Category Archives: event

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]

 

Starting the day in Hell…

Last night, on our way home from the MRI, we stopped at my daughter Penny’s to pick up our dogs where they were staying all day. Getting out of Cassandra‘s car and walking toward her house, I tripped over the base of my grandsons’ basketball net… painted black and invisible at night… and fell hard on the driveway and impacted my already weakened left side.

Getting up off the ground required really focused assistance from Elly and the girls who brought out a dining room chair for me to pull myself up using my right arm. This took about fifteen minutes and made my girls worry a lot.

While I don’t seem to have broken any bones, nor did I open any of the breaks I had in August/September, but my right arm hurts too much when I try to lift it that I’m really worried about what they are going to try to do at today’s exam in Hagerstown.

I spent the night switching between ice packs and a heating pad on my left shoulder and I have a little more movement, but not much, this morning. Elly made me a new ice pack for the morning.

I hope this doesn’t have the effect of cancelling Friday’s surgery on my head.

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.

 

Lunch with the family…

Oy! Three flights of stairs!

My sister took Elly and me, my mother, my son and his wife, my two daughters and three of my grandsons to lunch at Lightfoot’s, a former bank turned into a restaurant in Leesburg, VA. Supposedly, this restaurant is at a halfway point between my mother in Manassas and Elly and me in Harpers Ferry (and my daughter Penny and her kids in Williamsport, MD.)

This was put together so everyone could give me their best wishes before I go into the hospital next week and for all of them to wish me their best.

Buddy and Rachel

We were up three flights of stairs in a private room in this old bank building, where we (or at least me with my current balance and dizziness) slowly walked up and then spent two hours in one place.

It’s full of old French theatre posters, which was sort of neat for my 12-year-old grandson John who is learning French in school this year…”Mais oui!”

My Mother

My son Bud and his wife Rachel are in from Wisconsin.. they’ll be flying back early tomorrow. Penny and the boys, of course, only live a little bit away from us and will be involved in watching me when I recuperate so Elly can go into Hagerstown Community College and work.

Me, of course

My daughter Cassandra who will be here for another week is coordinating all the hospital and doctor stuff with Elly. She is a very organized and impressive woman and has everything going on schedule… more tests next week before surgery, hospital be rental for after (not sure why I need this, but I’m told not to argue.)

Anyway, I can’t get over thinking that this is everyone’s chance to say goodbye to me in case anything goes wrong in surgery (I think there’s a 7% chance or something.)

No radio shows this coming weekend… perhaps the week after. Let’s hope.

It’s Veterans Day…

I’ll be clear, here. I am not a veteran of our armed forces. When my eligibility would have occurred I got a 1 Y on my physical and was never allowed in (I was also married with a child and in college at the time.)

What I do remember every Veterans Day, however, is my Uncle Butch (Marine Sgt. Irving B. Tchakirides, my father’s younger brother), who died on his third tour of duty in Viet Nam… a victim of American fire as it happens. Many times I have gone to DC to see his name on the Viet Nam Wall and to remember how much I liked him, along with my other uncles, as a child.

So I wish a Best Veterans Day to the memory of my Uncle Butch and hope that someday we won’t have to think about losing our young men in wars we never should have been in.

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – It’s all over. Where are we?

Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

Perhaps we can start on getting religion out of politics. What are we, the Taliban?

– and –

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

At least we know now that America is more than old white men…

– and –

Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Of course, some Republicans will probably continue their uncooperativeness. It will kill them later.

– and –

Mike Luckovich in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Of course, this may make at least one news organization reevaluate it’s strategy…

– and –

Adam Zyglis in the Buffalo News:

And now forward into the second term (thanks, in part, to General Motors.)
 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Another good reason not to trust rich Republicans…

This was on NBC:

“From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself.

Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.”

– NBC’s Garrett Haake

No trickle up…guess that falls in line with trickle down. Obama spent most of the night praising and supporting his campaign workers.

 

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

 

 

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.

It’s the beginning of the most important day of the year…

Waking up to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

Nate Silver now projects President Obama’s margin of victory to be two or three percentage points in the popular vote, approximating the margin that George W. Bush achieved in defeating John Kerry in 2004.

In addition, he gives Obama a 91.6% chance to win the necessary 270 electoral votes for re-election.

John Avlon: “The final polls are out and behind the national horserace is a fascinating dynamic — Mitt Romney is narrowly winning independent voters while President Obama is winning centrist voters by a nearly 20-point margin.”

“This is significant because in past elections independents and centrist voters have been largely synonymous-overlapping cohorts, reflecting the belief of many independents that the two parties are too polarized and disproportionately dominated by their respective special interests. But what I think we’re seeing this year is the extended impact of the tea party – a growth in the number of independent conservatives that has moved the overall independent voting block slightly to the right. In turn, centrist voters are more likely to vote for Obama precisely because of the polarizing impact of the tea party and the intransigence of many conservative congressmen when it came to working in a good faith spirit of principled compromise with the Obama administration.”

OK… I’m off for my morning appointments (gee…how do people get up this early?).  – 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.

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.

With the exception of Pakistan, most of the world wants us to elect Obama

Our foreign policy is much easier, I think, when the countries of the world like us and our leadership. What does it suggest that most of the world backs Obama? Certainly it backs up the notion that Romney is no foreign policy master.

Given the amount of investment that Romney has made in companies that benefit China, I find it very interesting that the Chinese are on the Obama backing side,

But what is it about Romney that makes him nore favorable to Pakistan?

 

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.

 

We’re getting closer to the election… so here are some swing state polls:

Here are the latest polls from the battleground states:

Florida: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (Newsmax/Zogby)

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (Newsmax/Zogby)

Virginia: Obama 48%, Romney 47% (Newsmax/Zogby)

Another state that has never been considered a swing state but appears close:

Oregon: Obama 47%, Romney 41% (Elway)

This looks better for Florida, which is getting closer, and Ohio. If Obama picks up both of these he would have the election.

 

And here is the current electoral vote possibility:

Suppose Romney was President now, during Sandy…

First of all, he would have discarded FEMA as a Federal Agency and given the costs and responsibilities back to the states or to private enterprise. I’ll bet governors up and down the east cost would not be thrilled to lose the federal support.

So what is Romney‘s status on federal funds protecting and helping Americans in times of natural disaster? Take a look:

I guess that means what President Obama is doing now to aid the various states in preserving life and helping states is “immoral.” Tell that to Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who as already come out praising Obama and thanking him for making federal funds and FEMA available… and being available to him by phone for any future problems. I’ll bet Christie is glad that it is Obama and not Romney who is on the other end of the phone call:

“I appreciated the president’s outreach today in making sure that we know he’s watching this and is concerned about the health and welfare and safety of the people of the state of New Jersey.”

–  Gov. Chris Christie, (R) NJ

 

Our first view of what’s coming with the storm…

Elly’s job at Hagerstown Community College is off for two days as HCC has announced closing due to the approach of Sandy.

The rain has already started here this morning and we are soon expecting the wind.

Hope you are all keeping an eye out if you are in the storm track and please take care of yourselves. here’s a chance that we’ll lose power and the blog will be down, but as long as I can I’ll keep it up.

 

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.

 

 

And a really funny quote to start the day…

… this is the kind of thing that makes me realize why Obama is so far ahead of his critics. On the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Obama joked about Donald Trump’s latest challenge:

“This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya. We had constant run-ins on the soccer field. He wasn’t very good and resented it. When we finally moved to America I thought it would be over.”

— President Obama

Looks like a lie can be exploded by a funnier lie.

 

Morning report on swing state polls… With afternoon update

Here are the latest polls from the battleground. These will be updated when more numbers are available:

Florida: Romney 50%, Obama 49% (Gravis)

Michigan: Obama 47%, Romney 47% (Foster McCollum)

Nevada: Obama 50%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)

Nevada: Obama 51%, Romney 47% (Public Policy Polling)

New Hampshire: Romney 50%, Obama 48% (Rasmussen)

New Hampshire: Obama 48%, Romney 45% (Lake Research)

Ohio: Obama 49%, Romney 44% (Time)

Ohio: Obama 47%, Romney 44% (SurveyUSA)

Ohio: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)

Ohio: Obama 46%, Romney 44% (Lake Resaearch)

Virginia: Obama 50%, Romney 43% (Old Dominion

University)

Virginia: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (Newsmax/Zogby)

Virginia: Obama 51%, Romney 46% (Public Policy Polling)

Wow. Four different pollsters give Ohio to Obama. The word on early voting is that it’s 2 to 1 in Obama’s favor.

Only 12 days left to the official election day.

Hey WV folks… it’s Early Voting time…

Today’s the day. Early voting starts today in West Virginia and I think Elly and I will be heading over to the Charles Town County Courthouse on Friday to cast our ballots for Obama. Speaking of Obama… he will be doing early voting in Chicago on his current speaking tour. That makes him the first President in office to vote early.

BTW… polls are open on Saturday.

 

The latest Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll finds President Obama had a lead of 53% to 42% among the 17% of the surveyed registered voters who said they had already cast their vote. Let’s keep it up!

 

Did you know that converting “Frenchies” to Mormonism is equivalent to military service in wartime?

If you are interested in Ann Romney‘s response to Whoopi Goldberg on The View (which Mitt avoided making an appearance on… scared of Whoopi apparently) when she brought up the fact that Mitt hadn’t served his country in the Viet Nam War, take a look at this statement:

“Mitt certainly did serve his country during the war. He just served in a different way than most during that period. Sure, while many poor and minority young people were involuntarily drafted and soon found themselves knee-deep in cholera-infested rice paddies, you must remember that Mitt was also in a difficult spot serving Jesus, who as everyone knows made a special trip to America.”

“He roamed around the mean streets of Paris, riding a bike, and looking like a royal imbecile. You think he looks ridiculously uncool now, you should have seen him then! And it was a real hell-hole. Of course, he wasn’t being shot at or tripping any landmines, but he had to eat at 3 star restaurants! And he was doing just as important of a job as the Army was when they were fighting for Jesus and America.”

“He was out trying to baptize people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Do you know how hard it is to get anyone to swallow this ridiculous shit? Especially French people! They’ve got all of this good food, wine, and they just LOVE to smoke and have sex all of the time. And you have to tell them to give that stuff up! Darn near impossible! Well, you don’t tell them that right away, only after you get them baptized. We aren’t idiots, you know!”

“So I’d like everyone in the media to stop pretending that Mitt didn’t serve during the war. He baptized 103 Frenchies by all by himself. How many conversions did any of those so-called “soldiers” perform? I rest my case.”

Hey… did you ever think of how dangerous it is to eat in 3-star restaurants?

Thanks to Ye Olde Soapbox for leading me to this one.