Thursday, March 31, 2005

The mess in Florida

I know I promised that the next time I got around to posting on this blog that I would deal with visual design...However I feel moved to comment on recent events in this society. Theresa Schiavo died today. Now that it's over I feel that the entire matter was a study in why certain things should be kept private and that our government, the government of the greatest nation on earth, needs to really examine why they do some of the things they do. Instead of helping with this obvious problem they decided to turn it into a political arena, moral posturing, lots of energy expended for appearance sake and the real issue avoided like it was a bomb.
Let’s examine the players in this drama. Both sides have a very viable point. First her husband, This man was her husband. Her life partner, the voice to be listened to when she could not speak. He saw the woman he loved and respected unable to speak, unable to attend to her bodily functions, unable to judge what was happening around her, even aware of other people’s presence- somewhat of a waking coma. I can see him looking at the woman he loves and knowing in his heart if it were him, he'd wish that someone would just allow him to pass on. It may seem cruel to say this, but existing like that is not a life, it’s barely an existence.
Then there are the parents. This is their child. The children of a marriage are reason men and woman put up with each other. The children are their future, proof of their existence. The child must be protected, cared for and at all costs be allowed to thrive. IF there was any chance that Theresa might get well then it was up to the parents to make sure her body was maintained for her "return". It is one of the things most mammals do. I recall seeing a program about chimps in the wild. A certain female had given birth to a dead baby. The Chimp mother couldn't accept the fact that the child was a lifeless corpse. She carried the dead baby for days and as recall more then a week, attempting to get the child to nurse, respond, show any sign of life. I'm 48 and I need to be careful what I tell my father. Should I have some small problem he responds by wishing to make it better and dealing with it for me. I usually decline by telling him "I'm a big boy, I can handle it-really" his spoken reason for his over compensating concern? I am his child.
I haven't got a problem with all this. It is a sorry state of affairs and much wiser minds then my own must make this kind of King Solomon like decisions. My problem was the resolve. They withheld food and water allowing this poor woman to take almost 2 weeks to finally die. IF this woman were a sick animal and I were to withhold food and water till the animal died; the aspca would have me brought up on charges of animal cruelty. IF this were done to a prisoner, the person responsible would be brought up on charges of Premeditated Murder. The problem is that if some doctor would take it as his responsibility to give this woman an overdose of Morphine to send her out peaceably, he would lose his license and be brought up on charges of murder. He'd probably be sued by her parents for everything he owns. According to Society it is more "humane" to starve and dehydrate this poor soul...possibly suggesting that if God wishes it to be different then let him heal this poor woman. It reminds me of the former habit society had concerning houses that were struck by lightening. No attempt would be made to extinguish the fire of the house that was struck, as this was Gods will. Thank God Benjamin Franklin invented the Lightening rod. I would possibly put it to these people, if this is Gods will then why attempt to help anyone in trouble? What would they make of the Good Samaritan? When the Samaritan helped a person in need was he not interfering with God's will?
I believe that instead of President dubya Bush flying back to the capital to sign a bill to prolong this woman's pitiful existence, maybe he might look into proposing a law that dealt with such extreme cases. Yes Life is Sacred but and must be maintained if there's hope. However 15 years is quite a while to wait for her to show any kind of progression towards Life. Maybe consider, with the opinion of 6 or more doctors, that the court's decision should be upheld and as with a firing squad we have 12 doctors draw lots and 6 of them pull a short straw and be issued a syringe with a mystery fluid in it. 5 would be saline solution 1 would be an overdose of Morphine. Their job would be to deliver the contents of their syringe to the individual. None of the 6 would know which it was that sent the patient to their final reward, there would be no malice involved and the poor patient wouldn't suffer. This is just one possible solution to all this mess, I see No positive thing that could come from starving and dehydrating a person to death and making their suffering less with the use of morphine. If one good thing has come out of this media circus, this pastime of the masses: people are contemplating their future and making the appropriate plans according to their individual wishes. I don't pray with words that often. My work is my prayers. However I pray that this woman,
Theresa Schiavo has paid her karma debt. That her suffering is over and that she has aquired some kind of peace. I promise next time I'll talk about Art. I'm Going to Philadelphia for my birthday to finish seeing the Philidelphia Museum of Art; a project I started more then 20 years ago. I'll be going with friends and will probably have much to say.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

An Art Primer, Drawing

For the very few who might go to the trouble to read these ravings of the mad Artist in Burlington, I'm going to assume that your knowledge of Art to be limited. I'm assuming this because of the interest in accompanying me to an Art museum.
If my opinions and knowledge clash with any other you may be aware of I'd really appreciate your feedback.

With the invention of the computer as a graphics tool Fine Art as I was taught it is dying. Art supply stores are carrying less and less of the staple materials that one could easily purchase as recently a 10 years ago. Pretty soon we'll be making what we need just like they did 200 years ago. I'm going to relate the subject as I know it, as I understand it, and as I believe it. I recently heard from a friend of mine, another artist, that he visited our alma mater. What he saw being produced was ghastly, I believe the word abortions was used. The use of computer and copy machine art was avante garde when I attended. Now it's the standard and unfortunately without the discipline of manual 'art making' it is chaos.

Visual Art was born in the mind of mankind by that same little machine in your head that sees animals in clouds and faces in bad paneling. The way the theoretical episode happened (according to the way I heard it anyway), from what we are able to glean from the cave paintings in France and Spain certain wall formations reminded our first artist of animals or female body parts (take your was food the other was sex, the two things that seem to fill male minds) except for certain details. Our Artist picked up a charcoal stick from the fire that had burned out and added the details to his vision. At that moment the concept of written History was invented. If you think about it you will probably agree with me. It got more complicated from that point on...they found colored clays that reminded them of the colors of the natural world around him and mixed with spit added them to his charcoal drawing. We still use these colored dirt products in the form of umber, sienna, ochre etc. These are known as 'Earth Tones', and they are the simplest and cheapest of the colors you can purchase, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
It didn't take long for this activity to take on mystical significance. I won't go into it but leave it at suddenly God had a face and nature could be seemingly controlled.

All Art without exception is born in the mind of the artist. This mental image is recorded and worked out through the implementation of drawing. Drawing is the Mother of all Art. Drawing is the discipline of Art. "I can't draw." If I had a quarter for every time I've heard that after someone sees my work or hears about it I wouldn't have to work next month. My response to this statement is "They did teach you to write your name right? That signature is your unique mark, indisputable in a court of law and all things pertaining to you in contracts, money exchanges, proof of receipt, etc. Drawing is nothing more then the expansion of that mark. It's the ultimate form of hand- eye coordination. In European society in years past, women of breeding were taught to draw; it was sign of culture." I stand by this statement.

Drawing is any mark made on a surface. This is the statement emblazoned on the hearts and minds of every drawing student that comes through the process. It's true, sorta. It isn't quite that simple...but for the sake of argument we'll leave it at that. SOOOOOOOOOO now that we have our understanding of how it all got started and the fundamentals of the process we can begin.

The real trick and "Art" of visual art is the same as music: Composition. How to arrange these marks to make some sorta sense, to stimulate that little mind machine that sees animals in clouds and faces in really bad paneling? That's kinda complicated. I always teach composition using two tools. One is the collected works of Hokusai; Classic Japanese printmaker-the trick is I turn the book upside down. The other is to spread a group of geometric shapes on a surface, and allow the student to arrange them. But for now I must depart. Claire, my female cat is demanding some quality time, she's doing this by licking my hand while I type and sticking those little fishhook claws that god gave her into my arm.

Monday, March 14, 2005

May I have your attention please...

I just recieved an email asking if my "supposed Artwork" was on the web. My god, folks if you haven't gotten the word yet...(I'm speaking to those who might just actually take the time to read my ranting, ie my friends) yes my site is posted. put in your little window, hit return and you'll see an eye staring back at you. click on the eye, scroll to the bottom of the bear and click on portfolio. then Choose your poison. I thought I'd told everyone...guess I didn't. Also...I spell like a butcher. My sentence structure is one of a stone mason. I got my degree in ART not in English, I do my best and I yuse spell check but ya know...Nothing is perfect. Try to veiw my inability to use the English language to it full potenshul as a quaint reaffirmation that I'm a humble artist and in no way superior to anybody...I just do my best and hope that people will take it as it comes. Just remember the scene in Animal House when Bluto suggests that no one quitted when the German's bombed Pearl Harbor, and the fault in his history is pointed out, It's suggested "forget it he's on a roll."

Monday, what a world

I must be a genius. I keep having people tell me this and I humbly grumble and suggest they need to get out more. How is it possible that these people are allowed to be this stupid and run around and procreate? Some dame who was doing 80mph, adjusting her make up and talking on a Cell phone almost sideswiped me. I'm not in the least a chauvinist, I think that women should be paid anything a man is paid for doing a job; God knows that there are a lot of really overpaid stupid men out there, I think that No man should decide that abortions should be legal or illegal (cause we'll never need one guys), I love women and admire them for putting up with us, but come’re driving a ton and half bullet at 80 miles an hour and your checking your make up and talking on a cell phone? That's something I can't justify. I swear there's a deep dark hole in HELL for the guy who decided that a woman needed was a phone she could use in the car.
But I have more. I just was at the CVS to buy some Nicorette gum. Every time I go in there there's another fine example of humanity behind the register. "Yes, I need a small box of your cvs Nicorette 4 mg gum please." I'm looking right at the box, she’s closer then I am but they can NEVER find it...I haveto do the "one more up to your left, no your other left, the little one that says CVS on the solid blue...the one that says 4mg on it..." etc. SOOOOOOOOOOO we move on to payment. It's $24.08 -I give her a $50 and 13 cents in change. I'm supposed to get $26.05-right? She hands me $25 back. Then it's on...I have this debate every time I provide change with Paper money. I have given up at the Wendy's that I go to get a salad. They've got the same woman on the register every time and when I give her change with the paper I get this deer in the headlights look. Mother of can we claim to be the greatest nation on earth when we can't handle simple addition and subtraction? I recall a story I heard back when computer's were young. This anal retentive nutcase that I lived next door to had traveled to Peking to help install a computer. When they had run the Test program the official in charge told them to cool their heels at their hotels, they had a few tests they wanted to run before they let these round eyes go home. About 2 weeks later the team of Americans was contacted and told they were free to go. Seems they had taken the print out and handed it to a group of about 65 old guys with Abacus' to check the math the machine had done. When their total was the same as the machine's they figured they could take it from there. I realize that we're very dependant on these machines to do much of the "stupid" work for us...but when we stop being able to do the simple stuff, we might as well give it up. Then there's the other side of the coin...
I've got this X attorney working at the same job as myself, he retired from the law and hired on to apprentice as a cabinet maker about 2 years ago. This guy still isn't getting it. He over thinks everything...he asks question after question and doesn't wait for the answer. Sanding is a mystery to this guy, he always want to know if he should sand THIS scratch out...and God forbid you should ask him to build something...He wants to know what size screws to use (ones that are long enough to connect the two pieces of wood together?), should he use self tapping wood screws or the other coarse thread screws (????), should he cut out this with a sabre saw or the band saw, etc. etc. etc.
I know I promised to write about why I wouldn't go into the Hospital again without a gun...It would fit right in here. Long story short...I thought I was having a heart attack, when I got there they wanted to know what drugs I was on and why...I provided a list including the drugs I was doing for my arthritic hip. They couldn't really pinpoint the problem with my heart. They wanted to keep me overnight. Thing was I had an appointment to do a heart stress test at another Hospital the next day. No problem they'd call my doctor and do the test at the Hospital I was at. I had gotten to the emergency room at 10:30 A.M. I had had half a grapefruit for breakfast. I had bathed the evening before. The finally got me to my room at 7:30 that night...a bit too late to eat and as I was hooked up to IV's etc. bathing wasn't going to happen. What I really needed was a decent night's sleep. I'd begin to nod off and they'd wake me up for blood pressure, take blood, urine sample, check my vitals, check my blood pressure, etc. every hour on the hour I'd be woke up, it'd take me about 45 minutes to get comfortable and start to nod off and they were back. The next morning I was scheduled for my stress test. This test needs to be done on an empty stomach...not a problem I hadn't eaten in 24 hours. Up to this point I had filled out 4 forms listing my drugs and why, my physical problems, what doctors I was seeing and why, etc. Each time I mentioned my hip. They strap this machine to my chest and these wires to me and the Doctor present (with my file in his hand) informs me that they want me to run on this treadmill up hill. I told them I'd do my best but I didn't know about running. Why? Because of my hip. What's wrong with my Hip? I hadn't eaten in 24 hours. I hadn't bathed in 36 hours and hadn't slept the night before. I went off. I used words that one doesn't use in polite company (I use them often and in any company present) but there was that certain broken beer bottle edge to them that suggested that this doctor wasn't used to this kind of talk. I ended my diatribe with "...and if you people can't read a simple form, let alone the 4 I filled out maybe I should just get the F**k out of this Zoo and go fact I'm about a hairs width from doing just that!" Well, the nurses stayed out of arms reach and I was informed that they were just doing their jobs. Yeah well I can't help feeling that reading the forms y’all had me fill out was part of your job. They opted to have me do it chemically. They got around to making this decision around 11:45 am. After they got my heart rate where they wanted it and finished taking their pictures I was taken back to my room and given a hamburger. I was informed the doctor would be in to discuss the results sometime that afternoon. So I waited. I waited and I waited. At about 5 PM I went and found the closest warm body and asked just who I would hafto sleep with to get somebody to get my doctor on the phone to get him to motivate him my way. I was informed I needed to take the matter up with the floor nurse. I approached her and she asked just what she could do for me. I said " I need you to get my doctor on the phone and get him up here to talk to me inside a half an hour, because at 5:30 we were no longer dealing with this afternoon and into this evening and I had every intention of being through the door on my way home at 5:31. " She looked at me puzzled. "You mean you'll just leave without being checked out? We'd really rather you didn't do that." I looked her straight in the eye and suggested I wasn't asking her permission, that that what was going to happen and now she had 28 minutes. I turned and returned to my "cell". At 5:20 she came in and told me that the doctor would see me in 15 minutes. I told her she needed to call him back and make it 10. At 5:29 he entered and informed me that they didn't know what had happened. I was to go on a low sodium diet, take a day or two off and learn to deal with my stress. At 5:35 they delivered me to the door and I was on my way home. One thing the next day I slept when I wasn't feeling queasy, my head felt like someone had removed my spine while I slept and beaten me with it and the day after that I had a headache, a high heart rate and diareaha, I made an appointment with my doctor for the next day and was informed by him then that I probably had a slight case of food poisoning but that they saw nothing wrong with my heart. This little 3 day event of wading though the medical proffesion cost me ab $1200 out of pocket and about 4 times that to my hospitalization.
Oy, Is it me or are we breeding generations of stupider people?
I realize that this isn't a new story. I realize we have system's in place to deal with the complexity of life. But come on...the incidents I relate suggest that we are sticking to systems that are designed to help...not to dictate policy. We either evovled a brain or was given one by a supreme bieng. We need to use the damn thing or we are DOOMED.

Monday, March 07, 2005

I am Albert A Kauslick. I have been a working artist and a woodworker for almost 30 years. I am old-I'll be 48 this April. I've circumnavigated the world, seen a good bit of the world and after visiting the great cultural capitals of the world I ended up in Burlington, North Carolina. It's quiet here and people pretty much leave me alone. I am tired-I've busted my butt since I was 16 and defended my right to be respected and taken seriously since I landed on this damn rock. I live in pretty continuous pain -I've got Arthritis in my left hip and left knee, my list of medical problems are a mystery to the medical profession, You'll hear about most if you bother to read my ramblings. I've been hurt and betrayed by people I've loved and cared for pretty much my whole life although I do have friends who I would indeed and have trusted with my back, my money, my vehicles and my animals. I am pretty disgusted by the human race I'm forced to share the world with. I know the good and the bad that humanity is capable of and it bothers me that they will always choose greed over charity, betrayal over a bit of personal humiliation, theft over hard work, fear before bravery, pride before humility, prejudice before understanding and 'going along with the crowd' before admitting that the king has no new clothes. I've learned that Religion is usually an excuse to hate and that the more somebody tries to convince you how honest, intelligent and caring they are the more likely it is that they are dishonest, stupid and insincere. I have known a woman’s love and then had it taken from me, but that was many years ago. I've remained pretty celibate since; I just can't put myself there again. My doctor says I need to work on my stress or I really will have a heart attack next time. BUT this isn't what I want to be writing about, consider it a warning - I'm not a happy guy, I'm not trying to be amusing and if I amuse you through my misadventures feel free to laugh, God knows if I don't I'll start screaming again and that really scares the animals. I would like to share my views on Art, my insight on woodworking and my view of my world here at the end of the cultural road, I may go into my views of politics but trust me I am not looking for a debate.

I must go back to work now...I'm working on a drawing of Simonetta Vespucci that I constructed from all the known portraits of her and a few of my own elemets...a labor of love.