Category Archives: creativity

Artist Will Barnet dies at 101…

Will Barnet, a titan of the visual art world, died at his home in New York on Tuesday. He was 101.

His family said the cause of death was old age. “He died peacefully in his home,” said Phil Alexandre of New York’s Alexandre Gallery, which represented Barnet.

Barnet, an art educator and a lifelong champion of the arts, inspired generations of artists and lived long enough to enjoy many honors that most artists receive only posthumously. In 2011, President Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor for an individual artist in the United States.

This year, France recognized him with the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Barnet and his wife, Elena, lived in a duplex at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park in Manhattan. They were without power for a few days because of Superstorm Sandy, and had to move to a warmer apartment.

“Woman Reading” by Will Barnet

Barnet got “a touch of pneumonia” during the power outage, Alexandre said, but had been feeling better in recent days.

His daughter, Ona, said her father visited many art galleries on Saturday, “doing what he loved the most.”

Hard of hearing and unable to walk, Barnet never allowed his physical ailments to limit his love of art, said a longtime friend, Ira Goldberg, executive director of the Arts Students League of New York, where Barnet studied and taught.

He was as committed to his work at 101 as he was when he was a young man making his way in New York, Goldberg said.

Barnett was probably best known for paintings and prints of women with their cats.

[thanks to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald]

 

Just finished my MRI…

Elly and Cassandra say I had a seizure going into the test… apparently I was “babbling”…but I don’t remember it. I was under the MRI’s spell for about an hour. Now we are having dinner and getting ready to drive back home.

They have added 2 more doctors appointments in Hagerstown tomorrow. There goes my last day off. I’ll be glad when the brain surgery is all over with this weekend.

Posting from my iPhone is a new experience for me. These fat fingers on a teensy keyboard really means not much writing. Sorry.

OK… it’s off to Georgetown today for the last day of tests before surgery…

Something called “Pre-Surgical Intake” and ending with a new MRI. Then we’ll be chugging back to Harpers Ferry, I get a day off and on Thursday night I’m back in Georgetown at the hotel next to the hospital waiting to have a hole drilled in my head the next day.

Looks like we’ll be driving down in the rain.

I can’t say this is the week I’m looking forward to, but if it ends up solving the problem of my seizures and other things and I am allowed to drive a car again someday (that’s something a guy who goes around to visit friends really misses!) and maybe live a while longer who could complain?

Hey… a note to my wife… Let’s assume I’m going to make Christmas this year. Know what I want? The new DVD of the revival of Sondheim’s company with Neil Patrick Harris, Patty LuPone and… Stephen Colbert! You can get it at Amazon.  Don’t order it until after Saturday.

 

Quote of the Day – The man with the Romney Tattoo

Remember Eric Hartsburg?  He was paid $15,000 to get a five inch Romney campaign tattoo on his face. Hartsburg did it as an auction. His only requirement for bidding on the ‘ad space’ was that it could not be racist or offensive.

 

“I’m the guy who has egg all over his face, but instead of egg, it’s a big Romney/Ryan tattoo. It’s there for life.
“I’m hoping this opens some other doors in the entertainment business.”

Hmmm. Opening doors in the entertainment business? I was trying to think of a situation where that would be possible, outside of a film about Romney’s loss… not something I see much of a market for. Perhaps the logo could be sold to an auto manufacturer (Rolls Royce?) and Hartsman could become a car dealer’s mascot.

How much do you want to bet that Hartsman will be whining about the tattoo to his grandchildren.

 

Favorite Television Shows?

Since I’ve been forced to stay pretty still most of the day I have been watching a lot of television (and thanks to Infinity I can go back and see many shows I’ve missed over the months) and have developed a list of shows I don’t want to miss. Act6ually, I’d repeat watching many of them several times (I often fall asleep before the end due to my condition and I want to find out what happened.)

Yesterday my daughter Cassandra and I discovered we liked a lot of the same shows. Oh, there were differences, but so many of the major ones were on both of our lists that I was sure I had had a child who was just like me.

I know you probably have favorite shows, too. Here is my top seven:

  1. The Mentalist – I don’t know what it is about this one, but I am totally hooked on it. It’s Cassandra’s number 1 show as well.
  2. “Corky” Corcoran, my favorite “Copper” Cop

    Copper – Have you seen this one on BBC America? It’s the story of NYC cops in the 1860s during the late Civil War era and the conflict between the Irish slums of Five Points and the rich folk on 5th Avenue… not to mention the Confederate conspiracy to burn down New York with an explosive called “Greek Fire.” This one has finished it’s 10 shows of the season and is now running repeats. I guess the new season starts in January.

  3. Suits – New Episodes start in January, but you can see all the older one’s on USA Network‘s web site.
  4. White Collar – waiting for January for this one to come back for another season… really miss it.
  5. Covert Affairs – the current season is just ending, but I LOVE this little CIA girl and the stuff she gets into.
  6. Big Bang Theory – Got to have my favorite comedy in there.
  7. Burn Notice – which just came back for a seventh season last week. Watching Mike, Sam and the folks at work is sooo exciting.

I like “Vegas” on CBS, but the rumor is running around that it will be cancelled for low ratings. Too bad.

So, what are yours? Do you have the same esoteric crime and conspiracy lust that I do? If they had more shows like PBS’ Broadway Musicals (from 2004) which I have been watching the re-runs from, I’d be watching that stuff more.

I get most of my news from MSNBC and PBS. What’s life without starting the day with “Morning Joe?” or Sundays with CBS “Sunday Morning?”

 

Now that the Political Season is 0ver…

After the most expensive and longest and most frustrating presidential campaign in our history, we can now get back to0 the important stuff. To me, of course, that is the Arts, especially Visual Arts and Theatre. To kick off my searches and good feelings, here’s some verse by Kurt Vonnegut that my pal Joe Bratcher uploaded to Facebook:

I agree with you, Kurt. We have enough investment bankers, corporate execs and politicians already. Artists we need more of.

The questions you ask yourself…

I’m discovering as I face brain surgery and it’s unknown consequences that I find myself asking questions about what I have and have not accomplished over the last 66 or so years. It’s not a pleasant experience, btw, only one that makes me realize how many things I REALLY wanted to do which will probably never be realized. I guess, however, that this is common to just about everyone.

(Sorry… this is much longer than I expected and it will not hurt my feelings if you sign out right now,   – Bill)

Starting with the basics:

  • I have a wonderful wife who is taking care of me when she also maintains a full time teaching job that keeps us supported and in our mandatory health insurance mode.
  • I have three impressive and incredible grown children, Cassandra, Penny and Will (who we call Buddy… I don’t know where “Will” came from), and four wonderful grandsons, 3 in Maryland and one in Connecticut. (Allow me to say while I’m in this particular note about how lucky I am to have my son-in-law Matthew Corrigan in Connecticut who has made sure Cassandra could be down here with me during all of this.)
  • I set out many years ago for a life in the Arts, something I really discovered while a prep-school student at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA.  Between painting and sculpture creation under Lou LaVoie, drama and theatre discoveries under Tom Weisshaus, ending as President of the Drama Club where i acted, but didn’t do much in tech theatre, I was poised to take off when I headed for The School Of Speech/Theatre Department at Northwestern University in 1964.

And just what did I do that I remember proudly?:

  • After I discovered systems analysis through an amazing engineer, art collector and professor, Dr. Gustave J. Rath, I created my first small theatre company, Systems Theatre, which applied this amazing intellectual technology to performance creation. Our first major production was an adaptation of Frank Zappa’s “Lumpy Gravy” which eventually played Chicago’s Performing Warehouse between sets by the two great bluesmen B.B. King and Albert King (who I got to give a ride home to later… wow!) When I ended up in NYC in 1971 I restarted Systems Theatre with some of the same people who were with me at Northwestern
  • There were a couple of plays that we did at Theatre at St. Clement’s, one of the really great off-off Broadway locations in the city. Well reviewed, well attended and most important to me was my adaptation of Thomas Merton’s “Original Child Bomb” which had gothic-y chants composed by a wonderful musician, Ed Roberts, who I had met when teaching for a year at Tabor. Ed and I went on to do several shows together… at St. Clement’s and other places. My greatest pride came in a project we did a little later:
  • Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”, an opera for children, was presented at the Whitney

    The Whitney

    Museum of American Art, thanks to a contact I made with one of the most  influential people in my life and someone who I am so proud to call a friend today, Berta Walker. Berta was working as the Administrative Assistant to Steve Weil at the Whitney and was looking for children’s programming. Ed and I suggested doing “Snark” which we had just started working on and now we had a reason for pushing through. We opened to great reception at the Whitney and, a little bit later on, Berta and I produced it for a few weekends at a little theater on the East Side of Manhattan. Following that, it was taken to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, a major museum which had been started by Berta’s grandfather, where it was also successful.

  • My friend and former Northwestern student John Driver, who played the original Bellman in “Snark” had been writing a musical based on Samurai warrior Mushami called “Ride The Wind” with pretty much of a rock ‘n roll score and martial arts based choreography. This was during the time that “Kung Fu” was a big television show, and we thought we were really on something here, so Berta and I decided to produce it (the company we created was called Snarkophilus Productions after our big success). We started out aiming for Off-Broadway, but then the Bijou Theater, a little house at the end of Shubert Alley, became available and we booked it. We were now a Broadway show… albeit a very small one. My set design professor, Sam Ball, agreed to do the sets, which were built by Northwestern students and which I brought to New York driving a truck across country. A number of the actors who auditioned were folks I had known from the New Theatre Workshop, a small non-profit group which acted as a try-out location for new plays that writers were working on. I was their stage electrician for a year before they tore the theater down to build the CitiPlace Center on 57th Street.
  • Unfortunately, “Ride The Winds” didn’t pass the New York Times test and I was no longer a Broadway producer.
  • I had to work, so I took a job as Administrator of the Jamaica Arts Center in Queens, where I structured classes, set up concerts, scheduled movies and ran the books. It was there I met Elly, my current wife, who I hired to teach Photography in the class size darkroom I had built in the Center’s basement (I took up photography, too… something I really loved.)  Eddy came down and we did a little revival of “Snark” in Jamaica for the kids in Queens. When I was hired later on by The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, by their Board President (you can probably see this coming… it was Berta Walker), Elly came with me and we settled in on  lower Cape Cod. I helped the Work Center fund raise, grow and prosper over three years, then spent another three years on it’s Board. Elly and I however, moved down to the mid-Cape where we started a business that would keep us in debt and development for the next decade: Our photo studio, Photography Associates of New England Inc., and U-Design, Inc.
  • The appearance of the Apple Macintosh computer, the laser printer, a piece of software called Aldus PageMaker and things like scanners, modems, etc., inspired us to set up a rental-area business where folks would come in, rent space in a booth, and lay out, with our help, their ads and brochures. After a couple of years, we moved it to Hartford, CT… back in my home state. At one point we had U-Designs in three cities in CT (that was a mistake!) and we started doing more jobs for clients ourselves rather than booth rentals. We worked with major and minor companies, lots of non-profits, plus we offered desktop publishing classes. At one time we had a dozen or so employees. During this time I did no theatre, maybe a little painting, but not much (Elly was our painter and her work was wonderful.) While in Marlborough, however, I was recruited to be a Justice of the Peace, where I married several couples (I specialized in non-believers who I thought should have a person of their own.) I did start designing computer fonts at this time… still do it, especially my “picture fonts” which have been used on this blog many times. U-Design Type Foundry has attracted hundreds of buyers, for which I have great appreciation.

More recent years… “Things fall apart, the center does not hold” – TS Eliot.

  • We had built a passive solar house in Marlborough, CT, where we moved so Buddy could go to school there and we could lead the suburban life (eventually, we moved the last vestige of U-Design to Marlborough where it finally ended up in our house until it died.) I started going out and getting jobs as an Information Technologist at some larger companies, finally ending up at Computer Sciences Corporation, where I spent five working years. For most of that I was commuting to the Maryland-DC area every week to do a major piece of work for the Internal Revenue Service with a bunch of my colleagues. I made more money here than I ever had before. When my whole department was laid off after three years I even got six months of part-time work for the IRS itself to finish some of the project stuff.
  • Elly and I sold the Marlborough house and bought a historic co-op space in Old Greenbelt, MD, where I was still doing CSC work. Eventually, when there was no more work and a guy in his late fifties had a hard time finding IT jobs when the market was stuffed with lower earning young guys. I had to take early retirement which, thanks to CSC’s salary, brought me a higher Social Security than I had expected. Elly took a teaching job in Graphic Design at Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, MD, and we eventually moved to

    Ride The Winds

    Hagerstown, then Shepherdstown (our favorite) and now Harper’s Ferry. While I was living in Greenbelt, I got involved with two community theatres, the Laurel Mill Playhouse and the Greenbelt Arts Center. Amazingly enough, with the entrance to all of this I made by meeting Linda Bartash, I directed several plays and musicals. The highlight of these was a revival of “Ride The Winds” which I got John Driver to rewrite the second act for. It was well-reviewed in the Washington Post and local papers and I breathed a sight of final relief. I also, amid all the shows I did, had a really good production of that unusual musical “Urinetown” at Greenbelt, also a success.

  • I got involved with a new Community Theater in Shepherdstown, The Full Circle Theater, where I

    The Hunting of the Snark, in Shepherdstown

    became the House Electrician and ran lights on a bunch of shows, And then, can you believe it, I go to to do a revival of “The Hunting of the Snark” and Eddy, who was then living in Pennsylvania, came down from time to time to help my friend and music director, Ruth Raubertas, get our favorite opera for kids off the ground. Everyone seemed to like it, but this was my last chance to direct anything and I sank into an ongoing depression hoping I would get to do it again some day. I don’t think, now, that it will happen. I have to say, though, that I made a great friend of John Case who played the Butcher in that last production. John had a weekday morning radio show on WSCH 89.7FM on Shepherd University’s radio station and originally he invited me on for an interview and eventually I was on every Friday, which John started promoting as “The Bill and John Show.” I guess I did OK, since a few months later the station manager, Todd Cottgreave, gave me a show of my own on Saturday mornings which I called “Talk To Me” and which I made into a call-in production. I think the radio shows really saved my intelligence and ability to carry on while under depression.

So those are things I’ve been thinking about. What I haven’t discussed here is this blog, which is the major occupation of an old, retired guy’s day. I hope I can keep it going for years (as you can see, I love to talk)… if it has to cease, however, someone will put up a final post.

Time to feed the dogs.

So the world’s culture changes… not necessarily for the better…

Is our view of social interaction unusually influenced by television crime drama? You Betcha!

For instance:

Dorothy, Dorothy! And what are you doing with your attack dog Toto?

Hey, did you see that they auctioned off the gingham dress that Judy Garland wore in the movie for $480,000.00?

Ever make out a “living will?”

My daughter, wife, son and daughter-in-law are all participating in making out the details for a “living will“… I guess they are worried about what to do with my books and check-protector collection and fat-man clothes and other stuff.

They need to know if I’ll allow an autopsey, or whether I want to be cremated or buried or stuffed and distributed on a timely basis to decorate the homes of family members. They need to know if I want to stay alive in a vegetative state. Nothing I’ve really thought about before.

They are doing all this by following instructions in a book (“In the Checklist of Life“) by Elly and my old friend and former employee Lynn McPhelimy who developed this stuff thirty years ago.

This has been helpful to many people in our family… Elly gave many of them copies of Lynn’s book as holiday gifts one year. You can get it, too… just go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/In-Checklist-Life-Working-Leave/dp/0965784355b   where it costs under $20.00.

If you are planning last days of any family member, or yourself, you may want to consider one of the many five-star reviews that have appeared on Amazon:

This is an excellent book. Everyone needs to have one of these. I have filled out every page that applies. I told my whole family where it is located should my untimely death occur. I have had to plan and attend many funerals and when there is no plan it can make things difficult and stressful. It you take the time to fill out these pages, even some of them, it will help your family in a time of sorrow and confusion. This book is best for the division of property and sentimental items. It is also a good idea to have a living will and trust. Anyone who’s ever had to go through probate or a difficult family situation can relate. For those who haven’t, just know that death can often do strange things to people and even the most loving of families can be divided over who gets what. Get this book as a great start to planning an inevitable part of life.

…or this one:

“In the Checklist of Life” was a book that I found to be indispensable. In retrospect, after losing someone close to you, you realize how important this book really is. I have always joked with my family about writing my own obituary, and here is my very own chapter in which to do just that. The chapter about your pets is one that should not be missed for all pet lovers. This book is smart, it’s funny, it makes you think, it makes you cry. Be kind to your family and fill in the pages of this wonderful book. They will forever be thankful.

As I think about what might go wrong with the surgery I’m having next Friday, this will keep most of my family feeling much more secure.  Thanks, Lynn.

 

Hey Radio Fans… I’ll be on from 10:30 to Noon today…

This will probably be the last time in the next two weeks that I can be on the air, given my forthcoming hospital visit next week. So… I’ll be thrilled to get your call-ins on “Talk To Me” (304-876-5369).b You can talk about anything you want to, as usual, or make an esoteric music request that you challenge me to find in a few minutes… it’s always fun for me.

If you are not in the 50 mile radius of WSHC at 89.7 FM, Shepherdstown WV, then you can go to 897wshc.org/listen-live. There are folks all over the country who listen, now (and a few friends in other countries) and I look forward to playing for everyone.

So, tune in this morning to “Talk To Me”. BTW, my daughter, Cassandra (from Connecticut) is my guest this morning. You can talk to her, too.

- Bill

 

 

I have such an urge to direct again…

… and what I really am eager to do is a production of the 1953 musical “Kismet“, whose music was adapted from classical work of Borodin.

The wonderful Arabian Nights story of 16th Century Baghdad about a fortune teller, a Wazir, a young Caliph and two very lovely women is something I have loved most of my life.

Many of it’s musical numbers became song classics. “Baubles, Bangles and Beads“, “Stranger in Paradise” and this:


“This is My Beloved.”

The show was a starring vehicle for Alfred Drake and the Broadway debut of Richard Kiley.

Unfortunately, my current physical condition makes it seem like I will never be able to direct again. If the tumor is removed it will probably endanger the part of my brain where cognitive creativity is connected. If we don’t solve the problem and I keep having seizures I will never be able to drive again and won’t be able to put in the solid effort that coordinating a musical production, especially a large and complex one as this, would be very difficult. It could certainly, however, make West Virginia community theatre history.

And then I have to find one of the local community playhouses who might let me do it… find 20 great performers … get a nice piano score for my dear collaborator Ruth Robertas to play from… and find a local choreographer who can bring the dancing girls to life.

If I get through this surgery and all that accompanies it, it will take at least a year before I can even get started (apart from notes I am doing now) putting it together. One can hope. It gives me something to focus on.

 

My daughter, Cassandra, has come down from Connecticut and is helping my wife coordinate all the brain surgery problems…

I don’t know what I would do if I were on my own, here, dealing with doctors changing schedules without giving us warning, accidentally taking medications that should have been discontinued before certain tests, getting up at 5:00 every morning to get into three or four appointments which don’t seem to get us anywhere.

The newest big problem is reports we have gotten from friends, employees of the hospital and others, where we have been told that the particular hospital we were going to have the surgery in is not one ANY of them would use. Isn’t that thrilling?

Now we are in a holding position. We haven’t cancelled the now set Monday surgery or anything, but tomorrow we are interviewing another practice at a much better hospital with a much better reputation and this may stop everything and set up a new schedule.

Cassandra

Fortunately for me, my daughter Cassandra Corrigan who is a private school Senior Database Administrator in Connecticut (Loomis, Chaffee School), took off from work, drove down here to West Virginia, and has been coordinating with my wife on getting all the papers ready, information on MRIs and other tests that have been collected in the last couple of weeks to bring to Ge0rgetown, down near DC, for the new practice interviews. We will be making a new decision after that, so surgery will most likely be postponed some more.

I am so impressed with Cassandra… my first-born, a fine wife and mother and a brilliant woman. I taught her to use her first computer and now she outshines and outperforms me in all things technical. Wow! And she and my two other kids (can you still call them kids after they are older, married and out of the house?), my Mother, My sister and so many friends have been so concerned that the phone doesn’t seem to stop ringing with folks wanting to know what’s happening.

Cassandra is just doing a spectacular job of getting me organized with all of this. I don’t know what I’ll do when she goes back up to the snow.

We’ve spent this morning and into the afternoon tracking down test reports from four doctors’ offices and we had a new blood test at a lab… and Elly got to go to work and teach her classes while my daughter brought me from office to office. I’m so glad Elly got to go to work today… she’s been giving up so much of her time for me, and when you are in a one-income household, the thought of impacting that one income is awesome.

Getting this election over with is becoming an evening of sheer misery…

It’s not enough that I am going in for tests before my Friday brain surgery at 6:30 AM tomorrow and go through four different doctors and three tests by 2:30 PM…just getting my mind in the mood for that doesn’t let me bond with the TV pundits who are arguing out the campaign results they can’t really call.

Thinking about how miserable it would be if Romney won, but that is not nearly as bad as thinking about how graceless in their concessions the losers will be if Obama and the Democratic Congressional candidates win. Nobody seems to really be trying to tie the country together and make us the UNITED states that we have to become.

BTW, I want to really think the hundreds of you who have wished me well by e-mail, in Facebook, and those of you who have commented on this blog.  I never really knew how many of you visit the LobsterScope and it’s daily changing graphic background and what my daughter calls the rantings of an old man. I hope I’ll be back at full speed next week some time, but it will be hard to keep it up now through the weekend. Don’t be surprised if a day has no or only one post… and don’t plan on anything Friday or Saturday.

Those of you who listen to me on the radio at WSHC 89.7 Shepherdstown, either locally or on the worldwide live feed at http://897wshc.org , won’t hear me this weekend. I got friends and fellows to cover my time on the air and I thank all of them.

If you are in a state that has late polls open and you haven’t voted yet, get out there and do it. People have died for your right to vote!

Bye now… Bill.

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

Here’s a video treat from ALL HAT NO CATTLE…

…the one blog I try to view every day. This is a video that Lisa put together Called “Back in the Good Old Days” which is a good indicator that Romney will bring Bushiness back to us.

 

Hope you enjoy it. I sure did!

 

Hey radio fans… we have a special schedule today due to football season:

My “Talk To Me” show will be on WSHC this morning from 10:30 AM to Noon. We’ll have 90 minutes for your eclectic song requests, discussion of politics with 3 days to go until all of this is decided, and perhaps some comments on the results of Sandy.

If you are too far away to call in at 304-876-5369 remember you can also Listen Live at our web site from anywhere in the world. Just go to 579WSHC.org and click on “Listen Live” and you can join our regular morning call-in group (join Ralph, Stu, Bobby and Oinky and the rest of the gang… we’d love to have you on the team.

Elliott Simon’s shown is on before ours from 9:00 to 10:30 AM.

OK… I’m putting my show together so I can get out of the house on time.

 

Tell Mitt Romney: Climate Change Isn’t A Joke

Much of the nation is reeling from Superstorm Sandy. As families rebuild from Sandy’s destruction, our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific, fossil-fueled storm.

When Gov. Mitt Romney made climate change a punch line at the Republican National Convention, he mocked a real threat to the lives of Americans.

We can’t let Mitt get away with his laughing dismissal of the threat of rising seas caused by the carbon polluters who fund his campaign. Share this ad with friends and family to tell Romney: climate change isn’t a joke.

Ref: Three Ways Climate Change Made Hurricane Sandy Worse

 

Thanks to Climate Silence.org.

Realizing how much I have come to depend on my wonderful Superfocus glasses.

For the last few weeks I have been wearing my new Superfocus Leonardos, the new Italian design frames for the amazing focusable glasses I discovered a couple of years ago.

My original pair is a very modernist design called Bauhaus. My wife was so impressed with them that she bought a pair as well.

People are always asking “Where do you get those glasses?” and we give people the source and refer them to the Superfocus web site, show them the Penn Gillette ads, and demonstrate the ease of use and the focusing action of our specs.

The Bauhaus focuses with a sliding device and the new Leonardos have a rotating dial that is virtually invisible to onlookers. Both methods are very easy to use and I am so used to them I rarely even realize that I’m carrying out the focusing.

Interested? Go Here:

Halloween tonight…

Elly works late today, so the dogs and I will be ready to greet any costumed kids who come to the door with a bowl of miniature candy bars. I know this is going to drive my dogs crazy, but I’ll put up with it.

It looks like the rain has finally stopped outside. Hopefully it will stay this way. It would be very unfortunate for kids to have to go house to house in the rain. Out here in rural Harper’s Ferry the houses are spread pretty widely apart and it would be a very wet walk.

So I’m wishing all of you a happy Halloween out there. Let it turn a Wednesday evening into fun.

 

NOT SURE HOW MUCH SANDY IS GOING TO EFFECT THE EASTERN PANHANDLE…

But the animations the weather shows are presenting have rainstorms crossing over us… apparently we’re about as far to the west as any of this will reach and I can’t imagine it will be like a nor’easter or a tropical hurricane.

To make sure what’s happening however, I’m hanging out the Weather Forecasting Stone:

I have absolute confidence in the stone’s accuracy. Don’t you wish you had one?

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Election is crawling toward it’s end. I am sooo thankful.

I’ll be so glad when all this election brouhaha is over. I’ll be so depressed if Romney captures a majority of American votes… in other words, I will think so much is wrong with this country’s education policies.

Bob Englehart in the The Hartford Courant:

So how likely is it that doing tax favors for the top 1% will raise the job totals?

- and -

Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

At least Romney makes it clear who his support base won’t be…

- and -

Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

One day women might disable the positions of Romney and his buddies…

- and -

David Fitzsimmons in The Arizona Daily Star:

Some time accusations reverse themselves to define the accuser.

- and -

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Foreign policy requires a lot of basic knowledge. Romney doesn’t seem to have any.

 

 

Educator and Cultural Critic Jacques Barzun Dies at 104;

 

Historian, essayist, cultural gadfly and educator Jacques Barzun, who helped establish the modern discipline of cultural history, was probably best known for viewing the West as sliding toward decadence. He died Thursday night at his home in San Antonio.  He was 104.

His remarkable curiosity and manifold interests and accomplishments, encompassed both Berlioz and baseball (and many other subjects.) He stood with Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell and Lionel Trilling as one of  the mid-20th century’s most wide-ranging scholars. He tried to reconcile the achievements of European philosophy and culture with the very different American intellect and culture.

He wrote dozens of books across many decades, demonstrating that old age did not necessarily mean intellectual decline. He published his most ambitious and encyclopedic book at the age of 92 (and credited his productivity in part to chronic insomnia). That work, “From Dawn to Decadence,” is an 877-page survey of 500 years of Western culture in which he argued that Western civilization itself had entered a period of decline.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Barzun showed little interest in taking political positions. This was partly because he became a university administrator and had to stand above the fray, and partly because he approached the world with a detached civility and a sardonic skepticism about intellectual life.

He traced periods of rise and fall in the Western saga, and contended that another fall was near — one that could cause “the liquidation of 500 years of civilization.” It looks like he won’t be around to see it.

 

Friday Morning Humor – What if Men were treated like Women?

I found this yesterday and, believe me, this is a clear statement:

There you go, Ladies… pass it around.

If you plan on copying posts from this blog for use on other sites…

So many people re-use the things I publish (which is something, for the most part, that I appreciate) that I thought some understanding of copyright rules are in order. I have therefore put the link to my Creative Commons License on the title bar so you can review those rules.   – Bill

Some words about this blog and me…

I often get e-mail from folks out there in the web world who want to know about Under The LobsterScope and why I keep it going and put a major part of each day into it. It is for that reason that I’ve decided to say a few things that will clarify my relationship with UTL and, perhaps, encourage you to get involved as a commentor.

I started this blog through another editing site, Blogspot, during the 2004 presidential election year. I did several thousand entries over five years or so and then something happened. For some reason, someone got into my blog at Blogspot and did some fairly confusing stuff leaving it impossible for me to post on. I cancelled my relationship with Blogspot and over 4000 posts ago I started UTL up again through WordPress where it remains today.

While I was interested in electoral politics (originally in Maryland before my wife and I moved to West Virginia), my biggest interest at the time – and even now, a little – was in theatre directing. I got to do a couple of musicals and some plays at local community theatres and spent a lot of time attending theatre events (one of the reasons we moved to the Shepherdstown, WV, area was to be closer to the Contemporary American Theater Festival which we attend every year.

I also have a great interest in the visual arts… Elly’s background is as a painter and visual artist. That means heading off to galleries locally, in DC and other places. Add to the visual stuff an interest in music and poetry and dance. The arts in general are very important parts of my life.

As to politics, during the past couple of years beginning with the election of Barack Obama, I have become more and more an active Democrat and have felt it is my obligation, since this is a published item read by thousands of people a week, to expose the really awful things Republicans and extreme conservatives are trying to pull off.

Several of you have also noted that I often expose dangerous things being done by religious organizations. As you probably know I am a non-believer… an atheist, a humanist… and cannot understand how people with developed intellectual capacity can believe this stuff. I have no problem exposing things that might make readers see what I see. I am, however, as opposed to pushing my atheism on others as I am of them pushing their religious beliefs on me.

Now that my current age and health keeps me in the house most of the days of the week, I have much time to read other web sites, magazines and other publications, many of which I quote or comment on in the blog. On an average day I do at least 5 posts.

I have established some regular features in this blog that I hope you enjoy. Cartoon(s) of the Week is the one people think of first when I talk about regular features. I have been interested in editorial cartoons for many years. During the current election I have regularly been posting poll results which I see by the search term roundups many of you are looking for. And, of course, there is my regular posting of celebrity obituaries.

If there is any kind of post I do that you would like to see become a regular feature, just let me know and it’s likely to happen.

- Bill

 

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