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Solo Showing

In September 2017, I was invited too mount five of my prints in what is arguably the best pizzeria in Salisbury, MD. DePietro’s NY Pizza specializes in thin-crust, hand-tossed pizza that evokes the best slices in NYC. My art was intended to upgrade the ambiance in the restaurant portion of the shop.

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passion
“Passion” is a 2016 work, 18 x 24,  created with acrylics and pen and ink markers. 

Points of Color

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Points of Color

OPENING QUOTE

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”

E. B. White (1899-1985) was a writer’s writer. He joined The New Yorker in 1927 as a writer and contributing editor, and held those positions his entire life; he never left The New Yorker. He met his wife, Katharine at the magazine; she too was a writer and editor. White was free to work on outside projects and a few of these have become classics. For example, in 1945 White wrote one of the most treasured children’s books, Stuart Little. Prior to this young people’s title, White and the celebrated humorist James Thurber had collaborated on a project: the 1929 title, Is Sex Necessary? Or, Why You Feel the Way You Do. He surpassed the triumph of Stuart Little with an even more beloved children’s title: Charlotte’s Web (1952). For adults, one of his towering achievements was his 1959 revision of  The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.; this work, to this day, remains a fundamental tool for authors. Here is New York (1949) was such a moving  love letter to his city that Biography suggests it may be, “the quintessential depiction of the Big Apple experience.” White continuously published poems and essays, and he issued a third great work for children, The Trumpet of the Swan in 1970.

MERYL & THE STONES

For those who appreciate reading biographies there are two recent works focusing on enduring pop culture icons. I got turned on to the longer works, neither of which I have read yet, by wonderful excerpts. Michael Schulman, the author of Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, wrote a wonderfully informative piece for the April 2016 issue of Vanity Fair in which the author provided fascinating details of how Dustin Hoffman and Streep collaborated on the 1979 film, Kramer vs. Kramer,  which took home the Best Picture Oscar; in addition, both Streep and Hoffman received Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor, respectively. Each of these superb stars brought their special talents to the set and readers will be enthralled how their personal styles and acting methodologies  sometimes meshed and often clashed. For Stones fans, Rich Cohen, in a May 10 posting on Slate, describes how the group’s signature song, “Satisfaction,” took months to craft. It went through a variety of iterations, and at times the group was prepared to just drop the song because it wasn’t working. But they persevered, and through multiple creative breakthroughs (for example, Charlie Watts changing the tempo and Keith Richards being handed a fuzz box) the song that the world knows somehow emerged and made the Stones into a supergroup. Keith relates in the Slate piece how he didn’t even know when “Satisfaction” would be released as a single; he found out when he heard the song on his car radio. This band’s history is explored in The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones, just published on May 10.
DSCF1868
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

ART SQUARED

NETWORK.1Network, released in 1977, was a film far ahead of its time. Its subject matter was how a national television network functioned. In addition to major stars––William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Peter Finch––the film also was shrewd enough to borrow from real life and present such national icons as Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor, and President Gerald Ford and Betty Ford. The movie was directed by Sydney Lumet and written by Paddy Chayefsky and won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In 2009, when he was 17,  Aaron Leming––now a digital marketing specialist (with advertising and media production experience) released a work of “kinetic typography” in which the great set piece in Network was given new life. In the movie, Peter Finch (Best Actor Oscar) has either a breakdown or a revelation; Leming took Finch’s extraordinary monologue and visually augmented it;  the words Finch shouts out are animated and dance to form visually arresting patterns and clusters. “Kinetic typography” seems to be a new art form symbiotically combining spoken word and animation and making the whole greater than the sum of the parts. When the spoken words are as chilling and mesmerizing as the ones written for Finch by Chayefsky––who won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay––the effect is stunning and unforgettable.

CREATING A MOVIE STAR

GEORGECLOONEY.1       George Clooney became a star on the evening of November 9, 1995. It was the second season of ER and the show’s producers planned an episode to spotlight Clooney’s character, Doug Ross. In the show, Clooney is on his way to a black-tie event and dressed in a tuxedo when he has to stop and change a flat tire in a deluge of pouring rain. He learns of a trapped child, and much of the episode is devoted to Clooney’s heroic efforts to save the kid as both are up to their necks in water. Local news picks up the story, and a live video spotlights the action and anoints Clooney who hasn’t been out of the spotlight since. America took notice of this episode:  48 million viewers  tuned in. To illustrate how the media scene has changed, the 2015 network television show with the highest number of viewers was The Big Bang Theory at 21 million. Non-network television is not yet in the same league as broadcast: the highest number of viewers for a streaming show was Jessica Jones (on Netflix) at 4.81 million; HBO’s hit Game of Thrones, in its season closer this year, drew a record number of viewers, 8.11 million. Clooney left ER to work in the movies and his latest film, Money Monster had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 12. The film had a $27 million budget, also starred Julia Roberts, and was directed by Jodie Foster; yet, in its initial week it had ticket sales estimated at only $15 million. It was third in box office, dwarfed by the super-hero flick, Captain America: Civil War, which brought in $72.5 million. But no matter. Clooney has a huge movie career. His top grossing films have been the Ocean (11, 12, and 13) series with a combined gross of $426 million; Gravity ($274 million); The Perfect Storm ($182 million); Batman and Robin ($107 million); and Tomorrowland ($93 million).

 GROWING COLLECTION

With this week’s addition of my latest artwork, “Circle Mountain,” and the birthday/note/Christmas cards I’ve created, there are now nearly 40 pieces to peruse in my shop on Etsy.com. I’m quite proud of the way my body of my work is growing.
CIRCLEMOUNTAIN.
Circle Mountain
The Points of Color blog by Ken Handel appears occasionally. Please send comments/suggestions to ken.handel4@gmail.com. To subscribe, please send the message, “Please send Points of Color to my e-mail [__Please Insert Your E-mail Here_________________________] whenever it is distributed.”

Points of Color

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Points of Color

OPENING QUOTE

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

MAYAANGELOU.1
Maya Angelou (1928–2014) was one of this country’s most beloved writers and poets. She won international acclaim for her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). Later in her career she would publish two additional autobiographies, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986) and A Song Flung Up to Heaven (2002). Her poetry collection, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die (1971) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Before she began writing, she was an actor and musician, and she always was an activist for civil rights. Combining all these talents, she won a Grammy Award for the spoken word presentation of  “On the Pulse of Morning,” a poem she had created especially for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Angelou was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in the play Look Away (1973) and an Emmy Award for her work in Roots (1977).  She also published books of essays and cookbooks.

DEVIOUS KILLER

In the mid 14th century, bubonic plague killed more than 20 million people in Europe––or from one-third to one-half of the population. The disease is caused by a bacteria named Yersina pestis and is spread primarily by bites from infected fleas. Following the European catastrophe, bubonic plague spread eastward on the fabled Silk Road and has now been linked to an outbreak in contemporary Russia. But a new and  astounding hypothesis––presented in current media reports and at the Society for American Archaeology meeting in April 2016––is that the Black Plague pathogen somehow managed to lurk undetected in Europe for centuries. Hundreds of years after its first deadly assault on Europe, it emerged again in  the 17th century, ravaging such cities as London, Seville, and Vienna;  it was responsible for the death of tens of thousands. It’s final murderous appearance was an 18th-century outbreak in Marseilles. Following this French flare-up, the medieval strain of plague appears to have become extinct. However, the pathogen served as the ancestor of more modern strains that afflicted  19th-century China and current-day Madagascar. As of February 2015, the World Health Organization confirmed that bubonic plague was responsible for 71 deaths (and 263 cases) on Madagascar. In March 2016, The Washington Post reported on the Madagascar disease outbreak. Driving  research into the historical characteristics of Yersina pestis are new DNA analytical and sequencing techniques that are used on human skeletons from the distant past. Understanding the ways in which plague has existed and interacted with humans could lead to methods of halting its spread in the future. Today, plague is not inevitably the killer it has been in the past due to quick medical isolation, respiratory support, and treatment with antibiotics, oxygen, and  intravenous fluids.

INSULTING POLITICS

After his victory in the Indiana primary on May 3, Donald Trump became the “presumptive” Republican candidate for President in 2016, which means that although he has not yet officially won the nomination, he is expected to triumph. As we contemplate millions of committed Republicans voting for the Donald in November, it’s instructive to review some of the comments made about him when the outcome of the candidate selection process was still in doubt. Sen. Ted Cruz, who had a bizarre pas de deux with the Donald, has excoriated Trump as, “utterly amoral…a pathological liar,” and “a snivelling coward.” Sen. Marco Rubio called Trump, “absurd…offensive…ridiculous,” and “a con artist.” Jeb Bush, whose campaign was a lead balloon from the beginning, whined that Trump “was one part unhinged and one part foolish.” Sen. Lindsay Graham didn’t mince words, terming the Donald “a nutjob…and a loser as a person.” The Des Moines Register was quite creative in criticizing Trump as “a feckless blowhard,” while Germany’s Der Spiegel chose to highlight Trump’s potential danger in headlining a story: “America’s Agitator: Donald Trump Is the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” The vast majority of Americans seem to agree with all of this negative character assessment since nearly three-quarters of a poll conducted in early April revealed that Trump’s unfavorable rating is above 70%. However, as vulgar and disheartening as the politics of insult has been in this election cycle, it’s important to remember that mud-slinging has been part of the U.S. electoral process since the time of the Founding Fathers. For example, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson grew to hate each other and their campaign invective in 1800 mirrored their feelings. In the Civil War, George MecLelland, the commanding general of the Union Army, called Lincoln “a coward…an idiot,” and “the original gorilla.” And in a quote sometimes attributed to Theodore Roosevelt (which referred to the run-up to the 1896 election),  it was said that one of the candidates  “had no more backbone than a chocolate eclair.” Former President Harry Truman cut to the chase in his description of Tricky Dick Nixon. Truman called Nixon “a shifty-eyed God-damned liar.” Former President Lyndon B. Johnson also was known for his insults and scatological language. Referring to President Gerald Ford, Johnson quipped: “”Jerry Ford is so dumb he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.” 
HARRYTRUMAN.
President Harry S. Truman,  whose term ran from 1945 to 1953, didn’t think much of President Richard M. Nixon.

FINE FLICK

BEGINAGAIN.
The other night I had one of those great Netflix experiences where you take a chance on a film you know nothing about and are rewarded for your curiosity. The movie I discovered  was Begin Again and I was so enchanted with it that I impulsively shared my reaction in a Facebook post: 
“If you love movies, music, people, home, children, and a sense of authenticity I turn you on to Begin Again. It’s a 2014 film streaming on Netflix that stars Keira Knightly, Mark Ruffalo, and many others. It’s about second chances, discovery, talent, love, betrayal and much more. It is probably the greatest love letter to NYC since Woody Allen’s Manhattan. It’s gritty. It’s drunk. It promises that if you stay alive you might get a shot at redemption. It believes people can change. It gives music an extraordinarily immediate quality–as if you were a fly on the wall at a studio session. It captures passion–both between human beings and in song. It’s about overcoming doubt and believing in your talent whether you are 15 or 50. The plot’s as old as romantic comedy. But the execution is as new as a great bootleg heard for the first time.”
In addition to posting on FB, I also immediately ordered the soundtrack––which I think is good but not great.

CHEAP THRILL

One of my vices is smoking cigars. I enjoy about two per day, lighting one up, smoking it for a few minutes, and the putting it out to reignite later. I feel like I have found a diamond in the rough in the cigar I choose.  It is called “Factory Throwout #99” and is sold in “bundles” of 20. Ostensibly this cigar was at first destined to be much more expensive, but then some color blemish in the tobacco-leaf wrapper (which I have trouble noticing) caused it to be banished to the #99 pile. The # signifies what type of “throwout” it is; in my case, #99s are “Churchills,” named after Winston Churchill, the cigar and cognac-loving British Prime Minister. The cost of each of my cigars is $1.40. Typically, good cigars are not mentioned at this price point; when people think of good cigars, they tend to “think expensive,” and in perusing this list of some of the most priciest cigars, you’ll see they are they are justified. The wealthy have always spent more on their pleasures, and this tiny bulletin from the income inequality universe merely confirms that “the rich are different.”
  • Gurkha Black Dragon, $1,150 per cigar
  • Gurkha “His Majesty’s Reserve,” $750 per cigar
  • Cohiba Behike, $450 per cigar
  • Arthur Fuente Opus X A, $80 per cigar
  • Arthur Fuente Don Artura Edición Aniversario, $78 per cigar
  • Arthur Fuente Opus X BBMF, $55 per cigar
  • Goldwin Louixs, $50 per cigar
  • Davidoff Royal Salomones, $48 per cigar

NEWEST ART

I just completed my latest art work, which I call “Circle Mountain.” I plan to bring the piece to the printer in the next few days to produce prints which will become available in my wordsandabstracts shop on Etsy.com. “Circle Mountain”: 2016, 14 x 17, acrylics and artists’ markers on paper.
 CIRCLEMOUNTAIN.
The Points of Color blog by Ken Handel appears occasionally. Please send comments/suggestions to ken.handel4@gmail.com. To subscribe, please send the message, “Please send Points of Color to my e-mail [__Please Insert Your E-mail Here_________________________] whenever it is distributed.”

Points of Color

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Points of Color

Politics has become a big money game with huge sums being raised and spent seeking the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations. According to the Federal Election Commission, contributions to all candidates in the 2016 race have amounted to more than $710 million dollars; the Democrats led slightly, having raised about $370 million compared to the Republican total of $340 million. On The Center for Responsive Politics website, Open Secrets.org, the contributions are sourced: $446 million, or more than 61% of the total raised, came from super PACs supporting individual candidates. This unsettling reality, of wealthy individuals and corporations spending an unlimited amount of money on favored politicians, can be directly attributed to the Supreme Court’s atrocious ruling in the celebrated case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010).  Among Democrats, more than 42% of Hillary Clinton’s fundraising came from outside sources, including super PACS, while Bernie Sanders took exactly the opposite route: a record number of individuals––2,513,665 contributors––each donated a small amount (average November 2015-January 2016 contriution: $27.16). Yet, as of this FEC report, Sanders led Clinton in fundraising: $182,182,143 to $180,158,371. Among GOP candidates, Donald Trump is shouldering the cost of funding his campaign primarily from of his own fortupne. In fact, 75% of Trump’s fundraising total, or more than $36 million, came from the candidate’s own resources. Other, failed Republican candidates, notably Jeb Bush, far outspent the Donald only to crash and burn. Bush, in his diastrous campaign, raised $155+ million––far exceeding any other GOP candidate––of which $121,143,468 came from outside sources, such as super PACs.

STEAL THOSE PROFITS!

Although many leading corporations have enjoyed record profits in recent years, a culture has developed in which corporations actively seek to shield their treasure from U.S. taxes. For example, in 2015, General Electric and United Continental Airlines paid $0 the government in taxes. A legal industry has grown up with the goal of assisting companies to avoid their responsponsibilities; tax attorneys on staff and hired as consultants create complex strategies in which companies are able to render their profits as unavailable to the Treasury Department. Thus, 75% of Fortune 500 corporations hid profits–exceeding $2 trillion— in offshore tax havens in 2014. Also, a number of large corporations spent more on lobbying than they did on federal taxes between 2008-2012. Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service has endured budget cuts which have crippled that agency’s ability to audit large corporations. Corporations, on the other hand, have increased spending to the personnel responsible for developing tax avoidance schemes.

PANAMAPAPERS.1

If a friend or loved one has a birthday coming up consider sending them a unique birthday card featuring my original art and text. The card is 5 x 7, four pages, and is printed on semi-gloss stock using a high-end digital press. Cards sell for $3.50 in my wordsandabstracts shop on Etsy.com.

Points of Color

Points of Color

Points of Color

Politics has become a big money game with huge sums being raised and spent seeking the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations. According to the Federal Election Commission, contributions to all candidates in the 2016 race have amounted to more than $710 million dollars; the Democrats led slightly, having raised about $370 million compared to the Republican total of $340 million. On The Center for Responsive Politics website, Open Secrets.org, the contributions are sourced: $446 million, or more than 61% of the total raised, came from super PACs supporting individual candidates. This unsettling reality, of wealthy individuals and corporations spending an unlimited amount of money on favored politicians, can be directly attributed to the Supreme Court’s atrocious ruling in the celebrated case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010).  Among Democrats, more than 42% of Hillary Clinton’s fundraising came from outside sources, including super PACS, while Bernie Sanders took exactly the opposite route: a record number of individuals––2,513,665 contributors––each donated a small amount (average November 2015-January 2016 contriution: $27.16). Yet, as of this FEC report, Sanders led Clinton in fundraising: $182,182,143 to $180,158,371. Among GOP candidates, Donald Trump is shouldering the cost of funding his campaign primarily from of his own fortupne. In fact, 75% of Trump’s fundraising total, or more than $36 million, came from the candidate’s own resources. Other, failed Republican candidates, notably Jeb Bush, far outspent the Donald only to crash and burn. Bush, in his diastrous campaign, raised $155+ million––far exceeding any other GOP candidate––of which $121,143,468 came from outside sources, such as super PACs.

STEAL THOSE PROFITS!

Although many leading corporations have enjoyed record profits in recent years, a culture has developed in which corporations actively seek to shield their treasure from U.S. taxes. For example, in 2015, General Electric and United Continental Airlines paid $0 the government in taxes. A legal industry has grown up with the goal of assisting companies to avoid their responsponsibilities; tax attorneys on staff and hired as consultants create complex strategies in which companies are able to render their profits as unavailable to the Treasury Department. Thus, 75% of Fortune 500 corporations hid profits–exceeding $2 trillion— in offshore tax havens in 2014. Also, a number of large corporations spent more on lobbying than they did on federal taxes between 2008-2012. Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service has endured budget cuts which have crippled that agency’s ability to audit large corporations. Corporations, on the other hand, have increased spending to the personnel responsible for developing tax avoidance schemes.

PANAMAPAPERS.1

If a friend or loved one has a birthday coming up consider sending them a unique birthday card featuring my original art and text. The card is 5 x 7, four pages, and is printed on semi-gloss stock using a high-end digital press. Cards sell for $3.50 in my wordsandabstracts shop on Etsy.com.

Points of Color

Points of Color

POINTS OF COLOR

NOTE:  This is the first issue since January, 2016. That’s what you get when your fingers are crushed by a large dog in the dog park. Now that I can type again, I hope to resume a more regular publication.

Opening Quote

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925 for his playwrighting. Over the course of his career, the Dublin-born Irish writer composed more than 60 theatrical works and also worked as a critic. He was a committed and outspoken socialist. One of his most famous plays was Pygmalion, which was turned into a film for which he received an Academy Award for his script; it also served as the basis for “My Fair Lady” on Broadway. Among his other celebrated works are Man and Superman, Major Barbara, Androcles and the Lion, and Saint Joan.

HAPPY ALONE

SINGLEWOMAN.1
More and more women are choosing to postpone marriage and children. Many have decided to remain single without husband or child.
There is a major sociological trend in the United States today, a preference for individual adults to  live, work, and love as single entities. The number of single men and women in the U.S. now amounts to 107 million people–or 45% of all citizens over 18. Single women outnumber their male counterparts, 53% to 47%. Also:  the age of marriage has grown later in life: 27 years for women and 29 for men, which compares to 20 and 22, respectively, in 1960. The age at which women have a first child also has increased: today it is 26.3 years while in 1970 it was 21.4 years. More people are also living together outside of marriage. As one study put it, “the number of cohabiting, unmarried partners increased by 88% from 1990 to 2007.” While 48% of adult Americans were married when a 2011 study was undertaken, this figure is down dramatically  from 1950 when 78% were hitched. A new book by Rebecca Traister examines the drive toward singlehood by women and provides historical and contemporary data explaining and analyzing this phenomenon. Traister’s 2016 feminist work–All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation–was praised by The New York Times Book Review as a well-researched, deeply informative examination of women’s bids for independence, spanning centuries…. This is an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone —not just the single ladies—who wants to gain a greater understanding of this pivotal moment in the history of the United States.”

OHIO PROPHET

Ohio Governor John Kasich, in his Don Quixote-like drive for the GOP nomination for president visited NYC on April 12. The Republican primary was but one week away in delegate-rich New York, and Kasich attempted to gain some votes by visiting a Hasidic community in Brooklyn, and more specifically a matzo factory. What he did was advertise his Midwestern provincialism and his ignorance of history and culture outside of his own small world. He mentioned, for example “the Passover,” a joyous liberation commemoration of the end of slavery for Jews in Egypt, that’s in process as I write. Would Kasich appreciate a Jew, Muslim or Buddhist speaking of “the Easter” or “the Christmas?” John, it’s just Passover. To his ultra-Orthodox Jewish hosts, he felt compelled to provide this comment: “The great link between the blood that was put above the lamppost, the blood of the lamb, is Jesus Christ is known as the Lamb of God and the great link is, it was the blood of the lamb that saved the Jewish people, and in Christianity, it was the blood of the Lamb of God that saves all of us. It’s a wonderful, wonderful holiday for our friends in the Jewish community, the Passover.” This is wrong and insensitive on so many levels that it becomes comedy. The next time Kasich gets a yen to discuss Passover, first I suggest that he watch the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille film, The Ten Commandments, in which Charlton Heston became a superstar portraying Moses.
OBAMASEDER.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a 2011 Passover Seder at the White House.

RICH, RICH, RICH

For your daydreaming pleasure, here are some consumer activities that are only to be enjoyed by the very wealthy 1%. Politics: Seats at the head table of a Los Angeles Democratic fundraiser featuring George Clooney and his wife Amal sold for $353,400. Autos: Buy one of the most expensive cars in the world–a Bentley Azure Convertible Mulliner–for $376,485. Real Estate: Purchase a 12-room home in Brookline, MA (Boston)–complete with a pond and Zen garden–for $13.5 million (asking price $18 million). Boat: The November 2015 issue of Yachting Magazine features an ad by Monocle Yachting that cites these figures: the cost of a new yacht, $3,500,000; the amount of money required for four-week annual use, $300,000; the “actual weekly cost of owning such an investment,” $116,000. To celebrate purchasing your new boat, Yachting recommends such gifts as a custom knife handle ($30,000-$100,000) and/or platinum or gold earphones ($25,000+). Toast your privileged status with wine selling for about $100 per bottle.
YACHT..jpg
Very few people can afford a large ocean-going yacht, a pleasure restricted to the 1%.

DESIGN AVOIDANT

REMOTECONTROL.EDIT   Technology investor Dave McClure says, “Design is more important than technology in most consumer applications.” This week I had to get a new Comcast cable box and remote control. Both are poorly designed. Where my prior box contained a useful and easy to read clock, this cable hub is completely featureless and appears to be some anonymous server in a human-free zone. The remote is mat black with tiny keys and indecipherable text set in six-point white type that you need to hold up to your nose to read. Television remotes were introduced in 1956 and since then have remained hideously designed–an after thought. After 59 years you would think that someone would have realized that varying the size of the buttons, using lighting, increasing the size of the remote itself, or all of the above would make for happier consumers. But remotes remain the poor, deprived orphans of consumer electronics.

 ONE LIFE

Some wit once said, “There is no dress rehearsal for life.” What you perceive with your senses is what you get. To reinforce this message, I’ve created a new note card. The headline is: BE HERE NOW. It is 5 x 7, four-pages, and features my original art. The card’s printed on semi-gloss stock on a high-end digital press. It is available at my shop on Etsy.com, comes with a mailing envelope, and sells for $3.50.

BEHERENOWCARD.

The Points of Color blog by Ken Handel appears occasionally. Please send comments/suggestions to ken.handel4@gmail.com. To subscribe, please send the message, “Please send Points of Color to my e-mail [__Please Insert Your E-mail Here_________________________] whenever it is distributed.” 

 

TAGS: Technology quotes, U.S. demographics, single women, marriage rate, child-bearing age, John Kasich, high-end consumerism, wealth, technology, design, phenomenology.

Points of Color

POINTS OF COLOR

POINTS OF COLOR

Opening Quote

“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.”

Abraham Maslow was one of the founders of humanistic psychology. His  early research was in primate dominance and sexuality, and he gained a mentor in Albert Adler, one of Freud’s early adherents. From 1937-1951, Maslow worked at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College. There, he gained two additional mentors: anthropologist Ruth Benedict and Max Wertheimer, the father of Gestalt psychology. Slowly, Maslow began formulating his theories regarding the nexus between human potential and mental health. He created a hierarchy of human needs with those that address self-actualization at the top: the need to fulfill oneself and to grow into everything one was capable of becoming. Prior to Maslow’s hypothesis, psychology was concerned primarily with the abnormal; he explored how positive mental health meshed with one’s ongoing life. Maslow also served at Brandeis University from 1951-1969.

Questions

The Flint, Michigan lead-in-water scandal has some interesting side issues: such as the responsibility of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to share critical findings with the public. EPA water expert, Miguel Del Toral first discovered the high-lead contamination of Flint’s water in February 2015, rechecked his findings in April and prepared an internal memo outlining the situation in June 2015. During this period, EPA kept the information secret and attempted to “prod” Michigan’s Department of Environment Quality to take action. EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman sought a legal opinion on whether it was acceptable to disclose the news, but that was not completed until November. It took until October 2015––eight months––for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to admit it had used the wrong Federal law to monitor the lead being ingested by Flint citizens. Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech scientist who discovered the lead contamination, believes that State and Federal employees had an immediate responsibility to alert the public, rather than downplaying its significance, as some critics have charged. This stonewalling style of Regional EPA’s Hedman fits in with Federal EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s decision to not responding to media requests for information on at least one occasion. Citizens had raised questions of whether artificial turf playing fields were safe for children. And the EPA and McCarthy would not respond to multiple requests for EPA guidance on the artificial turf from NBC—one request was on camera. A major question whether Hedman et al violated the Nuremburg guidelines by maintaining their silence as people of color were being poisoned by lead. It would seem they need a refresher course in “Black Lives Matter.” (Of course the state was silent also; but they were the ones whose incompetence in this project so endangered Flint, so their reticence to admit their mistake is more understandable, if also bogus.)
{NOTE: This piece is based on reporting by Jim Lynch of The Detroit News and an interview with Governor Rick Snyder and Ron Fournier in National Journal. Also NBC Nightly News in regard to artificial turf playing fields.} 
[NOTE 2:] Late on Thursday afternoon, January 21, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy accepted Susan Hedman’s resignation effective February 1st.

Senses

Most people are sure of at least a few things–such as death and taxes, and the fact that humans possess five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. However, in a 2015 book exploring dolphins, their extraordinary abilities, and their relationship with humans, author Susan Casey declares that men and women are using much more sensory data than previously known.
DOLPHIN.
There are many types of dolphins, but all possess extraordinary qualities.

“…rather than the five senses you think you possess…humans have at least twenty-one means of perception. Our biological toolkit includes proprioception (the position of one’s body in space); chronoception (a sense of the passage of time); nociception (the awareness of pain); equilibrioception (if you’ve ever had vertigo, you know what it means to lose this); and themoception (a sense of hot and cold). There are internal sensors throughout our bodies–in our brains, hearts, blood, skin, cells–registering even the most ethereal cues.”

Among the astounding ideas this work passes on about dolphins is that they possess self-awareness and can identify themselves as the image in a mirror. “Presley and Tab [the two dolphin subjects of the experiment] became the first non-primates to do this, mugging in front of the mirror, craning their bodies around, and flipping upside down to examine their marks.” Anyone interested in the human-animal interface will enjoy and learn a great deal from Susan Casey’s extended love note, Voices in the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins.

Predictable

On Tuesday, January 19th, Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump. As if sane citizens needed a reason to flee the Donald, here’s the most embarassingly inept Vice Presidential candidate in the history of the republic to give you one. These two deserve each other.

Excellence

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Christopher Foyle was a policeman his whole life, but by the time he got to London, he was working for MI-5.
My nomination for the best television show of recent years is the British series, Foyle’s War. The show first focused on Christopher Foyle’s duties as a ranking police detective in Southern England during World War II. After a number of seasons, the show was cancelled, and then, because of popular outrage was brought back: the second iteration had Foyle working––and seeming rather lost––in Britain’s domestic intelligence service, MI-5, just after World War II has ended. After a hiatus of a number of years, Netflix is now streaming three new episodes of Foyle’s War created in 2015, in which Michael Kitchen, who plays Foyle, is again at MI-5–this time, during the Cold War. Here’s how Mary McNamara described her devotion to this show in the Los Angeles Times:

           “As a fan, I watch “Foyle’s War” repeatedly and            obsessively for            the same reason I reread Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Agatha                      Christie, Edna O’Brien, Jean Kerr, Margaret Atwood or “To Kill a                  Mockingbird” repeatedly and obsessively–because it transports,                  enthralls, enriches and comforts me.

           As a critic, I watch it because it is so unbelievably good at what it                    does, and I never tire of  trying to figure out why, exactly.”

In Hollywood Journal, a writer declares that “The show’s creator, Anthony Horowitz, has written one of the most complex characters ever created: brilliant, wry, and at times, almost cruel in his honesty.” Michael Kitchen, a British actor portrays Foyle with a “unique charm of character and performance-not only in Foyle himself, brought brilliantly to life by Michael Kitchen’s muted, charismatic acting style. Honeysuckle Weeks, too, as his impeccably mannered sidekick and driver, Sam Stewart, is another unobtrusive yet magnetic presence.” That rave is from The Telegraph, in the UK. My advice, if you haven’t yet discovered this magnificent show, is to go to Netflix as quickly as possible to remedy the situation.
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My “Robot on the Beach,” can’t measure up to dolphins or supersmart cops. However,it might make you smile. To order prints of my artwork, go to my Etsy.com shop.

 

The Points of Color blog by Ken Handel appears occasionally. Please send comments/suggestions to WordsandAbstracts@gmail.com. To subscribe, please send the message, “Please send Points of Color to my e-mail [__Please Insert Your E-mail Here_________________________] whenever it is distributed.” Send to WordsandAbstracts@gmail.com.

 

Points of Color

POINTS OF COLOR

POINTS OF COLOR

Opening Quote

“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.”

Tony Robbins is a popularand influential motivational speaker and coach (whose clients have included such renowned individuals as Princess Diana, Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and former Soviet political leader, MIkhail Gorbachev.) He has published a number of self-help titles including, Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within.l He is controversial for both his self-promotion and his theories, which manifest themselves in “firewalk” seminars in which participants demonstrate their control over their environment by walking barefoot over red-hot coals.

Despicable

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On January 6, The New York Times covered the House passage of a bill repealing Obamacare. The piece included a few comments by Democratic House members who spoke to the purely political nature of the legislation. But what was lacking–throughout the entire mainstream media conflation–was a resounding denunciation of the Republican Party which demonstrated anew that it is more concerned with political theater and ideological correctness than in fulfilling their Constitutional roles.
Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer noted that 62 similar anti-Obamacare bills already had been ratified by the House. But the news was that this was the first time that the Senate too had voted to repeal. The bill was sent on to the White House, where, on Friday, January 8, President Obama vetoed it just as the Republicans knew he would. Steinhauer had commented that “Republicans do not have sufficient votes to override the president,” so this whole exercise was yet another futile gesture in a nation crying out for genuine governance.
Why is there an absence of rigorous media condemnation of Republican initiatives solely motivated by ideology? Anyone not brain-dead is aware of the endless list of problems confronting the U.S. Yet many of these critical challenges to our way of life continue to grow in complexity and danger precisely beause of GOP inaction and obstruction–such as the lack of a plan to repair the nation’s infrastructure.
Steinhauer’s article was quick to describe a rising popular dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act, when, in fact, the law reflects the pretzel-like logic that demanded that the provision of health care insurance continue to be profit-driven. The OECD reports that the U.S. spends 17.7% of its GDP on healthcare while the national average within the organization is only 9.3%. Analysis by the Commonwealth Fund shows how little the nation gets for its attachment to private-sector metrics: “[T]he U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of peformance….Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries…the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity.”
The Times article also did not mention how 20 Red States, desperate to harm both the ACA and President Obama himself, refused to expand Medicaid as permitted by the Supreme Court affirmation of Obamacare. Thus, enrolling as many citizens as possible in health insurance, was a critical aspect of the cost-cutting intention of Obamacare, and it has been subverted by the GOP. In those self-destructivae states that did not expand Medicaid, sick people continue to flock to emergency rooms for expensive treatment rather than receiving health insurance that would provide better care a much lower prices. NPR estimates that states refusing to expand Medicaid “saw their costs to provide health care to the poor rise twice as fast as states that extended benefits to more low-income residents.”
Why does the GOP get a free ride on its destructive, obstructive stance that ensures that we are a nation in decline rather than one striving to cope with all the challenges it faces? In 2012, political commentators Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published a book entitled It’s Even Worse Than It Looks that squarely placed the blame for American legislative gridlock on the GOP. The work received widespread coverage, but it is as if the nation is all suffering from Jason Bourne’s amnesia. Nothing has changed. The GOP, especially in a presidential election year, is willing to hold the nation hostage to the small number of core Republican voters in a few key primary states. These fanatics are far to the right of the general population. It does not matter if the nation rolls dangerously on the storm-tossed waves of a thousand challenges. However, one might expect more truth from those in the mainstream media. There is no “fairness doctrine” issue here. By passing on legislation with the certain knowledge of a veto, it’s solely the GOP that continues to spin its wheels and waste yet more time. The pain citizens experience living in a society kidnapped by income inequality will not be alleviated if the GOP continues to abort any and all legislation its most reactionary elements oppose.
[NOTE: This piece is an example of a writer’s error. It was intended to be submitted as a “Letter to the Editor” of The Times, but then I discovered that my wordcount was six times what is specified by The Times.]

Worthy

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The Voyager–not the Enterprise.
I add my vote as a committed Star Trek person who has seen every iteration at this point that Voyager is as good as any of the series. In fact, with its female captain, chief engineer and Seven of Nine, the show had a new feel to it. I found the doctor a bit tiresome, although the concept of a hologram developing new skills and interests was a good a story arc as Data’s. Neelix grew on me. Seven of Nine was not merely T&A; she was brilliant and extraordinarily competent at virtually every task she attempted. The Astrometrics Lab was her creation and soon Voyager could not function without it. This was a show of misfits; Lt. Paris, for example, came from a penal colony, many crew members were formerly in the Maquis resistance, and there was a non-conformity that fit the fact that the ship was in uncharted space for the Federation. This was the Borg’s home turf, as well as Species 8472. Dynasties rose and fell with Voyager buffetted by the turbulence. Kate Mulgrew was a good captain–as brave as any, as wise, and she enjoyed mentoring. I could have watched another 100 episodes.
[NOTE: This is the review of Star Trek Voyager I posted on Netflix.]

Symbols

Symbols is the title of a artwork poster I created that incorporates many of the political and other symbols which enable us to navigate life. A print is in my Etsy.com shop.
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“Symbols”–and more than 20 other works– can be ordered as a high quality print at my Etsy.com shop.
 The Points of Color blog by Ken Handel appears occasionally. Please send comments/suggestions to WordsandAbstracts@gmail.com. To subscribe, please send the message, “Please send Points of Color to my e-mail [__Please Insert Your E-mail Here_________________________] whenever it is distributed.” Send to WordsandAbstracts@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POINTS OF COLOR

POINTS OF COLOR

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December 7, 2015

Opening Quote

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) might have been the world’s most celebrated 20th-century artist. Although born in Spain, he spent most of his life in France. His father too was a painter as well as an art teacher. Picasso’s creative gift manifested itself while he was quite young, and when his family moved to Barcelona he was accepted into the city’s prestigious art school at the remakable age of 14. But the prodigy chafed at art school, which he also attended in Madrid. In 1901, at the age of 21, he said adios to Spain and opened a studio in Paris. After two brief periods–his Blue and Rose years–he began to revolutionize art in 1907 with his famous work, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”; this painting set the stage for cubism, which he developed with Georges Braques. In the decades that followed he would paint in a variety of schools and techniques. One of his most powerful surrealist works, “Guernica,” mourned the fascist murder of thousands in the Spanish Civil War; it has been praised as “one of the most moving and powerful anti-war paintings in history.”

Attack!

This week’s episode of God Is Great: Kill! Kill! was in San Bernardino, California. Unusually, it featured a husband/wife terrorist team, and they murdered 14 people attending a Christmas luncheon as well as wound an additional 21. However, as gruesome as this random slaughter was, 75 years ago, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy inflicted an infinitely greater loss of life when carrier-based aircraft attacked American forces at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The 350 high-altitude bombers, dive bombers, torpedo bombers, and fighters came in two waves early on a serene Sunday morning and killed 2,335 members of the armed forces and 68 civilians. They also wounded 1,178. The surprise attack sank five battleships and damaged three others. Three light cruisers and three destroyers were obliterated as well as 188 aircraft–many on the ground. Japanese losses amounted to 27 aircraft and five midget subs. President Roosevelt, in seeking a declaration of war against Japan, called the Pearl Harbor sneak attack “a day of infamy.” Times were simpler then: you only had to worry about another government attacking you rather than a man and a woman who might be your neighbors.

Leadership

On Sunday, December 6, President Obama spoke to the nation about San Bernardino and terrorism. This was not one of his best speeches. Although the expression “War on Terror” has fallen into disfavor, an updated sequel is “War on Isis.” If we are to accept this description as accurate, than Obama’s Michael Dukakis imitation didn’t serve the nation well. Instead of soaring and inspiring language the nation received a status report on existing policies that clearly have failed in many people’s eyes. Contrast Obama’s subdued, managerial style with that of Winston Churchill. When Churchill spoke of being at war, he roared, “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” Which approach do you think made citizens more trusting that their leader was guiding their nation to safety?
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Winston Churchill
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President Barack Obama

Prosperity

The American Dream, an expression coined by writer James Truslow Adams in 1931, described “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” But a number of factors have come together to reduce the opportunities for upward mobility in America. Possibly the most important is income inequality. The richest Americans are rewarded with an ever larger portion of the nation’s wealth while the middle class contracts and the number of those in poverty expands. Economist and Nobel Laureate Joseph Steiglitz, in his book The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them, asserts that economic inequality inevitably leads to political inequality, a “vicious circle.” CBS News, which interviewed Steiglitz, noted that “The top 1 percent of Americans now take home 20 percent of all pre-tax income, or double their share in 1980. For most middle-class and lower-income families, income has either stagnated or fallen.” Today, American pre-eminence in championing upward mobility is a myth. In one study, the U.S. trails behind Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and the Netherlands in measuring the likelihood of upward mobility. In a second study, measuring the correlation between a father’s income and a son’s earnings, the United States does even worse: it trails behind Denmark, Norway, Finland, Canada, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Spain, France and Switzerland. Drilling down into the data reveals variations in mobility within the U.S. In other words, as determined by multiple factors (race, class, education, income, etc.) upward mobility varies by geographic destiny. A second blow to they mythology of the American Dream comes in changing attitudes toward home ownership. A recent article was headlined, “Home Ownership Is No Longer the Linchpin of the American Dream.” The article points out that even though many people still aspire to own a home, other factors have conspired to block this goal–such as a concern over retirement income and student loan debt. The percentage of home ownership is now at its lowest rate since 1967. A writer in The Washington Post believes that this trend will continue at least until 2030.

Better

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Love Cards
Send a Love Card to someone and maybe they won’t buy an AR-15 assault rifle. According to a Swiss study, U.S. citizens own 35-50% of the planet’s guns. The Washington Post assesses the number of guns in the hands of American men and women at 270 million. Madness. My holiday note card harkens back to the 1960s when one of the most popular slogans was “Make Love, Not War.” The cards feature an original artwork and a sophisticated tinted area for your greeting.  They are produced on a feel-good off-white stock and printed on a high-end digital press. They are 5 x 7, four pages, and are sold in sets of five for $16.99 at my shop on Etsy.com.
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Assault Rifle
 The Points of Color blog by Ken Handel appears weekly. Please send comments/suggestions to WordsandAbstracts@gmail.com. To subscribe, please send the message, “Please send Points of Color to my e-mail [__Please Insert Your E-mail Here_________________________] whenever it is distributed.” Send to WordsandAbstracts@gmail.com.