Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Today Francis Bacon's 1969 painting, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, sold for $142,405,000 at Christie's postwar and contemporary art sale. Not all that familiar with Francis Bacon's work, I did a google search. I encourage you to do the same if you are not already familiar with this artist's hideous work. That these repulsive images are so highly sought after must say something very disturbing about our dying culture. Ugh.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tattoos Gone Wild

Now I've seen it all--a tattoo supply van making the rounds in my Normal Heights neighborhood. A neighborhood, by the way, whose name becomes more paradoxical by the week. Anyway, I was already going to write a bit about the proliferation of tattoo shops--sometimes called "parlors" for some reason I've never known--and what should I see parked in front of one of our newest tattoo establishments but a big really cool looking step van--the kind UPS uses--and on the side is painted, "San Diego Tattoo Supply. I'm not kidding. You can go to their website and check it out. Apparently there are now enough such shops to justify establishing a supply route for ink and needles and things. Things have come a long way since the days of the Helms bread truck and milk delivery.

While I am on the subject, have you noticed the way tattoos have been creeping up onto young women's necks and faces? Seems not all that long ago when the only tattoo you'd see on a female was perhaps a little butterfly near her ankle. Then it was the "tramp stamp" which I still feel is a bit harsh as a term, but is is nicely alliterative. Then one began to see shoulder tatts, like sailors made famous.  Then "sleeves."  Now that once-so-innocent mischievous little butterfly is likely as not to be found on her cheek (either one). Not only that, but it is likely to be joined by a profusion of flowers, vines, birds, and who knows what. And those are the innocent graphics. Then there is the test. You know, tattooed text. I've seen a young women with a sentence running up and down the back of each leg. I've see others with whole paragraphs on their upper chest. I she is standing in the next grocery line over, I dare you not to try to at least make a few words out in order to get the gist of the message. Well, if you live somewhere--I can't imagine it--where you don't see the things I'm talking about, then just do  Google search with the terms "tattoo" and "girl" and you'll get quickly up to speed.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year... a Few Days Late...

I’m not ready to begin the new year and it is already, um lemesee, ah, January 5th. The boxes of old/misc paperwork from last year–including some from the year before–are still sitting in the living room waiting for me to sort through them for any “important” items (photos would qualify, as would un-cashed or unsent checks). I am still procrastinating about making NewYear’s resolutions, one of which will obviously need to be to sort through my boxes of old paperwork. On top of it all, I’ve had a raging chest and head cold since, well, since last year now that I think of it. Ugh. Oh–one little miniscule bright light in this depressing landscape which occurs to me at this very moment: whenever I do get around to making my list of resolutions, I can instantly check off the box I’ll put that says, “get back to blogging.” See ya later.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kindling an e-book Romance--Which Brings to Mind the 1st Commandment

To be more precise, the romance is with the device on which I now read my e-books. I have dabbled in e-books for a number of years now--ever since I first looked into Project Gutenberg. I downloaded some e-books here and there onto my computer and filed them away, but usually just forgot they were there. I have followed the Kindle since it came out and had a good deal of interest, but wanted to see if it had staying power or would just be a very expensive experiment for Amazon. After some time I could tell that Amazon was fully committed to Kindle's success and built the technical and inventory support to prove it.

A couple of months back I got my first opportunity to see one up-close. A buddy at church had his and showed it to me, explaining how the e-books are found and downloaded. I asked him to use it to go to Amazon and look up one of my favorite authors, George MacDonald. He did, saying to me, "here is the collected works--a buck seventy-nine. That sealed the deal. I immediately asked my wife to get me one for Christmas and of course she did. I was smitten within minutes of opening it up. This deserves its own post--the packaging itself charmed me. Then there was the welcome and graphic that came on the screen when I first plugged it in... my heart beats faster just at remembering it...

I'll be blogging much more about the/my Kindle in the weeks and months ahead. Like all new Kindle owners, I am anxious to brag about all the books I have acquired and the great bargains and free books available. Oops--I can already see I am beginning to come afoul of yet other commandments. Hmmm... I wonder if the Kindle store carries the collected works of the puritan writers...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ignore This Experiment

Trying to wrestle back some blogging time. This is a start...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Time Warp

Can't beLEEve it's been so long since I've found time to post to my blog. E-gad, something's gotta give... I'll be back... Let it be, dear Lord, let it be!   --Allen

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thy Juice Glass and Thy Wash Rag They Comfort Me

In complete candor I must state at the very outset I have not the slightest idea whether God was involved in what I am about to tell of or not. Could just be two giant quinky-dinks. With that disclaimer, here goes.

A few weeks back, at breakfast time, I got a hankering for orange juice. The aforementioned hankering came not out of the blue mind you, but was sparked--like most hankerings are--as the result of seeing some inviting  object of desire. This of course is the very bedrock of all marketing. One sees a gadget and says, "I could really use one of those" or sees a photo of an empty hammock under a palm studded white sand beach and says, "I really need to take a vacation soon."In the present case, the object was a simple plastic jug of orange juice in our fridge; one I'd gotten the last time I'd gone shopping just because while at the store I'd remembered that my wife likes orange juice. We hardly ever buy it--perhaps once or twice a year--because, 1) it is rather expensive and 2) my diet does not allow for sugar-rich drinks of any kind. Nonetheless I'd bought it and now there it was and its very presence gave me a sudden hankering for a splash of OJ to go along with my morning Kashi.

The thing was--is--I am for some reason crazily picky about utensils and things. I only wanted a very few ounces of juice and all our glasses were regular sized. The smallest glass we had seemed at least 3 times too big. I knew exactly the kind of glass I needed--and we had nothing like it. I needed a very small juice glass; the kind I'd had when having brunch somewhere or when having a Continental breakfast at some Holiday Inn Express. You know the kind I mean.

Anyway, the next week, when I was at Walmart, I looked for them. I was so intent on getting just what I had in mind I was ready to buy a whole set. We still had more than a half of a jug of OJ left and it would last us for weeks to come. I could justify the purchase of a package of 4 or 6 of them with the thought that we'd use them for company some time. As if we ever have company for breakfast. As it turns out, they for some reason didn't have any juice glasses anyway. I knew I could probably find one at a thrift store someday if I kept a lookout for one, but that search might take years before bearing fruit. Oh well, I'll just keep it listed on my shopping list as a reminder. Perhaps Walmart will get some in sometime.

The following week as I am cleaning up the alley behind our house (I really want to tell you about the alleys in our neighborhood sometime soon!) What did I see, right there on top of an abandoned TV set, but a perfect-sized little juice glass. It needed washing badly, but was otherwise in perfect shape. Just like the ones I remember at Denny's in the 50's and 60's. I suppose it may have been set there by one of the many recyclers who daily roam the alleys collecting aluminum and recyclable glass.

Here's the whole deal: I desired a juice glass and, within several days of feeling such a 'need', a juice glass appears! How odd is that?

OK--one quinky-dink out of the blue. But check this out: the very next week, after determining that the wash cloth I've been using for years was recycle-bin-bait because the holes in it had grown to be big enough to put 4 fingers through, guess what I found laying in the middle of 4th Ave as I collected trash from around the church? Yup--a white wash cloth. Brand new. Must have fallen from a passing vehicle. TWO quinky-dinks in a row. Both small insignificant things I had simply wanted. I wanted them--they appeared in my path. Weird.

Here is where, if time permitted, I'd wax philosophical/metaphysical about things. But you are saved by the bell. It's late and I must get to bed. More later--as time permits.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ok, I am now going to push my personal envelope--a bit. I told you I'd give a follow-up report and here it is. Earlier today I had the afore-mentioned (previous post) medial procedure. It is the one folks my age are supposed to have and it ends in oscopy. There. That's on the table. Not as a topic of discussion mind you, just there on the table. Let's let sleeping medical procedures lie.

I should add that nothing was found--a good thing of course--and, according to the doc, "everything looked fine" and so I need not repeat this unnamed procedure for another 10 years. I will say this though: That medicine they give you so you won't care what they are doing to you worked really well.

Nuff said.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Revelations and TMI

I suppose in a blog with expansive boundries--topic-wise--I could be expected to touch on the more personal happenings in my life from time to time. Personal issues however are not what I am always anxious or happy to write about. With that preface in place, I'll just say I have a less-than-pleasant medical proceedure to contend with first thing in the morning. After I have endured this for-now-unnamed proceedure, if there are any comment-worthy thoughts on my mind regarding the experience--and I think them somehow worthy of sharing--I may bring myself to post them here then. We'll see...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Movin' and a-Groovin' in the Social Networking World!

I've just been clicking all kinds of stuff in order to--I think/hope--link this blog to my facebook profile. This here little post is a test of sorts to see if I am going to irritate myself or others by linking things up in this way. As always,  comments are welcomed and appreciated. Now I'm off for my morning walk.

Facebook | Allen Randall

Facebook | Allen Randall

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Didn't Know it (the "turbulance") Would Begin so Soon.

Fox News is running the headline, "In the Midwest, The FBI Make Militia Arrests." In light of this new development,  I predict the smearing of the tea party movement will now begin in earnest. All the derisive comments and innuendo up to this point have been nothing compared to what I believe is clearly on the horizon. The administration needs some headlines which will serve both to distract from the deep unpopularity of their newly-minted health takeover and will, at the same time, completely marginalize the tea party movement. Watch for a connection to be soon drawn between these latest arrest and the fact that one of those arrested at some point attended a tea party protest.

Look: this militia group--or whatever it is--did NOT spring up right after the signing of the health care bill. No doubt it has been in existence even before Barrack Obama's election. This militia group has probably been under surveillance for many months--if not for years. The administration was just waiting for the most propagandistically propitious moment to play the be-afraid-of-the-tea-party-crowd card. And now they've played it. Expect a few more cards to be slapped down on the media table for public consumption in the weeks and months ahead. As I said in my last post, "Buckle up--I see turbulence ahead."

We May be Experiencing a Little Turbulance up Ahead--So Please be Advised to Fasten Your Seatbelt

It was the day before the 2,600 page health bill passed. I stood at the corner of Broadway and 3rd in downtown San Diego holding a sign reading, "Stand up for liberty!" I was across the street from the main Tea Party folks who numbered about 120. I waited there, apart from the main group so that my wife, who was on her way, could easily find me when she arrived. As I stood there with my sign,  I was approached by a 20-something man who said, with a sneer, "Who are they? A bunch of tea-baggers?" "Well," I said, "that is the derisive and vulgar term used by their opponents--but I prefer to think of us in terms like, patriots, freedom-lovers, responsible citizens and defenders of the Constitution." This I said in a genuinely calm and pleasant tone. Seeing he'd failed to elicit an angry response from me, he quickly walked away, a bit disappointed I imagined.

Let it be said here that contentious folks are to be found on either side of our country's political divide. My purpose in relating the story above is simply to provide a backdrop for  three points I am anxious to make about the current political climate: First, why the presidency of Mr. Obama is not operating on a non-partisan basis and bringing us together as promised. Second, why political correctness and partisan attacks may soon reach levels heretofore not seen in our lifetimes.  And last, why it is that the political left has a far higher percentage of haters in its ranks than does the right.

It should now be glaringly obvious to even the most hopeful Obama supporter that, rather than us seeing our country being happily brought together by a compromising, conciliating, middle-way, political-peace-making president, we are instead witnessing our political and social fabric being agonizingly torn asunder. This tearing has been brought about as a result of the radical changes to our societal structure passed much too rapidly into law using highly unorthodox and undemocratic means and in a purely partisan fashion. This ram-rod approach has troubled a majority of our citizens and roused very deep concerns on the part of many. Some are even quite angry over what they consider the latest, and largest, of a series of unconstitutional power grabs by an administration they view as bent on fundamentally altering the foundational principles of our governmental and economic system.

Political correctness has always been around in one form or another. In a nutshell is is a prevailing political atmosphere which grows to so dominate civic and cultural life that one who expresses opinions contrary to it  may be subject to social "penalties" ranging anywhere from subtle blacklisting to being--in the current political climate--labeled a racist, sexist or homophobe, or even to facing actual civil--or even criminal--penalties. The major institutions of our culture; education, mainstream news media and government, are all purveyors and enforcers of the current left-dominated political correctness. This has been the case at least since the mid-1980s--and in some respects even prior to then. Now however, it seems that political correctness has reached a critical mass and, rather than those in power feeling secure and sanguine in their newly acquired position of power, they seem instead to feel all the more threatened and defensive. Thus, anyone with strong objections to the current government take-overs of large sectors of the economy are now being labeled as somehow "dangerous' or "anti-government." This is a common tactic of those seeking to marginalize and demonize their opponents. I believe we can expect much more of this. We should be ready for it. As I indicated, this ride may get very bumpy.

In conversation with some of my friends on the political or theological left, they will sometimes make reference to "right wing hate" most often citing Rush Limbaugh as their prime example. Compared to any left-wing counterpoint one might want to name--for example anyone on the former Air America network--Mr. Limbaugh is a gentleman's gentleman when it comes to political discourse. My friends on the left seem genuinely incredulous when I give them my testimony that I have found a wonderfully tolerant attitude among  conservatives and far, far less hatred that I had known--and practiced--in my sojourn with the political left. The reasons for this are numerous, but the plain and main reason for the greater volume of hatred on the left, as compared to the right, is simply that the right views people on the left as essentially like themselves, only people who happen to be in the grip of mistaken or bad ideas. Those on the left however, view those on the right as unlike themselves--and as bad or evil people. Hating and expressing hatred can have a cathartic aspect to it and is, in a perverse way, enjoyable and even--also in a perverse way--self-affirming. I know from personal experience. I used to love to hate the right and all conservatives and conservative institutions: traditional churches, their leaders and members; all political groups to the right of my perspective; the Boy Scouts, the military, police, all corporations, big business and of course greedy capitalism in general--and all the middle class "droids" who helped in any way support these institutions. That was quite a vast number of people for me to hate. Seems though I was quite up to the challenge and felt quite self-righteous in the process.

It may be necessary for me to remind the reader that I am fully aware of the fact of right-wing anger and hatred. My whole point though--my assertion based upon experience--is that, as a percentage of the whole, the haters on the right are by far a much smaller percentage than those on the left. Speaking for myself, there were two big factors which kept me from transferring the hatred I once enjoyed--yes, I did enjoy it!--on the left to the other side of the political avenue. One was my newly-acquired Christian value system and the other was the entrenched conservative tradition of respectful civility I found to be firmly in place when I arrived at my new political home. I must confess that from time to time I have been tempted, especially in times past, to backslide back into a clenched-fist approach to political activism, but each time, before very long, I'd find myself relaxing that inner clenched fist as I am reminded, by my Lord and by respected conservative leaders, that although we may be called to the political ramparts, we are always to fight as happy warriors who are to love even our enemies as we go about subjecting their ideas only, and not their persons, to our assaults. This is the happy warrior tradition I am proud to be associated with, and the one I wish--and will work--to see maintained as we move into this next episode of our country's history.