over my bathrobe) and then scanned the block itself.

I was thinking of one of the most mind-changing things anybody ever said to me: my "first love," a philosophy major, used to quote Wittgenstein at me constantly, and one of his favorite Wittgenstein quotes was: "We are what we pretend to be."

This was huge, because my self-confidence was low and I was always afraid my mother's curse ("nobody will ever love you because you don't love anybody but yourself") was going to ruin my life. I realized that if I pretended to be a kind, loving person, and I pretended hard, all the time, then the fact that I might in fact be what my mother thought me to be wouldn't matter. I could be what I pretended to be.

It's part of what attracted me to Judaism, in fact: Judaism doesn't emphasis the need for your heart to BE pure, it emphasizes the need for you to DO good and correct things. I have my suspicious about my heart: how would I know if it were pure? But I'm action oriented, and understand doing.

When I looked up the quote, I was surprised to see it attributed to Kurt Vonnegut. Looking some more, however, I found it attributed to Socrates, and since he came first of the three, he gets the honors.

I was plentifully criticized for this woodcut by my son Ezra. He thought it made no sense at all. My idea: an ordinary (though androgynous) being is dressing up like Mighty Mouse and trying to be like him/her, although it doesn't come naturally. Evidently it was a complete failure. Unlike a drawing, though, it can't be fixed with an eraser. Some other time, maybe.

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Mark does Illustration Friday: "Pretend."

PRETEND

"Let's pretend humans are kind," said the raven to the monkey.

"Some are, some aren't," said the monkey after some consideration, "and I see no reason to pretend otherwise."

Mark



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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Death to clamshells.

Hannah and I have both blogged about our dangerous and enraging experiences with sadistic packages.

Extracts from
Packages You Won't Need a Saw to Open
by Brad Stone And Matt Richtel for The New York Times

A number of retailers and manufacturers have a gift for holiday shoppers: product packaging that will not result in lacerations and stab wounds.

"I shouldn't have to start each Christmas morning with a needle nose pliers and wire cutters," said Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon.

Companies, including Amazon.com, Sony, Microsoft and Best Buy, have begun to create alternatives to the infuriating plastic "clamshell" packages and cruelly complex twist ties that make products like electronics and toys almost impossible for mere mortals to open without power tools.

Impregnable packaging has incited such frustration among consumers that an industry term has been coined for it — "wrap rage."

It has sent about 6,000 Americans each year to emergency rooms with injuries caused by trying to pry, stab and cut open their purchases, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

This month, Mr. Bezos pledged to lead the charge into a new era of nonhostile containers.

In Amazon's "frustration-free packaging" initiative ... companies will ship some of their best-selling products to Amazon in cardboard boxes that don't fight back.

Such a campaign is relatively easy for Amazon, of course, because it does not need to worry about ... whether items will disappear inside shoppers' jacket pockets.

Sony's project, optimistically called "death of the clamshell," ... uses an adhesive that is easy to pry open but makes a loud Velcro-like noise — intended to deter thieves.

At its annual sales and marketing meeting [Sony] showed a humorous video of four consumers struggling to open Sony products. One of them resorted to a hacksaw, another used his teeth and a third cut his finger.

A decade ago ... retailers decided they needed to attract shoppers by showing off items on shelves in clear plastic, instead of opaque boxes. ... they decided to seal the hinges of containers with tough epoxy that would resist shoplifting, or what retailers call "shrinkage."

Most shoppers know what happened next. There are the injuries, of course. And tool makers found a thriving market for blade-bristling implements to defeat the clamshell, with names like the Plastic Surgeon and the Package Shark.

For the last few years, Consumer Reports has published an annual Oyster Awards for the clamshell packages that are most frustrating to open. Last year's winner: an Oral-B sonic toothbrush kit from Procter & Gamble and the Bratz Sisterz dolls from MGA Entertainment, which took an adult tester eight and a half minutes to open.

For consumers like Lisa Martin, a mother of two from Chicago, such packaging means exhausting birthday mornings as her young children wonder impatiently why a cluster of adults are stabbing at their new presents with knives and scissors.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A pragmatic plumbing post, or, how I spent my Friday and Saturday nights.

When you live (mostly) alone - which is to say, my son is here for now but we're sort of in "parallel play" mode - there are things you don't attend to, because they don't inconvenience anybody but you.

Some people call this HOUSE BLIND. Without having to look at, or think about, the differences between your home and the nice homes other people probably live in, you nimbly thread your way around piles of papers and books and/or, in my case, boxes of woodblocks and chisels and bags of donkey and chicken food.

Sometimes it takes a visitor to snap you out of it. In this particular case, it was one of the nice cleaning ladies who blaze through my house every other week in about 35 minutes. She meekly asked me, in Spanish, if I realized my tub drain (sumidero) was stopped up.

Well, that's embarrassing. Yes, it's been slow for quite some time, but I've framed it as: "a daily opportunity to soften my feet by submersion while showering."

As a matter of fact, I'd been planning to snake it for months, but I wasn't sure where my snake was. So finally I actually looked for it - in all the usual places - but it was gone. Who did I lend it to? I can't remember.

Getting around to all that took a week or so.

Then it took a couple more resentful days to accept the sad truth: I'd have to buy a new snake.

I bought a new snake and took it upstairs and unscrewed and removed the strainer and then stared in frustration at the lower assembly: the holes were too small to put the snake through.

Now it's getting kind of late, and I'm getting kind of impatient, and I announce to my son in the next room: "I'm about to do something I shouldn't do." He avers: "Well, there's nothing much I can do about that."

He knows me well.

I go get my drill and a big drill bit. I realize it's tight quarters in that drain, and I realize drills jump unpredictably when you put them through metal, but I say to myself (knowing it's stupid): "maybe I can just aim the drill towards the center of the drain and it will just neatly make a larger hole that the snake will go through."

Well, of course, it didn't. The drill jumped and I put it right through the plastic drain pipe.

So, unsurprised, I announced to my son: "I drilled through the drain pipe," and then I called my bandmate Bob and left him a message: "I drilled through the drain pipe," and he called back and said, "send me pictures," so I sent him pictures, and he said he'd come fix it.

So he came, and he had to cut two holes in the living room ceiling sheetrock, and he cut out the wrecked part of the pipe (he thinks it's sort of artsy and I should sell it on eBay), and we went to Lowes and bought a new one, and he put it all back together after snaking it, and then he rushed off so as not to be late for his beach trip with his girlfriend.

He was very kind. He may not have gone so far as to say: "Lots of people drill through their drain pipes," but he did console me: "it would have been very hard to snake that drain without removing the trap, you might have had to do it anyway."

So now that the shower was in good shape, I decided to tackle the toilet, which I stopped using a few months ago because it wouldn't flush, or rather, it was so feeble even a most forceful lever-push barely disturbed the serene waters.

Bob thought I'd probably have to get a new one, but when I moaned about all those toilets in the landfills, he gave me something to try before giving up.

So I was on my knees with a coathanger, sticking it through all the little holes on the underside of the rim and scratching away at the mineral deposits. Then, on Bob's recommendation, I put a dish towel in a ziplock bag and stuffed it down the hole and turned off the water and then poured a bunch of lime-away type stuff in the tank and flushed lots of times and scraped some more and ladled the water back into the tank and flushed lots more times.

It didn't really help.

The great breakthrough, so to speak, was realizing the main port at the bottom of the bowl (a hole about the size of a nickel, at the front of the toilet) was crystalized with great stalagmites and stalagtites of water minerals. The hole had been so reduced in diameter, hardly any water was getting through at all.

So I got various chisels and screwdrivers and allen wrenches and whatever I thought might successfully attack the mineral incrustation. On my knees again, I chipped away for a long time, thinking this was arguably not the best way a person could spend a Saturday night, but whatever, voilà! The toilet's as good as new!

So to celebrate, I flushed. Were you expecting a more exciting end to this story?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

[Hannah] ... is trying to write a short paper

“Woodrow Wilson was once asked how long it took him to write a speech. He answered, 'That depends. If I am to speak 10 minutes, I need a week for preparation. If 15 minutes, 3 days. If half hour, two days. If an hour, I am ready now.'”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Melinama does Illustration Friday: "Wise." Also, thoughts on the Endi Poskovic color woodblock workshop.


I'm glad I was able to persuade Mark to go to the Endi Poskovic workshop with me. Endi is a Bosnian artist who is particularly known for his large multi-block color prints and is a tenured professor at University of Michigan.

The workshop was held in Raleigh at ArtSpace, a building I'd never visited before. Its high ceilings and bright, airy quality are inspiring. We had a lovely large room for our work (about a dozen students). Beforehand we walked through the halls looking at the exhibited works of the artists who rent studios there.

Each of us was expected to design and cut a key block (the black one) and then a second color block, and then ink and print the color proof, over the course of the two days. Pieces of 9x12 MDF (medium density fiberboard) were provided and we worked like crazy between demonstrations, slide shows, etc.

It was thought-provoking to watch Endi work. He is extremely methodical. Where work is concerned, time stands still for him. He puts 100-400 hours of block-cutting into each of his works. He spends an entire day mixing inks and does not even print on that day. He spends a couple of hours burnishing one color into one piece of paper. I could see that as he sat to help a student, he went into a focus so intense the clock stopped. I think he would burnish until the lights went out and the cinderblocks crumbled.

It's certainly obvious now why my woodblocks have been unsuccessful. I had the idea that one should be able to crank them out, one after another, at an efficient rate. This has nothing to do with the reality of what Endi showed us.

The most important thing I learned: I don't want to do color woodblocks. I like blockprints better when they're black and white, and, should I have a hankering to color them, I'll do it with paint.

The amount of wasted paint made me want to weep. It reminded me of this commercial Loretta Lynn did for Crisco Oil when I was a kid - she poured a ton of oil into a pan, fried her chicken, then (evidently) poured the oil back in the bottle and demonstrated that only a scant tablespoon of oil was actually absorbed by the chicken skin. See, it takes a ton of this very expensive block print ink to get the process started - it's blobbed out on a piece of glass, treated with burnt plate oil and magnesium carbonate, and then it's stirred and folded by spatula for a long time, and then some is spread on another piece of glass, and brayered out to a thin layer, and then meticulously rolled onto the plate. When it's all said and done, Edni probably made 80 percent more ink than actually went on the plates. Then you have to wash all the glass plates, and the brayer, and the blocks. So most of the ink, seemingly, went down the sink during the cleaning process.

Some people actually tried to save ink by folding it into squares of Saran Wrap, but I shudder imagining them trying to unfold those sticky ink squares at home...

Endi told us that the art departments at some universities had "moved so far to the left" in recent times that they had disdain for physical objects like paintings, sculptures, and prints. (Many digital artists wonder why anybody would be such a Luddite as to bother with paint and ink and oil and expensive paper and all the other expensive, time consuming art paraphernalia when they could get 90 percent of the effect with 10 percent of the effort and one percent of the expense.) Now, though, he says, the pendulum swings and a craft as seemingly outmoded as his is the new cutting edge. Everything old is new again.

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Mark does Illustration Friday: "Wise."

Wise Monkey in Forest

Blockprint made in Endi Poskovic's color blockprint workshop, November 8-9 2008.

Mark Chandler



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Thursday, November 06, 2008

News dribbles in about Sarah Palin...

(Right: my "Sarah Palin with Oil Derrick and Polar Bears" postcard which is still available)...

In this article by conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic (Sullivan's tagline is from Orwell: "To see what is in front of one's nose is a constant struggle"), called The Odd Truths About Sarah Palin II: Africa Is A Country, he writes:
Well, it looks as if she may be the gift that keeps on giving. The narrative is now beginning to look something like this: the McCain campaign picked her essentially out of a hat...

They did no vetting. They assumed she wasn't completely out of her mind and dumb as a rock, which, one should concede, is not that big an assumption for a sitting governor with her approval ratings but still ...



Now all I want to say here, ahem, is that they realized all this about this person within a few days of picking her...
The friend who sent this link added: The Fox News folks, in case you don't want to listen to them, say it's now come out that when Sarah Palin was being prepped for her VP debate, her handlers determined that she did not know: 1) the nations in North America; 2) that Africa was a continent — with many countries — rather, simply, than a country.

Props to Fox for outing this story; shame on it for embargoing it until after the election….its outing now evidences that the recriminations are in high-gear (I love it when the evil eat their young).

My daughter sent along this info from Newsweek:
NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported.

While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill.

Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband.

Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

McCain himself rarely spoke to Palin during the campaign, and aides kept him in the dark about the details of her spending on clothes because they were sure he would be offended. Palin asked to speak along with McCain at his Arizona concession speech Tuesday night, but campaign strategist Steve Schmidt vetoed the request.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Mark does Illustration Friday: "Vacant."

LITTLE APE IN TREE

(Linocut 8" x 10")

I used the technique of white line cut to illustrate 'vacant' for IF this week. The image is formed by cutting material and relief printing what is left.

Mark
November 2nd, 2008



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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Melinama does Illustration Friday: "Vacant"

This is my take on the sheet music cover below, which was published in Richmond Virginia during the time of the Civil War.


I left out the decoration on the wall which looks like it's sprouting out of the widow's head.


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Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Hockey Mama for Obama

A friend sent me this. Hah! You have to wait all the way to the end to see what the pianist is wearing.

"The Undecideds"

As described by Gail Collins in the New York Times today:
Obama is going to be racing around from rally to rally over the final 96 hours — eight states in three time zones. Obama’s target audience is the 10 percent of voters who told this week’s New York Times/CBS News poll that they did not feel as if they had received enough information to make an informed decision on the presidential race.

I believe we have met them before. They are the men and women who get up at a town hall meeting after the candidate had just made a 20-minute opening speech about his/her plans for health care reform, and say: “What I want to know is, what are you going to do about medical costs?” My theory is that whenever they hear someone start to discuss the issues, they cover their ears and make humming noises, the way my husband does when I say it is time to take a look at our 401(k)s.

In The Times’s poll, the percentage of respondents who said that they weren’t totally sure who they were going to vote for was almost identical to the percentage who said that they think the economy is doing well. Are they the same people? If so, perhaps they are still undecided because they are waiting to get their marching orders from well-informed friends like Abraham Lincoln, St. Catherine of Siena or Seabiscuit.

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