Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

“I’m hoping the AG isn’t just trying to pass this off without taking it seriously,” he said. “If this doesn’t work, I’ll take it down to the federal courthouse and see what the hell they’re going to do. We can’t have any lunatic handing out guns to get votes. I’m not anti-gun, but this is just crazy.”

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/06/17/3024511/clint-didier-campaign-having-gun.html#storylink=cpy


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In the current upheaval about privacy following the revelation that Verizon and Google and a lot of other media

snip of google image search for Susan G Holland  plus  Holland Art Studio  June 10 2013

giants are spying on American citizens at the behest of the NSA, I have wondered what a benign person like me might have “out there” that I was unaware of.

Just for fun, this morning I Googled my name and my art business name and searched “images”.  I was surprised to see three whole rows of my stuff!  The fourth and fifty item in the bottom row of his image are NOT mine…but all the rest is!   My goodness!   I am glad I am not a purveyor of seamy art!

There are “about me” photos and some outtakes from my 3 Americas! exhibit in NYC.  Early Farmer’s Market work, and some recent process documentation of a favorite painted wood bowl. Yes, my current logo!   Even my daughter’s birthday gift puzzle!  And the signature I sometimes put at the bottom of my blogs.

I wonder how many rants of mine have made the cut?  Likely I would not be so much on top of the pile.  There are several high profile people with my name who are really well known in their professions, and somehow Susan Komen comes up in a search for me.  Well, that’s ok.

I do get angry at you government people, in case you are reading this entry.  Very angry.  I think you are manipulating things much as the Mafia has been guilty of doing.  The power of money and might has eclipsed the honor and humility that marked our earlier American way of doing national business.  I am ashamed.  But I still think that freedom and democratic practices are better than the other choices (as if we had a choice…most of us don’t.)

So, if I am to shamed in the public square for my protests and letters to editors and other media people I know the names of, I hope you pick one of the nicer photos to publicize the shaming.

It’s not so far away from the way some nations capture those who speak against a hallowed leader and imprison them like rabid dogs.  Or shoot them.

We all have some traps in the path of our journeys.  I see, with sadness, the traps multiplying…booby traps, even, for the folks who love truth and transparency.

When did we become so corrupt?  It is not the “image” of the nation’s government that is the concern.  It’s the reality of what emerges when that image is scratched off,  like the gold circle on a give-away ticket advertising a prize of ten cents to a hundred dollars.   Not much there.  And the numbers are not the only thing that are temporarily hidden!

Old Swimmer

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Maybe we needed this dust-up… maybe it’s part of what I call the Greater Blueprint.

We are motor-mouths!  Look at the effect of Twitter, for instance.  (disclaimer..I have not joined Twitter, so I am not an expert…but I have watched Twitter in action, and have seen people hitched by an umbilical to their smart phones as if fed by Twitter and dead without it.)  Our love of self has exploded into the cyber-world, and there is no putting it back.

Like Pandora’s box, everything inside of us is not scattered all over the earth in indelible nuggets of information.  I am hoping my bad habits are not being publicly posted, and that no one is interested in me at all!  (Judging from my “hit” record on this blog, no one is interested.)

However, I am looking at the issue I have been writing about for about three months:  i.e., the GOOGLE ISSUE.  And I am seeing it right now, today, from a much more distant viewpoint.

If God wanted us to watch our mouths (this is a way parents used to admonish their kids about sloppy language), how might he get the message across loud and clear while we are busy yapping our heads off about our personal details?

He would dump the contents of the words issuing out of our mouths (read fingertips, or thumbs), for all to see.  Are we blushing?

Yes.  We are blushing…and we are as angry as outed teens that our secret drawer has been discovered and uprooted by what we see as an intrusive parent.

Google, of course, is not God (see: http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/technology/internet/is-google-now-god-1.1250185)  and so does not have the welfare of humankind at heart; Google only has the welfare of Google at heart, like any other power-seeker in the ego-led world of humanity and corporate lust.

So Google is not out to reform us, but to exploit this great lust we have to be published.  Yes, we are all seeking immortality/stardom/fame even if it’s just to see our words in print.  Me too!

Ego has always been the pothole man steps into…a deep one, very difficult to climb out of before getting summarily knocked off.

So I have been huffing and puffing on these wordpress pages, and elsewhere, trying to get the nosy parent out of my secret drawer, when it is my own self who is responsible for leaking peeks at all the treasures I was wishing to keep secret.  I put them into that drawer, not remembering that the drawer has more than one key.  Lots of keys.  Google has one.  God has one.

Who unlocked my drawer?  Does it matter?  If God decided to open drawers to stop the incessant flapping of lips and wagging of chins, He would be delighted that Google could be put to some good use to accomplish this.

I have not a lot to hide, except perhaps some personal disclosures about angers at perceived injuries, and personal memories that are sweet only to my family, and of no interest to other people.  But what if I were responsible for keeping secrets of a more sensitive nature?  What if I were a priest, or a therapist?  What if I were a key person in an international sting that would save the world?  I had better watch my mouth.

There is a lot to be gained by looking at it like this.  Have we forgotten how to mete out our words with wisdom?  Have we any wisdom left at all?

I am not saying we are purposely gossiping (although some certainly are engaged in this.)  I am saying we are careless and sloppy in what we say.  We are like rude little kindergarteners who have no sense of what is appropriate to say.  We are still at a stage where we just say an uninhibited “Ha ha ha…Joe peed his pants”, rather than passing over that fact and letting life go on.  We are being all too often like those little uncivilized truth-tellers who just blab out truth in an unedited way that does a lot of harm, whether intentional or not.

The power of speaking truth that makes a stir and gets attention becomes addictive.  It takes on a life of its own and becomes an attention-getting device.  Then our ego is addicted to the strokes and cannot stop.  And then we are hooked to the device that enables us to continue…it forbids us to stop!

Nothing like an intervention to bring massive unpleasant attention to the ravages of addiction!  Is Google the instrument of intervention?

Might be.

I’m certainly responding:  I have started the complicated business needed to stop my interactions with Google…I am not telling everything to everyone by internet any more.  I’ve deserted programs that are called “social networks” because they turn out to be also subject to social diseases, as promiscuity does in other kinds of social intercourse.

We have mistaken liberty for undisciplined license!  Really, we have.  We demand the right to do the most private acts in public, and we sue if someone tries to stop us! (did you read about the guy suing Google for taking Google Earth pix of him urinating in his garden?)  We have forgotten that there are others in the world who have the right to decency, even if it’s not something we value. And what we choose to do will matter, evil or good or careless. (why didn’t he just go behind a tree? A skydiver or neighbor might see him as well.)

Social media?  It’s socially-sensitive media!  Used “nicely” it’s beautiful (like sex), but corrupted, it’s evil (like sex.)

That’s where my thinking is today.

Google is eventually going to die; it is not immortal.  But our words live on, even if Google dies.  We need to watch our mouths or suffer a social disease. There is a greater system than Google or cyber-space that takes in what we emit. Eventually the trail of responsibility all gets back to our own free will, and our own struggles with ego-addictions.

Old Swimmer

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Not everyone loves the USPS.  I do know that first hand because I used to work for that organization.  It’s the second biggest employer in the USA (after Amazon, I believe), and right now it’s being cut more than in half so far as distribution centers go.  That means we get our mail delayed by at least an extra day, since trucks will have to drive extra miles to get the mail from the sorting stations to the local delivery people.

I know it’s mostly junk mail.  And I know that everyone uses the internet for communications and banking and bill paying.

But what I want to know is what happens when the internet gets busted?  Will we have a Pony Express option to take up the slack?

We have all been in the supermarket when the computer goes down.  That means we are standing around with a cart of melting or spoiling food while everyone waits for someone to do the magic and get it all going again.   Some people just abandon their carts and leave.  Some kindly put back their food and then leave.  Very often, it’s a storm, and the other grocery store is not operating either.

Well, this happens in banks, too.  And at the airport.  It happens at the Post Office!  It can happen anywhere, and if you think very long about all the systems that depend on internet communications, you will realize that we would be really dead in the water.  Fibre optics notwithstanding, if nothing is able to travel through those networks, we are at a standstill.   And I need to get something from my place to your place really a lot.  It may be the hot-line message from the White House to the Enemy that could prevent a nuclear war, for heaven’t sake,  or save an airliner from crashing into a skyscraper.

So, we have a problem.  How will we get documents from one place to another without the internet?  Well, maybe FedEx, or UPS or whatever….but remember, their computers are down.  So.  We have to find someone with gas in the car to get the mail to someone else who is going in the right direction, who can pass it along to someone else who is going in the specific neighborhood and can drop it off at 123 Fourth Street.

That would be…. what is left of the post office.

The post office has the most comprehensive forwarding system in the world.  Does UPS or FedEx keep a record of where you moved three months ago, in case they get something addressed to your old empty house?   The post office has people who know exactly where you will come to collect your letters, and how to get all your letters into the right spot, whether it’s a rural box or in a building mailbox.  They know the odd name that only comes up for your box once or twice a year,  like “Grampa Dick”, and they know they must go ahead and put it into that box and not send it back to sender.

I am afraid we are killing one of the sweetest services we have in this country.  We will swell the hoards of unemployed in a huge slice of the lay-0ff sword.  The remaining postal employees will see the system disintegrate progressively as their revenues shrink — advertisers quit paying them to send you junk mail — and businesses will send you electronic data or pay a courier if it’s vital.  There will not be a jeep or a van anywhere that runs from one rural box to another.  Will the farmers have to move to the cities to stay connected to the world?  I mean if their computers are down?

Do computers run telephones?  I think they share the same lines.  At least the relays are likely digital.  And are radio stations dependent on computer systems to keep the info coming out?  Will my wind-up radio pick up anything out there if the radio stations are shut down for lack of cyber-connection?

Ham radios ?  Maybe.  Maybe crystal sets?   Will anyone be out there with another crystal set to respond if I turn the gismo just the right way?

Does anyone else feel unsure of himself when left, like Igluk, to fend for himself and his family by going out and picking berries and clunking animals on the head so you can have a cookout over wet sticks?  Do you remember how to make a fire with a flint?

I remember a hike in a deluge of rain when someone showed me how to strip a wet twig of bark and splay its end grain.  This was the way to find the little bit of dry wood that might … hopefully…allow itself to ignite to make some other similarly prepared sticks catch on fire so a bunch of shivering and hungry hikers could have some resipte and a bit of hot dog.  It did work.  I would never have known how to do that without that hike.

Please preserve the Boy Scouts, and the Post Office, and the Shoe Repair shop.  We need these manual laborers and service people to help us live when our motor quits.

Well, HOW?  I think we might think about keeping the Post Office alive longer by mailing more letters.  The stamps will cost an extra penny next month.  That penny will be hardly missed from the mess of “useless” pennies you have in a jar someplace so they don’t weigh down your change purse or pocket.  We do have excellent couriers.  But they cost a lot, and they are not really equipped to take over the post office’s finicky duties.

You know, I had a fellow worker who came around to all the workstations one day with a letter in his hand.  He was asking everybody, “Does anyone have an Aunt Nettie on their route?  This is a letter for Aunt Nettie in the house next to the Barn.”   Someone did have Aunt Nettie, and with delight, took the letter and got it to the right person.  Pretty special, when it comes down to where the jeep hits the road.

Old Swimmer

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Is it only me, or is anyone else worried about putting their life into the cloud?

I have a nifty program here that says I can load all my sensitive accounts into it and have all of them on one page, making it
convenient for me to manage my dollars and pennies.

(I said that because it is coming down to dollars and pennies these days rather than bigger sums.)

No one would be really interested in looking at my meager dollars and pennies, but the idea of putting my accounts into the cloud bothers me anyway.  What if a gremlin gets into my account and overdraws it for a million dollars?   Will I be responsible?

Well, the bank wouldn’t let them,  or could it be fooled?

Juniper systems just dumped a bunch of data trying to figure out its newly launched networking system in the cloud.  It shut down a massive number of internet systems, effectively blocking transactions for a wide chunk of the planet!  SEE LINK . They are working on a fix, they say.

These bits of news bother me a lot.  How did they get it set up in the first place if they had not run a shadow run to make sure it would work?

To me, they are playing with the health and welfare of people way more than NASA does when it sends up iffy spaceships with people in them.  A handful of highly trained astronauts is a precious thing.  How about a worldful of regular folks?

We are making networking such a nerve center of our lives we are walking on a really thin tightrope, it seems to me.

I didn’t connect my accounts…that’s how I solved my worries.  I’ll just have to go down and
ask them at the bank how many pennies I have today if it comes to that.

Really!  I really mean that.

I am getting to where I will have my Social Security sent to my local bank (assuming they are not sending it in the cloud) and then maybe I’ll just go down and get the cash out.  Thay way it’s in my hand and I can at least get groceries.

The good news is, if all the computers are down, the bill collectors won’t be able to use their machines either—all their data will be stuck up there somewhere with the astronauts who are in heaven, and no one will be able to prove that I haven’t paid yet, right?

My dad used to do it the old way in his company…there were papers filled out with handwritten numbers and there were fancy new calculators to make sure the columns balanced.  The books must have been Xeroxed then, and a duplicate copy of everything sent home with someone in their car so if the building burned down they would have a fighting chance to retrieve all the data.

Cumbersome?  Yes.  But not as dreadful as getting lost in the cloud and not able to function.

Anyone else worried?   Old Swimmer

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No one else can make your marks. 

Teach your eye to see;  your hand will know what marks to make.

 Relief carving, “Letter X, left panel”by Susan Holland
Approx 6 x 6″, basswood carved with egg tempera color
part of letters set into a wood tray  


Brian Sherwin has an article out today in FASO (Fine Art Studio Online) in which he discusses whether traditional art has hit the ceiling and can go no further.  His article gets me stirred up as I have been for years and years (I have over 70 of them) about the integrity of original art.
Brian says,

 “As someone who embraces painting, I take offense to ‘painting is dead’ rhetoric within the context
of art criticism. In my opinion, to suggest that we cannot go any further with painting is to suggest that some part of our human quality is absent.”

  Well, that is my opinion too.  And it has been a certainty in my mind for long enough that one of the proclamations in my art studio/workshop that “no one else can make your marks.”

I get passionate about this!
Even if the mark is wobbly, weak, and impotent, what a human hand puts on a canvas or paper or in the dirt is a unique mark. Court cases are decided on this kind of evidence!  Counterfeiters are sent to jail for trying to get around this truth.

Marks that are potent, pertinent, and skilled make original statements that are as fresh as the first word Igluk ever uttered sometime in the distant eons BC.  As original as the first utterance a baby makes once out of the womb!!

I grew up with original art on the wall.  Yes, we did had a big Van Gogh print on the wall, lovely, but  printed on paper.  The painting that my eyes always dwelled on as a child was not that one, but the one with the real paint on the real background, where you could see where the brush had been and the scuffs of the process.  It was a painting on black paper using egg tempera technique, where you mix an egg yolk with dry pigments; a venerable old technique
(check it out ) .  I could see the shapes of the dried colors against other colors and how it made my eye believe the fact of the bookstalls in Paris and it made me long to go there to find out more about why the shadows looked so blue and
why the windows of the gabled  buildings were different colors and whether the books were really as fat as that.

There is no other painting like that anywhere.  My middle aged daughter has it up in her house now, and it still moves me when I see it. The windows are indeed the very same windows I looked at when I got to the bookstalls in Paris, and they are still varying colors depending on what is inside and also reflections. My eye never gets tired of those marks.
They are as mysterious and unique as they were the day Yarnall Abbott painted them.

If people are saying we are “over it” about traditional (or other forms) of hand formed art, they are mistaken.  Technology is so temptingly glittering now—it seems we can have anything we want, and the lure of
automated controls fools us into thinking this is all that is ahead.  I use the computer all the time to help me
analyze my work, to try on different colors,

Angst spawned by our decadent culture will come out in our art, whether we intend it to or not.  We have not outgrown the experience of life.  There is newness under the sun for us each day.  If not, we are dead, as Brian says.

I am expecting splotches, or smooth lines, or muddy colors, or sublime textures made by
a human hand belonging to a living being with thought, attitudes, moods, and
certain signature ways to express them, to keep coming as long as mortals walk the face of the earth.

This will  stop—the flow of such marks will cease—only when humans become robots.

Question:  Would robots enjoy original art?  Would they enjoy art at all?  Do we care?

Give me your marks.  I want to see them.  No one can make them but you alone. Keep going with the fresh marks as long as you are alive!

Old Swimmer


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I should talk!  My own hair is a mess usually, and I am no beauty contest winner in my past either. 

But am I the only one who wants to brush Sarah Palin’s hair out of her eyes?  I can’t see those eyes!  Beautiful gorgeous eyes behind oh so fascinating glasses, and with long bangs hanging over the whole scene like shreds of drapery held over a stage show.

I want to do what I used to do to my children when they would present their carefree selves to me with dirty faces and hair hanging over their faces.  Lick my finger and rub the dirt off and then smooth the hair back so I could see the faces carefully and close up.

Any political candidate who want me to seriously consider them should be able to look me in the eye. 

I want to like this woman!  She has a lot of authenticity in that she is asking real life questions about things we forgot to wonder about.  She has energy.  She is, perhaps, trying to hide the glamour behind glasses, and thinks the dangling hair looks disingenuous/ or maybe modest?   (I won’t get started about the 3-inch heels that she handles so expertly so that her calves look sexy. They make my feet hurt.  That’s good for a shrug but not important enough for an article. )

I’m old enough to be her grandmother, and so are a LOT of potential voters out there.  We remember teaching our children and their children to stand up straight (Sara gets A’s), listen politely (Sara gets A’s), and look people in the eye.  (Umm. Sara can’t.) 

If we had a candidate with a patch over the eye it would be easier.  We wouldn’t trust him either immediately,  but at least we could see ONE of his eyes– and see if he is looking right at us,  or elsewhere (like perhaps at the money, or the power, or a vested interest.)

Sarah, I like that you are a girl.  I like that you are smart, tough girl.  But I want you to act like a plain earnest person who thinks it’s more important to look folks in the eye than to maintain your mystery.

You look fine!  Believe it enough to get that hair out of your eyes!  It sticks behind your glasses!  I can’t hear you when I am trying to brush it away! Or maybe you could trade it in for an eye patch!

old swimmer

PS:  I notice, this last week of January 2010, that Sarah has either allowed FOX NEWS to use the shears,  or she has had her hairdresser do so.  Thank you, Sarah!  I am not sure about what FOX is doing to its other talking heads,  but even though they used a lot of hairspray, they did get those bangs out of your eyes.  Now I’ll listen to what you say….

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