"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Plaza colors where you find them

Colors in the Plaza district--6 by 9 watercolor, 140# d'Arches
Browns and dulls dominate
In the dead of winters
Or in the dryness of droughts
Or in the doldrums of Augusts
You have to look for colors
Yes, some are faded
By the cold and heat and cold
And like us, by the years.
But they're still there
It takes fresh eyes
To see what once was
Colors are where you find them
In your imagination.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Plaza point-II--computer enhanced

Plaza  point 2--5 1/2 by 8  watercolor
I'm still not satisfied with this painting, of Plaza district, computer enhanced on color, but there is progress.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Plaza point--watercolor

Plaza Point--3"x 3 1/2" watercolor
The Plaza District in Oklahoma City is another rejuvenating neighborhood in Oklahoma City these days, gathered around what used to be the old Plaza Theatre. It's an area of urban decay, trying to make a comeback, on 16th Street south of OCU.
For me, traveling there day after day for rehearsals and performances of the OKC Gridiron in what is now the Lyric Theatre, it's a trip into the past and future.
I find the eclectic collection of stores, places to eat and so forth energizing, but not as much as many of today's young twenty-with-it generations do, including my stepdaughter Alexx Reger and fiancee Jake Harms, who live nearby.
Still, there are remnants of old charm there, including an old architectural relic. I don't even know what to call it, but this was my first watercolor attempt of it.
Architecture that makes a point, instead of the bland sameness of today's world. No wonder the place is popular. And here, all color, no drawing, just impressions on paper of something inside.
(And the 14th watercolor in 14 days).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The changing costumes of our lives

Costumes imprinted, 6 by 8 watercolor, 140# d'Arches paper
Changing costumes.
I've witnessed  a lot of that this week, both in rehearsals for the OKC Gridiron show this week, and in Reduxion Theatre's production of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" over the weekend.
Actors and people acting out roles, changing costumes from one role to the other echoed Shakespeare's immortal words in that play, "All the world's a stage...and one man in his time plays many parts."
We are people of many costumes and roles in our lives, some of which change slowly, and others seem to be assumed overnight. Many we are not aware of, and others bespeak of our ego efforts. All bespeak different scripts in our lives. Can you count your costumes? I'm not sure I can.
Most of our "natural" costumes and our roles rise out of our scene settings and roles. Adam came from the earth and much of our roles and costumes are deeply ingrained with our beginnings. Even when we change costumes and roles, and play multiple parts simultaneously, deep down, there is still that imprint of character we cannot escape.
Tonight, after rehearsal and changing costumes and roles and returning to another, I found this painting inside me--a costume and role imbedded in Oklahoma.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Students learning--color in a gray world

Color in a gray world--5 /1/2 by 8 1/2 watercolor, 140 # d'Arches paper
"It's the first time the student has smiled this semester."
So said a colleague after I was a guest speaker in a class today.

  • Other students asked several questions.
  • Still another blurted out answers.
  • I could see eyes light up.
  • There were some laughs, some smiles.
  • Genuine interest.
  • Wanting to know more.
  • Spontaneous conversation.
  • Thinking.
  • Excitement.
  • Curiosity.

It's what teachers long for, trying to generate interest and participation from students who have been mind-numbed by mass factory rote learning and testing overloads that make learning boring and irrelevant. 
I know from conversations with friends and other colleagues, that these reactions, the students, are what keep us going, give us hope in the mind-numbing cookie-cutter administrative world of higher education.
I saw some of these reactions today, and some on good days when I do my job well in my classes. My colleague's comment told me what was inside today....Thus the watercolor.
Here is what I see when students are learning--color in a gray world.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Whitman in my veins

"When lilacs last..." 5 1/2 by 7 watercolor, 140 pound d'Arches paper
Though April is afar off, the most powerful lines in American poetry never are, at least for those who write in love with the power and possibilities of our language.
"When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night..."
Walt Whitman's elegy to President Lincoln is deep inside, his poetry and prose flowing through our veins, even when we don't always know it. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

With Whitman, the poetry of watercolor

With Whitman, 5 by 9 watercolor, 140 pound d'Arches paper

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fire in the belly, watercolor and poetry

Fire in  the belly,  6 by 6 watercolor, handmade India paper
I didn't know what was inside me to paint today, until I came across a poem. Years ago, a blogger and poet I met somehow online, K. Lawson Gilbert of Pennsylvania responded to a painting of mine.
Her poetry struck chords with me, and some of my paintings with this school teacher and word artist. She doesn't blog much, like most folks, because life is life, and we creative types run in spurts, I think. But to be stunned with imagery, you should read her poetry on her blog, Old Mossy Moon.
One of her poems appears on Coffee with Clark's  homepage, under an abstract painting of mine "Silence" which she entitled, "Meditation"
She also wrote about my snow scene "High Lonesome," a title and theme I have adopted from my Dad's art and my love for the wide-open remote West.
And one of the short poems she wrote about that cabin scene was this:
       "Out on the plains,
       the snow piled up.
       But inside the cabin,
       the two were warm...
       words were their clothes -
       their bodies a language
        of poetry and prose."

If that doesn't  awaken your senses, I don't know what will. Here's the 2009 painting that inspired the poem, and the blog link: High Lonesome
So finding that poem today, here's what I painted tonight--I hope it does justice to the poem.
There are two stages to the painting before the one you see above. Know, I didn't know what would come next.
Reminds me of Jim Morrison, and "Fire in the Belly." It just happened, and that's exciting. Don't ask me to explain.
For those of you who wonder, here's the story of the finished painting, in two steps:


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beckoning to High Lonesome

Gate to High Lonesome--watercolor, 8 1/2 by 9, handmade Indian paper
High Lonesome calls, where there are skies, and far vistas.
 All you have to do is unhook the gate, and follow the faint trail. Ahead is silence, space, sensual overload. The gate isn't locked, but waiting for you to take the first step. 
Amazing how a perceived barrier can waken you, as with this painting, the eighth in as many days..

Why I teach--a student writes

I received this email today. George Darkow was a little older than most students, and was commuting many days from his home in the Tulsa area. He was very interested in sports and blogged about them. 
Can't add anything, except here's the link to his very well written story he refers to in his email:  OU Heisman winner, Texas Rangers step up to support boy's cancer fight.
Why do I teach? This makes my day and year. 
Here's  George's letter.
"Dr. Clark,
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the comment you posted on my NewOK story and for tweeting out my success. Being published on the largest local forum meant a great deal to me, and I give much credit to you for helping me achieve it (You don't know how my inner dialogue screams 'Verbs! Verbs!' at me whenever I write!).

So, again, thank you.

I also wanted to share something interesting with you, that maybe you can pass on to to future blogging classes.

Like I'm sure many people wonder while taking a class based around blogging, one of the biggest questions I had was 'How can this skill actually help me make money?'  I got my answer by accident, actually, when I was looking to get my foot in the door at The Oklahoman and stumbled upon the job I now have.

"Content Marketing," the ad read.  I thought I'd give it a shot, hoping to meet the right people that could get me into news.

When I interviewed for the position, I was a little freaked by how much of my online history had been analyzed (a good lesson in how important Facebook and Twitter etiquette can be).  Old blog posts, website contributions and a bunch of other online traces of me were brought up.  The good thing, though, was that because I'd done so much of that (in a clean manner), the interview was more like a recruiting session -- they felt they had to have me more than I needed them.

Now, my job mainly consists of blogging -- blogging for clients, blogging to build lesser-known websites, blogging for myself even. And I'm nowhere near alone in this. The department I work in employs about 10 people like myself, as well as four or five specialty bloggers. To put it lightly: blogging is huge.

So, I wanted to share this with you in case that cliched "When am I going to use this in the real world?" question ever came up. You can tell them 'em that, odds are, they'll use it a lot.

Thanks again -- for everything."

George Darkow

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A gate always beckons

Beckoning...9 by 8 1/2 watercolor, handmade India paper
Is it swinging open, or swinging shut? Can you tell if it is sunrise or sunset? 
I can't, and don't care to.
Something beckons about a gate, closed, ajar, or wide-open. Is it an ending, or a beginning? I saw this in my garden this morning.
Of the central symbols in my life, gates rank there with cabins, old windows, mountains and deserts it seems. So much change happens without answers, and gates are images of that uncertainty. Metaphors help us cope or understand, or at least add perspective.
Though it's a Gospel song about the end of life,  the title "Just Inside the Gate," captures that spirit in life, regardless of religion or belief.
Think of the gates in your life, actual, and experienced. They always beckon of change, of something different. Come with me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rifts in abstract

Sandias--the vertical forces of the world--7 1/2 by 9 watercolor, handmade India paper
I grew up at the foot of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, and my Dad painted them often.
I've tried and the subjects exhaust me, for they are complex, ever-changing in light and patterns and moods and views.
Today it dawned on me to paint them as they are--products of violent geologic splitting and uplift along the Rio Grand rift. Out of change and tumult and conflict can come beauty.
It is no coincidence that the skies over the Sandias often echo the geology. The mountains force clouds upward in collisions of weather that dwarf the 5,000-foot-high granite below.
(Matching rock on the west side of the Rio Grande is 5,000 feet below the current surface.)
If you want stability, live on the Great Plains, but for excitement and adventure, consider the vertical forces of the world, embodied in the Sandias.
I hope my rough abstract brushstrokes, and sunset red colors,  capture that turmoil and beauty.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mountain time

"Mountain Time"--9 by 9 watercolor, handmade Indian paper
Ed Abbey missed one mode of time in " Essays on Time." Yes, he writes of clock time, the most trivial. And of solar time, river time, of desert time, of biological  time, of star time, of poetry time, of love time.
I realized this last night, and had to paint what was inside. Mountain time.
Where centuries are mere nano-seconds of our time. Where people for ages have gone to get close to some bedrock spiritual and sometimes religious power they don't understand.
If you've been fortunate, mountains are in your blood. And for me, somewhere there's always a cabin attached.

So here is "Mountain Time":

Where glaciers move fast, 
Uplift  of spirit from bedrock
pouring forth life like water,
rising above mere existence
with deep roots.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Time, for Ed Abbey

"Desert Time"--5 by 8 watercolor, handmade Indian paper
Poetry makes time travel possible.
Long ago a favorite university student, friend and fellow desert lover introduced me to Ed Abbey, whose abrasive writing in novels and essays--Monkey Wrench Gang, Desert Solitaire--of the Southwest inspired the radical environmental EarthFirst! movement. You may have seen an old black and white Kirk Douglas-Walter Matthau movie, Lonely Are the Brave, (1962) filmed in Albuquerque and the Sandias. It's based on Abbey's book, The Last Cowboy. Douglas said it was his favorite film.
Ed, in many ways a modern Thoreau, died in 1989 at age 62 and is buried in the remote Arizona desert. 
I think I've read most of  his sometimes tortured works, but again picked up Earth Apples, the collection of poetry and philosophies, seeking inspiration for an urge to paint.
In "Essay on Time," he asks, "Are there not several modes of time?" and then writes of eight such kinds of time.
Here's number six:
            "desert time: the stillnesses
             and music of sky and rock,
             the movement of wind on sand" 
I could have painted number four, but that's later:
           "the time of poetry, the time
            of music, the time of love."

Friday, February 14, 2014

Battling the status quo

Status quo, 6 by 9 watercolor, handmade Indian paper
"I'm tired of the status quo," I heard today.
It made me think of Ray Bradbury, in Zen and the Art of Writing, and inspired this painting.
So here's what Ray said:

“I hate a Roman named Status Quo!Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that, shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.”

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Magic door to who you are

The door I enter to a magic garden...8 by 9 watercolor, handmade Indian paper

Yesterday's door was the exit from the garden. I've been wondering what the other side of that door looks like, the one I see when I go in. 
While visiting there today, I heard,
             "Paint who you are, not what you see."
I've preached a version of this to students for years, write what you know, but I never took it to the obvious connection. What you know, in your mind, is who you are, your imagination.
And somewhere this evening, this came to me...mountains, a cabin, and the mysteries of travel and discovery. No wonder I like going through that door.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A garden door to magic, in watercolor

Garden door...11 by 14 watercolor, 140 pound d'Arches
Do you have a magic garden?
A place in your memory or heart where only you can go?
A  refuge where you steal away from the worries and troubles  and noise of everyday life?
A location where you find beauty and comfort, where you're always welcome?
A source of solitude where you can talk and be listened to?
A garden where you come away with answers and insights?
The yearning for such a garden is old, and perhaps universal, and has lead to many myths and stories and religions of alternative universes.
I'm reminded of two songs --the old Gospel song, "There's a garden where Jesus is waiting," and "Camelot."
The door to my garden is between two Ponderosa pine trees, in a mountain meadow, barely visible.  This is what it looks like, when I prepare to leave my garden and return to present tense.
In fact, the idea for this painting came when I was about to reach for the door knob. Magic.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Phebruary Phreezin' Photos

The pond at UCO
February has been freezing. The sun came out today for the first time in a long while, and the temperature inched above freezing, but there is still a lot of snow and ice, snow piled in drifts, or piles, or in interesting nooks and crannies.

Outside JRB at the Elms Gallery at Paseo
Downtown Edmond

Monday, February 10, 2014

Banned books I have read

From the previous post, and the American Library Association list, I counted about 30 banned and challenged books that I have read.
Four on the list I attempted--and never got all the way through: Ulysses, As I Lay Dying, All the King's Men, The Satanic Verses.
In addition I've read a part of a few books banned in other countries: The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, Dr. Zivago by Pasternak, and The Bible, The Quran.
Many of these have been challenged in schools and libraries because people found them offensive in terms of language, racism, sex, or in the case of Harry Potter, Satanic. 
People have a right not to read books, but not to prescribe what other people do. Most books that are challenged find the wrath of governments, or religions. 
Challenging or banning books actually adds to their appeal, but narrow-minded authoritarian  governments and people who don't want people to think for themselves--thought Nazis-- don't seem to get that message. I'll admit, I read some of them as a teenager because they were openly sexual, but so what? 
Have you read these? 
 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck 
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding 
1984, by George Orwell 
Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov 
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller 
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 
 Animal Farm, by George Orwell
 The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
 As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner 
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway  
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell 
 For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway 
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
 All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren 
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien 
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair 
Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
 A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess  
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
 The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie 
The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer  
Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller

It would be such an honor to have written a banned book. That means you've written something significant.
Of course my favorite book, about banning books, is Ray Bradbury's classic Fahrenheit 451. I mentioned this in a class the other day, and sadly, none of the students had read it.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Banned books, Huck Finn and I are coming

I just finished The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. First book of the year.
Along the way, I learned it is the fifth most banned book in recent times.
Why? Probably because it's real, including racist language and characters, but also because it is real literature and makes you think.
Book banners hate you to think. That's why Hitler burned them. Why the conservatives and GOP want to shut down NPR. 
More on this later, including lists from the library association about banned books in America. I therefore vow to read at least one banned book a month this year. 
Following is a list of the most banned books in this century from the library association, including Harry Potter.
This is a display about banned books in Full Circle Book Store September.
Here's the American Library Association's list of the top 21  banned and challenged books in the 2st Century. How many have you read?
1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
And from the 20th Century:
1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Monday, February 3, 2014

Soul "de-tox" and spiritual hunger

Physical health-conscious Americans toss the word "de-tox" around a lot these days. 
That means there must be tons of toxins in our society. It makes you aware that America's processed, and fast foods are full of toxins--poisons that were foreign to us two generations ago perhaps when a majority of Americans--rural Americans-- ate a lot of home grown food
 I have a friend who gave up caffeine, soft drinks, most sugars, all alcohol and more for a period of 30 days. We have anti-toxin green teas and other foods we're supposed to eat. People exercise and do yoga to cleanse the toxins out of their bodies.
So it caught my eye when I learned of a "soul de-tox" group this past year, thanks to an invite from a friend.
'Why do our souls need de-toxifying?'
The first reaction was a question, about the title naturally (pun intended). I was leery at first, based on my religious background and experience. I had a  prof once who said he was a "recovering fundamentalist." I understand better now, I think. I have more questions than I have answers these days--about, well everything.
After about six months of gathering Sunday evenings in an Edmond home, I've come up with more questions, and that's good. There are usually about ten people or so who show up. Most are regular fundamentalist church goers who consider themselves Christians, though there have been atheists, Unitarians, and well, me. It's not a Bible study, but a study of spirituality, based loosely on different books that we  read and discuss.
Significantly the first book they were in the middle of when I arrived was "Living the Questions," about progressive Christianity. 
I've never asked the question, where did you come up with the title for the group, but I've figured out how appropriate it is, by enjoying the informal hospitality of these people.
First question is, "Why do our souls need de-toxifying, especially among church goers?" 
If that question disturbs you, then you already have a hint. And if there is a need for such a group, there must be tons of toxins affecting souls in this very religious state.
In this group there are no have-to-believe rules, no 'thou-shalt-nots." There is no judgment for anything said or believed,  There is an openness and acceptance for all viewpoints.  There is a realization that spirituality and religion are not necessarily synonyms.
And at the very foundation, most telling, there is a hunger in their souls not being fed by organized religion.
So what are the soul toxins? The opposites of the previous two paragraphs.
  • Being afraid, or forbidden, to question religious beliefs
  • Narrow-minded exclusion of others
  • Thinking America is God's chosen
  • Believing Jesus was white
  • Putting God in a box
  • Believing only one religious group is correct 
  • Using organized religion to promote political ends
  • Being responsible for enforcing  religious doctrine on others
  • Short-sighted view of the rest of the world
  • Believing mankind is more important than the rest of creation
  • Having to "go" to church to be spiritual
  • Having to be correct in every religious observance
  • The complete inerrancy of the Bible
There are more, but it seems to me that these toxins separate the soul from God, Allah, or whatever you choose to name of the spiritual creator, and/or the source of  spirituality. They keep you from being spiritual.
It is ironic that this small group is very akin to what First Century Christians did on the first day of the week...gathering in homes for support and spirituality...before the Bible was written and organized religion took over.
'...much spiritual hunger in Oklahoma and America.'
The group has helped de-toxify my soul--my spirituality, or at least start. I'm no where near the smartest or well-read person in the group, and my sins are many and I have lots of questions, but they don't care.  I  attend because I'm hungry and organized religion didn't feed me nutritious food--which was also my fault. I write this not to preach--it is only valid for me. You don't have to agree and I'm not offended if you don't. 
But I see much spiritual hunger in Oklahoma and  America. I heard one person say they were "home-churching" their children because the churches were so mean and judgmental and political. When Hal Holbrook was at UCO a week ago, his quotes from Mark Twain on organized religion causing hatred and wars and narrow-mindedness a century ago struck a chord with today's crowd. 
"S0ul de-tox." I wrote part of this in my head last night, "de-toxifying."
Another person on this journey is  a former member of the Church of Christ, who became an alcoholic, who has become a tattooed, profane female pastor in the Lutheran church, ministering to the lower classes not welcome in most organized religions. Her book is Pastrix, available on Amazon. I learned this from my son Derrick on my last visit to Columbia, Mo. Here's a Washington Post story on her.
(I avoid politics and religion as subjects in this blog, because there are already plenty of such blogs, for one reason. Another is that nobody wants to hear someone else preach or gripe. And, no matter what you write, you're not going to change any body's minds on those deeply emotional subjects. Plus, I respect others' beliefs. Who am I to judge? But I do try some satire, some off-the-wall approaches to dealing with religious and political issues and hypocrisy, and when they overlap with my specialty, "news" media, which happens all the time, but I try to address that from a media viewpoint. And here, well, it's just on my mind.)