I am actually not one to walk around spouting “family values” even though I think I have strong family values.

But we have a political party that proclaims it’s the party of family values, and it defines those all too often as marriage to be a union between a man and a woman that lasts a lifetime, and that family values must be rooted in religious foundations, preferably or possibly exclusively those of Christian origin.

  • Yet, Trump was on the nomination stage with his five children from three different wives.
  • Melania said she has been with Donald for 18 years, yet he divorced his second wife 16 years ago.
  • Sitting next to Marla Maples in an interview in 1994 and talking about his one-year-old daughter Tiffany: “She’s got Marla’s legs,” and then he moved his hands toward his chest, cupped them and added: “We don’t know whether or not she’s got this part yet, but time will tell.”
  • Here is a collection on The Daily Show that shows Trump’s misogyny under the microscope.
  • And then, of course, there is the famous: “If she weren’t my daughter, I’d be dating her.”

I don’t know about this party of family values, but I think they chose the wrong standard bearer.


Definition of Dictatorship

  • Everything sucks
  • Fascist speeches
  • Unqualified children in outsized roles
  • Fear mongering
  • Narcissism
  • Only I know how to help you
  • Believe me

In 1899, when Churchill was a mere 24 years old, he recognized the threat of Islam. This threat has not changed.


This, from no less than one of the greatest men who ever lived, Winston Churchill, comes this great piece of truth!

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power…

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Once again I was seduced into buying a book because it was marketed well. After all, it has won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010.

Reading it I was bored out of my mind, but since it’s a short book, only 200 pages long, I thought I could make it through it just for the “experience.” I gave up at about 25%, when I found myself just turning the pages to get on with it.

There is no character development, no plot, no story, no reason to keep reading on, ever. Check out this random section below. This is what this book is like throughout:

Such vanity! What gall to elect for yourself such attention, good or bad. Project yourself above yourself. Look at the top of your dusty hat: cheap felt, wilted and patched with scraps from the last wilted and patched felt hat. What a crown! What a king you are to deserve such displeasure, how important that God stop whatever it is He is tending and pitch bolts at your head. Rise higher, above the trees. Your crown is already hard to see amid the dust of the road and dirt of the ditch. But you are still remarkable. Rise higher, perhaps to the height where the blackbirds flap. Where have you gone? Oh, there you are, I think. That is you, isn’t it, that wisp inching along? Well, rise higher, then, to the belly of the clouds. Where have you gone? Now higher, to where, if you are not careful, you might stub your toe on the mountains of the moon. Where are you? Never mind you; where is your home, your county, your state, your nation? Ah, there it is! And higher now, so that your hair and the lashes of your eyes catch fire from the sparks of solar flares. On which of those bright bodies do you rule your kingdom of dirt, your cart of soap? Very well, that one. I hope you are right—there is little need for a tinker on Mars. Now higher again, past the eighth planet, named for the king of the sea. And higher again, past the shadowy ninth, which for now only exists in the dreams of men back on—Well! Where have you gone? Which among those millions of glittering facets is where you belong? Where is it you toil and drum and fall to the ground and thrash in the weeds?

— Harding, Paul. Tinkers (p. 74). Bellevue Literary Press. Kindle Edition.

Are you captured? Are you dying to turn the page? Are you wondering what happens next? Did the lashes of your eyes catch fire? Or are you glad you made it through this nonsense?

I guess they call this poetic prose. I call it self-indulgent babble of an author in love with his own words. There may be a market for this, but I can’t imagine that anyone actually reads this stuff.

Oh, well, there go my ten bucks.

Another Pulitzer Prize winning book that I found unreadable was A Visit from the Goon Squad, where I got to about 25% in January 2012 when I gave up.

Perhaps I need to stay away from Pulitzer Prize winners going forward.

No rating because I didn’t finish the book.


Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman) is a brilliant kid from a working class neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey in 1951. His family is Jewish. His father is a butcher and Marcus helps out in the shop during his senior year in high school.

It’s the time of the Korean War, the draft is on, and some of the sons of the neighborhood are coming back from the war in body bags. Indignation starts at the wake at the house of the Jewish parents of a fallen soldier.

Marcus has received a scholarship from a small town, conservative and mostly Christian college in Ohio, so he is exempt from the draft. As he finds his way in college, he becomes infatuated with classmate Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon), and things become complicated for him very quickly.

He is a kid who has his act together and he has a plan. He went off to college partly to get away from his overbearing parents. Nevertheless, through fate and circumstance, the trajectory Marcus had planned for himself does not quite play out as intended.

Indignation is a story based on the novel by Philip Roth. It portrays life of the working class in the early 1950s. It’s also a coming of age story of a young man.

We walked into this movie not knowing a thing about it, and we walked out both stunned about how good it was and how well crafted the story line turned out to be. Our conversation about the movie lasted all the way home in the car, and I have already ordered the sample of the novel on Kindle.

Go and see this movie!

Rating - Three Stars


American Art Collector

After I recently moved, my subscription to American Art Collector Magazine stopped coming. When something no longer happens, you often don’t notice it right away. One day I looked at my last issue and noticed that it was months out of date.

American Art Collector is my favorite magazine. When I get it in the mail, I immediately open the plastic cover and start thumbing through it. It always makes my day, and it always inspires me to paint. Always.

So when I noticed the magazines were no longer coming, I tried to contact them through  the website. To get access, I needed to have my subscription number or ID, and since those are on the plastic mailing cover, I never retain those.

So I emailed them and told them what had happened. A week later the five most recent issues of the magazine came in the mail. It was like Christmas.

I commend American Art Collector Magazine for their awesome customer service.


Check out this blog post by Elizabeth Mika of this title: The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Narcissist.


etymology of nacissism

[source: Online Etymology Dictionary]

This is my favorite piece of music of all time.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is known as one of the greatest compositions ever. And the 3rd movement, in my opinion, is one of the most enormous, most beautiful works of art that humanity has ever produced.

It contrasts sharply with the other movements of the 9th, which are for the most part much more famous and recognizable, even in popular culture.

When I was 16 years old I first listened to this piece and it brought tears to my eyes and chills to my spine.

I am 60 now, and it still has the same effect.



Warfare, during the times of the Spartans, or the Romans, was conducted by highly trained men with swords going at each other. In the American Civil War, lines of men, shoulder to shoulder, shot at each other with muskets and as the lines dropped, battles were won.

But now is the time of killer robots in the sky. Well, not quite yet. Let’s give it another few decades before we need to worry about the science fiction killer machines that descend on the world and kill humans. Right now, the killer machines are called drones and their use has been perfected over the last decade or so. The Obama presidency is marked by the use of drones.

The “pilot” sits in an air-conditioned trailer outside Las Vegas, surrounded by video screens, flying a with a joy stick like in the video games he grew up with, and directed by a colonel through a set of headphones.

The “commander” could be anywhere else in the world, like in the Pentagon, in the White House, or, as in the case of Eye in the Sky, somewhere in England.

The “ground troops” are individuals or commandos near the target, in this case somewhere in Somalia.

The “generals” are sitting in their war rooms, directed by politicians out playing golf. In this case, the politicians are taking a break from their Ping-Pong game in China to give the order that will have people killed.

The “players” of this war are spread all over the world.

But ground zero is a shack in a slum neighborhood in Somalia, which just happens to contain five major terrorists at the same time – and therefore needs to be taken out. If only there were not a young girl selling her bread on a stand just outside the walls of the house in the crosshairs. If the missile is launched, surely she will die. And all participants know it, except for the one who gives the final order – by being interrupted in his Ping-Pong game.

Eye in the Sky is a riveting account of the moral implications of modern warfare, where immense damage can be inflicted on innocent lives on the other side of the world by the simple push of a button on a joystick in the Nevada desert.

All the warriors go home after the mission, to their families in their suburban houses all over the world, but the little girl in Somalia, who happened to be at the very wrong place at the very wrong time, never gets to go home at all.

Eye in the Sky is reminiscent of the 2015 movie Good Kill, where the same type of moral conflict is highlighted. There is no way to walk away from this movie without being aware of the immense responsibility of the commander-in-chief who literally decides if someone lives or dies. This is even more relevant today during our tumultuous election season, where there is at least one candidate who seems to be proud of showing the world that he does not care about anybody but himself.

Rating - Two and a Half Stars


This piling on must stop
– Senator Jeff Sessions in an editorial in USA Today, August 11, 2016

He goes on stating:

Within minutes, Donald Trump’s comments in North Carolina on Tuesday were deliberately twisted by the Clinton campaign. It rushed out a statement that Trump had called for violence against Hillary Clinton. This totally misconstrued his remarks.

Senator Sessions, do not insult my intelligence. I listened to Mr. Trump’s remarks and they were very clear. He said:

If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.

What is not clear about this? The context was very obvious, and what he was thinking shone out of his eyes. This was an open threat and a tacit invitation to some nutcase to assassinate a judge, or Clinton, or both. I didn’t need the interpretation of Clinton or the media to hear that. My jaw dropped, and I wondered when the Secret Service would arrest him. If I had said that, I would long be arrested. Do not insult me, Senator Sessions.

A president has to be able to control what he says and how he says it, and just like any speaker, he is not only responsible for what he says, he is responsible for how the listeners will hear the message. Trump seems to have to explain what he meant to say on a daily basis. Why doesn’t he just say what he means in the first place? Either he can’t, or he deliberately does not want to, and both scenarios are frightening.

Our president must be an excellent communicator above all.

Powerful, history-making messages are formed by presidents and their words.

  • “Ask not what you can do for your country….”
  • “Mr. Gorbachev, take down this wall!”
  • “Four score and seven years ago….”

These are the words of presidents I am proud of. Mr. Trump can’t seem to form a complete sentence, unless he reads it from a piece of paper. Mr. Trump, either purposely, or due to incompetence, keeps saying things his handlers have to clarify, correct or rescind later.

When you are the president, what you say matters, the first time around. Markets swing after you speak. People may die after you give an order. School children listen and form opinions about right and wrong. People look for leadership and inspiration in your messages. You can’t have a drove of handlers and Senator Sessions trailing you and clarifying for you.

And that is why Mr. Trump is eminently unqualified to be president. I have watched him now for over a year, and the conclusion is: he does not look or sound presidential.

Trump and Shooting

Donald Trump in January 2016:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Donald Trump in August 2016:

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is.”

A president should never incite violence. This kind of talk in front of millions of people suggests to some goofball shooter that it’s ok to assassinate a politician. There are other Lee Harvey Oswalds out here.

Clearly, he has sunken to an all time low. This is truly dangerous. What WOULD be the result if something now happened to Clinton, like it did to Bobby Kennedy?

I wonder when the Secret Service has to arrest him?

Is he trying to sabotage his own candidacy, or is he really that incompetent and dangerous.

I don’t like any of the possible scenarios.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States:

Now speaking to the NRA folks, who are great: when you, when you, and I tell you, so they endorsed me. They endorsed me very early. My sons are members. I’m a member. If you, we can add, I think the National Rifle Association, we can add the Second Amendment to the justices, they almost go, in a certain way, hand and hand. Now the justices are going to do things that are so important. And we have such great justices. You saw my list of eleven that have been vetted and respected and have gotten great, and they, a little bit, equate.

— Donald Trump

It’s the big SIX OH

Here are two sisters, a brother-in-law, and another brother:

Here is another brother-in-law on vocals:

And here is yet another brother:


One more with his girlfriend:


Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States:

Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.

— Donald Trump, Sun City, South Carolina, July 21, 2016


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