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Wildly Interesting Books

  • Adam's Task by Vicki Hearne
  • Anything by Colin Cotterill
  • Auguries of Innocence by Patti Smith
  • Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell
  • Darwin: A Life in Poems by Ruth Padel
  • Gehry Draws
  • Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker
  • Out of Our Heads by Ava Noe
  • Stylepedia: A Guide to Graphic Design, Mannerisms, Quirks and Conceits
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson
  • The God of Small Things by Arundahti Roy
  • The Long Fall by Walter Mosely
  • The Martin Beck Series by Maj Sjowall and Per Waloo
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank
  • Vermeeer in Bosnia by Lawrence Weschler

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Santa All In After Delivering Gifts to Fionna Lafferty

Let me tell you, this was a sad sight. I tried to interview the deflated jolly old elf. "I was doing okay when it was just kids," panted the famous man-in-red. "This crap with over-gifting grown children has to stop!" He seemed bitter. "Yeah, ya know everyone thinks this stuff gets done by a team of us. Not so. Father Christmas drinks himself under the table every Christmas Eve, and Kris Kringle's got nothing much to do but put fruit and odd bits of nuts in wooden shoes. Let me tell you, in the old days they all had their wooden shoes out on the balcony, so at least he was making the appearance of covering his territory. Now, who's got even one wooden shoe? They leave their Doc Martin's out but Kringle, he won't touch 'em. Says it's not in his job description." I left the former merry old soul where he lay.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Here's Another Scare for You

I'm in the process of creating a new personal website. This is rather counter-intuitive since I don't even have the time or energy to keep this blog running. I'm doomed altogether since I'm blogging at 3am on Thanksgiving Eve. On the left is a picture of the reason I've been out of the art studio and out of my mind. Her name is Frankie and she specializes in looking innocent. Her purpose? To out-crime Virginia. Good luck to us all. Happy Thanksgiving.

New Stephen King Novel to be set in Somerville

Flowers on the Avenue invites you in for the scare of your life. King's new novel is based on the real life shoppe of horrors on Somerville Ave, a venue where no one really knows what lurks inside. Frightenly, no one has ever been know to emerge from Flowers on the Avenue. Worse, no one has ever been know to go in! Local residents speculate that it's a facade, or perhaps a Cambridge Arts Council Public Arts project gone awry. Is this a merely two-dimensional faux brick facade with a doll house makover? Or does something decidedly macabre seeth within the dimensionally challenged Flowers on the Avenue?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Out House Church Makes Rounds in Cambridge

This is the age of creative and alternative religions. But who would have guessed this one? The Out House Church on wheels like the mobil library of yore makes its rounds in Cambridge. This picture was captured as the multi-duty spiritual temple came barreling through Inman Square. Gives new meaning to "I gotta go to church!"
Liz posted this one on her Tricylcle Community page.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Larry is Dead!!!

Yes. Larry the Zebra Fish aka Larry T. Wallace is no more inhabiting his earthly form. In a moment of dark sychronicity I finished my painting of Larry last week and he is my feature creature in this year's Iced Coffee Season flyer. I can't talk about it now. Devastated!!
Here's my portrait of Larry in his natural habitat. This is in watercolor and ink covered with glassine.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Like a Really Bad Novel, Only Real

Foreclosure sharks celebrate in Palm Beach. Scenes from the end of the empire. Click on the link to the story. It is truly unbelievable.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

It really pays to follow BoRev

Maybe the best thing seen since Commander Radnicki swung a dead rat by its tail on television.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Nader on Bailout

Published on Saturday, March 7, 2009 by
The Bottomless Bailout
by Ralph Nader
Does anybody in the federal government know or could know “who, what, where and when” of the massive, complex, vertical, horizontal, global collapse of Wall Street and its planetary tentacles in over 100 countries abroad? Step forward if you exist! Uncle Sam needs you!
Is the multi-million dollar bailout of this financial mess and house of cards, this phantom wealth mummy hitting air beyond the federal governments’ salvage capability? It is relatively easy to announce hundreds of billions of dollars of corporate rescue programs here and hundreds of billions of dollars of guarantees of corporate recklessness there and trillions of dollars of assorted stimulus, loan availabilities and foreclosure prevention initiatives in all directions. Now comes the rubber hitting the road.Where are the skilled people to be hired by the federal agencies—the administrators, field implementers, auditors, financial whizzes able to understand the complexity of greed and over-reach; the inspectors, prosecutors and contract negotiators to name a few categories?In other words, how are a hurried President Obama and his deputies going to rapidly build up the infrastructure of the federal government itself to advance all these “public works” efficiently and to avoid expenditure disasters amidst a potential orgy of waste, fraud and abuse by the coast to coast recipients?So many of the federal government’s functions have been contracted out to corporations and consulting firms under Clinton and the Bushes that there is a serious dearth of skilled civil servants. Moreover, Obama has indicated he wants this work done by an accountable government and not by Halliburton-type outside contractors at greater expense to taxpayers.Knowing and doing have to go hand in hand. Some Congressional Committees have finally gotten around to asking the basic questions about what is actually going on inside companies like the giant financial conglomerate AIG. Since the Goliath’s near collapse in September, the federal government has committed $160 billion to keep it from splattering its reckless red ink over small businesses, municipalities, 401(k) plans, policyholders and of course the Fortune 500 big companies led by the omnipresent Goldman Sachs bank.At a Senate hearing on March 5, 2009 to review yet another $30 billion in rescue funds, Senators from both parties demanded that the Federal Reserve make public the names of the parties benefiting from all this taxpayer largesse. These include the derivatives trading partners (eg credit default swappers) who have received tens of billions of these dollars passing from Washington through AIG to them.Senators Chris Dodd, Richard Shelby and Jim Bunning went after Donald L. Kohn, the vice-chairman of the Fed board of governors who finally promised he would ask the other governors to reconsider their corporate privacy policy under these megabailouts. Don’t hold your breath!Surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal editorial writers weighed in three days earlier about this fourth ever-sweeter rescue of AIG. in six months. In an editorial titled “AIG’s Black Box” the Journal thundered: “Perhaps someday the feds will even explain to taxpayers which AIG creditors had to be rescued and why…..try figuring out exactly who benefits when taxpayer money arrives at the insurance giant.”Besides rebuilding the federal workforce and finding out what is going on inside casino capitalism begging for bailouts, the Obama Administration is wading into an administrative nightmare that could run through trillions of mis-directed dollars and not turn around a deep Recession plunging toward Depression.When dealing with esoteric gambling chips called “derivatives” that are bets on bets on debts on debts, more than astute regulations and prosecutions are needed to punish, disgorge and deter present and future self-paid corporate crooks looting and draining other people’s pensions and savings. What is essential is that the federal surgeons have to know just where to apply their scalpel on the continuum spanning the big predators to the millions of direct and indirect victims.So, during the next Congressional hearings featuring government witnesses from the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and the securities, insurance and banking regulatory agencies, the Senators should start with four direct questions:
1. Just what is it that you do NOT understand about what is going on inside this widening Wall Street mess?2. Why don’t you understand what you need to know?3. How are you going to use your powers to achieve such understanding?4. Finally, if these corporations like AIG are too big to fail, too secret to fail and overwhelmingly global in structure and operations, why aren’t you asking other governments to pitch in with their own rescue packages and tell you what they know?As one solid small town banker in Indiana put it recently: “If these big companies are too big to fail, then they’re too big.”
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book is The Seventeen Traditions.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Our Man in Panama Begins to Devolve

Posted by Jim Calandrillo, now back in Panama by way of Mumbia

Hello, my fellow American. And, how are you on this fine, fine morning? I, myself, could not catch an ounce of shuteye, and decided to come here to the Canal banks to see if a fellow countryman might also be having trouble navigating the Land of Nod. And here you are! Fine, fine morning, I must say. When you can't smell the Canal, it means the winds are calm, and you'll be able to walk along ths shores without a mask or having to turn back to whatever direction you came from.Now that was mighty nice of you to offer me a cigar. It sure smells genuine Cuban, but my doctor has forbidden such extravagances because of my sinus condition. What? Did you lose something in the grass down there? Well, never mind the sinuses, let me just help you up to your feet. You're soaking wet from the dew. You'll never find your little dog anyway in this thick fog. Bet they never warned you of the thick layer of dew that develops on these fine, fine mornings, now did they? Way I see it, when you step on her, she'll yap, and there, you'll have found her! What's her name? Hugo? Well, she won't be able to hear you in the thick air, so be careful where you step. She'll show up somewhere along the banks here. All bodies do.I see you're wearing a "Find Baby Sophie" ribbon. Damn shame about that one. Nice job they did shaping the ribbon to look like one of them Macy's balloons.Well, aren't you nice. But, once again, I'll have to pass on that whiskey flask. Jameson's did you say? Mighty fine. No, I'm taking so many pills the doctor gave me that I can't drink sip of anything but well water. What's that? A Vicadin. You sure pack 'em strong. And I guess you don't care about what damage you might be doing to your liver?Hell, you're right on that one. You only go 'round once, unless you're a Canal repeater? Really! First time! Well, I'll be zoned! You could of fooled me. Headed where? Venezuela is a nice place this time of year. I'll give you that. Only stay away from that Guantanamo. Bad place, full of crazy Iraqis, like they never heard the Monroe Doctrine in school! Shame on them once for landing, and shame on them twice for squatting, but I'll be damned if they'll catch any of us not looking next time.Say, you seem like a nice sort of woman. What's a nice sort of woman like you doing in these parts of the Canal zone? You don't say. I thought Ballanchine had given up the search for your friend decades ago. She sure was somethin' the way she tu tu'd around, wasn't she? You reckon she's still alive and dancin' at her age? Oh just forty-two. Thought she'd be much older than that by now.Well, you have a nice stroll. You hear. Mind that dip in the Canal up about a hundred feet or so, where you're headed. Last time I heard, there was a gang o' no-gooders collecting people for another Muriel boat lift, or is it arial boat lift?No, I know you're not Cuban, my fellow American. But, you can't be too careful of who you might be mistook for. Just last year this bunch of maniacs thought I was some Serbian related to that long-dead archduke Ferdinand that went and started that big, world war, the second or third one, I think. And don't let anyone call you an ugly American! Geez, that fumes my timbers. You're about the prettiest thing I've seen along these banks in years, but you start talking to these know-nothings and first thing you know they're calling you an ugly American or queer, or something like that.Now, there goes my sinuses all plugged up again. Hey, you be careful on all fours down there. I was once mistook for an alligator. You don't want that nip and tuck. Just a joke. This gal, Joan Rivers told it to me. Yeah, the one who can't move her face any more. Damn shame. You mind your wet snout in the grass there. And when you head back this way, I'll fill you in on my latest condition.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Heirloom Shoe Rack Destroyed in Condo Brawl

Just when you thought the days of the good old bar room brawls were over...Ta Da! Now visitors to the Hamshire School of Art will have to park their shoes on a new model stainless steel rack.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Panamanian Pandemonium

Posted by Jim Calandrillo, who's fled to Panama for various reasons

There is so much of the American diaspora trying to crash these canal borders that those of us already in the country are resorting to sand bags, leaflets, and gentle persuasion for the hordes to go back and get the good old United States back on track. There are people jumping cruise ships to land on the Terra Firma of the canal banks. It is so much a part of the American psyche. First we separated, revolted from the British Empire. Then we headed West in a manifest destiny to be anywhere but where we were. Then we fled to suburbia to escape the cities. Then we rushed to rural America to escape suburbia. Then we headed anywhere but here. There will always be a beckoning Costa Rica, Panama, and who knows if Belize is next? We are always in search of the last vestige of sane, affordable living. It used to be either Florida's east coast, or Florida's west coast. Now all the action is in the middle. A town called Zephyr Hills about forty miles from here is the new haven where life can be lived without the extreme traffic and hub-bub of coastal Florida. That is until Zephyr Hills releases its where? To mountainous North Carolina. Onward and upward! To North Dakota. Hell the winters are brutal, but you can get a home for thirty thou. And everyone is leaving, creating another lightening rod influx sooner or later. With global warming, North Dakota will soon resemble Los Angeles anyway. East of Eden, North of Concord, South of Fairbanks, come to the Kentucky hills with a bag o'money and settle down with the McCoys and Hatfield's ancestors. They've mellowed. And property values are affordable now, before they skyrocket. You gotta buy before peak, so you're not caught in the exodus.I hear some of the Baghdad suburbs are dirt cheap. Once life settles down there, you'll triple your investment. God knows by then Syria might just be where the boom is headed. So, while I'm currently in Panama, who knows for how long? Teira del Fuego is ripe for influx. Gotta get there before the rest of the masses discover it; before it's too late. And it's only a hop, skip, and a jump to Antartica from there. Who says you can't build on ice? So you buy a little inland Antarctica so if some chunks of the periphery break off, you'll be safe and be smiling at how well you've invested. And once the poles shift, hell you'll be north in no time.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Shut 'em Down!!

From the front page of today's Times. Looks like Office Despot bites the dust. After reading Stacy Mitchell's Big Box Swindle I'm getting front row tickets to watch the death of the big box stores. Here's an opportunity for organizations like Cambridge Local First to take up the slack. And what about the monster space left in Harvard Square by Bowl and Board's flight to Davis Square? Let's get rid of Staples and let Bob Slate move into that space.

Rebel Frequencies Top Music of 2008

This one's worth a look. I'm going to print it out and take it over to Newbury Comics. Lately, I've been listening to Michael Franti and Spearhead. The new album, All Rebel Rockers, well, rocks!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Squirrel Nutkin

This fellow, or gal, appeared on my porch railing the other day. I felt sorry for the animals in this frozen snow so, as the Ramones famously said: "then I did what God forbade." I put out some nuts and seeds. If my neighbors are reading this, I'm dead meat. Put me out for the squirrels.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

You Asked For It

Actually, no you didn't. But since it's time to make the 2009 Iced Coffee Season flyer, why not vote for your favorite from years past? Vote above right, next to the list of books of the month that have been up there since 1904.

Why is this all bluish green? The original is all yellowy orange. Well, I guess you won't be voting for this one.

This one really kicked butt. Wow! Ramon Casas and some other painter on a bicylcle with some Juan Gris thrown in just for fun.

What was Degas thinking, indeed!!! What was I thinking when I used his painting of the Absinthe Drinkers for ICS 2008?

I'd better get cracking on the 2009 flyer. I have a couple of terrible ideas already.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Best Ornament Because

It's in honor of Ralph Nader's great-nephew who played so merrily outside the Middle East Restaurant during the Massachusetts Marathon. And because of my great friend, Jim Calandrillo whose mother made him get out the accordian and play for relatives, and once-- in utter humiliation-- for his friends. The ornament was given to me by my merry daughter, Fionna.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I guess it's been a while

I've been in the art studio and I even have some things to show for it. Here's one for you now. This is called 'Malcolm Thinking at the Buddha Board.

Follow my struggles on my art blog at You will be sorry you did.

I am wildly enthusiastic about Chroma Interactive Acrylics.

I have to go now for my press conference. I'm expecting all the major media to cover the story of how I managed to print my Outlook address book in a double sided format even though my printer dialogue box had this option dimmed out. I'll be taking this up with Epson during the week.

And...expect horrifying things in 2009 from Art Nite aka The Hampshire School of Art!