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Thursday, June 28, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents HARD (eye)CANDY / Day 2

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents HARD (eye)CANDY / Day 2: photo,EstateofLukeSmalley courtesyClampArt,NYC Peeps, On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that will affect the li...

The PEEPSHOW presents HARD (eye)CANDY / Day 2

photo,EstateofLukeSmalley
courtesyClampArt,NYC


Peeps,


On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that will affect the lives of over 3000 individuals who are serving life terms without parole.  The court's ruling (Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs) barred the mandatory sentencing of juvenile offenders to life without parole, and stated that it was unconstitutional under international human rights and constitutional law.  Human Rights Watch noted that prior to this ruling, the US was the only country in the world which sentenced persons to life without parole for offenses committed before the age of 18, even for homicide offenses. 'With this landmark ruling, the United States is no longer an egregious outlier among nations in requiring judges to put kids in prison until they die there. The court did not go far enough, still allowing the sentence in rare cases, but it recognized that it is nearly impossible to be certain that any child is beyond redemption – and that the US criminal justice system needs to change to reflect this fact,' wrote Alison Parker, US Program Director at Human Rights Watch.


* *  *
In sharp contrast to today's visual treat (a creative photographic narrative by the late Luke Smalley), black youth serving life without parole are sentenced at a per capita rate that is 10 times the rate of white youth.  According to ChildTrendsDataBank , the estimated total number of young adults ages 18 to 29 in prison or jails increased steadily from 745,200 in 1999, to 813,600 in 2002. It rose to a high of 865,400 in 2006, then began to decline, most markedly in 2009. As of 2010, the population is 779,700.  A much higher percentage of male youth are in prison or jail than are female youth. Among youth ages 18 to 19 in 2010, men were almost 16 times more likely than women to be in jail or prison (1.5 percent of men, and 0.1 percent of women).  There are stark racial disparities in the population of incarcerated youth. Among the estimated 717,800 men ages 18 to 29 who were incarcerated at midyear 2010, 37 percent (290,100) were black and 23 percent (180,400) were Hispanic. Among men, a higher proportion of blacks are incarcerated at any age than are men of other races. For example, in 2010, among men ages 20 to 24, 8.0 percent of blacks were incarcerated, followed by 3.3 percent of Hispanics and 1.3 percent of whites.  Human Rights Watch also estimates that 59 percent of the youth serving life without parole in the United States received this sentence for their very first offense – they had no juvenile or adult criminal record prior to the offense that resulted in their life sentence.


* *
In January 2012, Human Rights Watch released Against All Odds:  Prison Conditions for Youth Offenders Serving Life Without Parole Sentences in the United States.  This 47-page report draws on six years of research, and interviews and correspondence with correctional officials and hundreds of youth offenders serving life without parole. Human Rights Watch found that nearly every youth offender serving life without parole reported physical violence or sexual abuse by other inmates or corrections officers. Nationwide statistics indicate that young prisoners serving any type of sentence in adult prison, as well as those with a slight build and low body weight, are most vulnerable to attack.  The report may be read via the link attached:  http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/01/03/against-all-odds.  


Thanks for your continued interest in reading the blog's articles, and your insightful comments.


Sincerely,
Shane


PS:  Today's soundtrack is PUBLIC LOVER's I Try

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents HARD (eye)CANDY / Day 1

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents HARD (eye)CANDY / Day 1: photobrentmillikan,internationalrivers Peeps, As the Rio+20 Earth Summit on sustainable development kicks off in Rio de Janeiro ...

The PEEPSHOW presents HARD (eye)CANDY / Day 1

photobrentmillikan,internationalrivers

Peeps,


As the Rio+20 Earth Summit on sustainable development kicks off in Rio de Janeiro next week, in northern Brazil a consortium of companies is building the massive and catastrophic Belo Monte dam complex in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The Brazilian government's costs-be-damned attitude about the Belo Monte dam and ominous recent changes to the country's Forest Code expose a glaring hypocrisy between a truly "green economy" and the human cost of measures that are destroying the Amazon and its indigenous peoples in Brazil's own backyard.
 (An AMAZON-WATCH press-release, 19 June 2012)
***


Over 500 indigenous peoples from different parts of the globe will march to the UNCSD (Rio+20) at 11AM today to deliver the Kari-Oca II Declaration.
The Declaration is a result of eight days of discussions on self-determination, sustainable development and indigenous peoples´ rights by indigenous leaders and communities who participated in the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples on Territories, Environment and Development – Kari-Oca II.
The Declaration embodies indigenous peoples´ perspective and analysis on the future indigenous peoples want, and solutions to the current economic and environmental crisis.

(Indigenous Environmental Network PRESS ADVISORY June 21, 2012)

 **


If the representatives from over 400 indigenous peoples were surprised at being denied entry to the Rio +20 Energy Summit (United Nations Conference On Sustainable Development) meeting-room(s), it paled in comparison to the sight of armed troops who stood at the ready to prevent them from making any contact with the delegates of over 190 countries who had assembled for the unveiling of 'the global plan,' a document entitled - The Future We Want- which aimed to address sustainable global development through greater global environment management, tighter protections to protect the oceans, measures to improve food security, and incentives to promote a 'green economy.'  Parts of Rio de Janiero were shut down as over 50,000 international protesters voiced their displeasure at being denied access to the proceedings; dissatisfaction at the manner in which wealthier nations have historically (and yet once again) ratified treaties in favor of themselves; and, concern over an environment that continues to be assaulted by corporate interests and the demands spurred by the needs of 'growth and development,' and the increasing gap between the world's wealthiest nations and the under-developed (poor) countries; as well as the continued inaccessible of natural resources, fresh water and food to millions of persons who live in 3rd world regions of the world.  


In order to avoid further embarrassment and negative publicity about the hostile manner in which Brazilian security forces had prevented indigenous peoples from attending the summit, a few persons were finally allowed access to the conference attendees; a copy of their manifesto, entitled the Kari-Oca II Declaration, was presented to the summit chairperson and a representative from the Brazilian government.  Whether or not, the stated concerns of the indigenous peoples (of the earth) will be considered, as nations ready to implement changes and suggestions put forth in the summit (or stall yet further!!) is questionable.  The Kari-Oca II Declaration in its entirety is linked below.                                             


http://indigenous4motherearthrioplus20.org/kari-oca-2-declaration/


Thanks,
Shane






PS:  Today's soundtrack is STIGGSEN, FREEDARICH's Redlights (MyMy remix)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES #9 / Day 4

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES #9 / Day 4: photobywilliamabronowicz courtesyathoughtfuleyeblog Peeps, Yes, this is what I'd like to achieve by the end of summer; the end ...

The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES #9 / Day 4

photobywilliamabronowicz
courtesyathoughtfuleyeblog



Peeps,

Yes, this is what I'd like to achieve by the end of summer; the end result of my new mood of clearing and editing, cleaning and simplifying.  Through my head runs thoughts chased by others, not unlike the compulsive manic, for I know myself and must admit that once I jump on an idea, I've got to see it through, come hell or high-water.  Fantasy notwithstanding, starting over brings the opportunity for a fresh perspective on the essentials of habitation, such as a sense of privacy, and unlimited light, and objects of meaning carefully placed, and less (of them).  Where (and when) fantasy is allowed to dwell, I'll be able to simply turn off the lamps, close the door, and step out into heady adventures with enlightened travelers, fly the world and experience the wonders of Rome and London and Barcelona, and if so desired, swim with dolphins in the wild.  Truth is, I don't want to get old, polishing silver or dusting table-tops while the world passes by.  This revelation of mine is one that I'm sure is shared by many others with crave a 'simpler life.' So without another word, I'd better say goodbye for now, get busy and start packing for the beginning of the journey to parts as yet unknown.

Hope all of you are having the best weekend ever . . .

Best,
Shane


PS:  Today's soundtrack is PAWEL's Whitey

Thursday, June 21, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES #9 / Day 3...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES #9 / Day 3...: imagecourtesycoloroutsidethelinesblog Peeps, Today, as the temperature climbed to just below the 100F marker, so did my d...

The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES #9 / Day 3

imagecourtesycoloroutsidethelinesblog

Peeps,


Today, as the temperature climbed to just below the 100F marker, so did my desire to strip away the superfluous and unnecessary.  Getting the garden watered was my first and foremost objective, as some time had slipped by without getting over to the vegetable beds, and it showed.  Badly!! Droopy tomato plants, as well as bean-vines and thirsty okra calling for care and attention.  Weeds had taken up residence in every available crevice of the path, and morning-glory snaked heaven-ward through rose-bushes and peonies.  Mark my words, within a decade or less the world will be covered with rose-of-sharon, for it spreads more easily than quick-berry, and is twice as stubborn in getting uprooted.  The high point of my trek through areas in desperate need of hard pruning was the discovery of multiple drifts of Queen-Anne's lace that suggested an untamed, natural beauty reminiscent of country-roads and the hills just below the Blue Ridge mountains, or the celebrated creations of gardener/landscape-designer Piet Oudolf.  The overall plan calls for the integration of drifts of California poppies, clumps of cow-parsnip, and milk-weed which is sure to draw the monarch butterflies (here for the summer and then heading back down to Mexico in the fall).


Next week, housekeeping plans call for window-cleaning as well as getting the rugs up and taken outside for a good beating; also strict editing of my living quarters for the weight of accumulated treasurers begins to wear heavy at this time of the year when clarity and lightness is needed.


Hope you enjoy today's visual treat by talented designer/blogger Mark D. Sikes.  His lovely home was featured in the December/January 2012 issue of House Beautiful, and was a fitting intro to the new year.  


Best,
Shane




PS:  Today's soundtrack is CHRISTIAN FALK's Dream ON (moto blanco club mix)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES #9 / Day 2...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES #9 / Day 2...: photosourceunknown Peeps, If I could, I'd encamp in this library for days on end.  It's not very difficult to imagine sheltering her...

The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES #9 / Day 2

photosourceunknown


Peeps,


If I could, I'd encamp in this library for days on end.  It's not very difficult to imagine sheltering here from the brutish heat of today (and what is likely to continue through the week) with all the accoutrements of refined civility; and, my only request would be endless cups of Turkish coffee and sesame-seed cakes.  Today's interior is the NYC residence of couturier Ralph Rucci whose masterful touch in the disciplines of haute-couture, fine-art, and interiors is phenomenal--so much that it borders on the sublime.  Floor-to-ceiling modern shelves filled with art-books, Chinese scholar-chairs, and Classical statuary spells perfection.  An inspirational room which still gives me the Joneses after all these years.


Hope all the blog readers are staying cool, as well as enjoying this week's visual treats.


Thanks,
Shane






PS:  Today's soundtrack is KINOBE's Slip Into Something More Comfortable

Monday, June 18, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES # 9 / Day 1...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES # 9 / Day 1...: imagecourtesycoloroutsidethelinesblog Peeps, Today's visual treat (pictured above) aptly demonstrates how a clever designer chose t...

The PEEPSHOW presents BITS AND PIECES # 9 / Day 1

imagecourtesycoloroutsidethelinesblog

Peeps,


Today's visual treat (pictured above) aptly demonstrates how a clever designer chose to furnish a large sitting room without resorting to lots of assorted chairs and countless drink-tables.  In a large, boxy room, or an interior with cable-outlet or entertainment center on one wall, and the fireplace situated on the facing wall, back-to-back sofas are the way to go.  One of newly created sitting areas could be designated for reading and chatting, while the other devoted to TV-watching or movies.  And at party-time nothing adds more to the drama than the suspense of not knowing whose sitting on the other side of the sofa . . .


Enjoy,
Shane




PS:  Today's soundtrack is RASMUS LIEBST's Tinnitus Of The City

Sunday, June 17, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Da...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Da...: imagecourtesyathoughtfuleyeblog Peeps, It's Father's Day today, and all across the world fathers are lovingly presented with the late...

The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Day 5

imagecourtesyathoughtfuleyeblog

Peeps,


It's Father's Day today, and all across the world fathers are lovingly presented with the latest electronic gadgets, ties, colognes, barbecue-grill accoutrements, books on home repair, and a cadre of notions that are designed to win a smile from dear old dad.  For some, it's an occasion to take flowers to grave-sites or memorial-gardens; others will spend the day with family-members reminiscing about all the wonderful things that were shared, the lessons taught, and the memories created during Papa's lifetime.  Early in the week another father, and our President, courageously took a brave if somewhat controversial stance in declaring that the deportation of the 'DREAMERS' would be discounted, and that these individuals could apply for documentation to work in the United States, provided that certain requirements were met.  About 800,000 persons who were brought here as minors (without the proper authorization) may qualify under this new Homeland Security Policy.  As Mr Obama pointed out in this announcement, this change in the deportation policy is not amnesty or a path to citizenship, but instead recognizes the plight of many young persons who call the United States, 'home,' and have been law-abiding residents and contributors to society. Bravo, Mr President!!


Enjoy your lazy Sunday, and don't forget that this special day also applies to Gramps, step and foster-dads, uncles, and anyone else whose stepped up and shown you love like a Dad does . . . 


Best,
Shane




PS:  Today's soundtrack is BLUE PILOT PROJECT's Million Clouds

Friday, June 15, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Da...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Da...: photoisabellopezquesada viaathoughtfuleyeblog Peeps, While some folks are preparing to head for sea-side destinations having made pl...

The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Day 4

photoisabellopezquesada
viaathoughtfuleyeblog
Peeps,


While some folks are preparing to head for sea-side destinations having made plans to relax for the rest of summer, others are out getting new voters registered, manning campaign offices in previously ignored neighborhoods, tweeting/emailing/blogging/canvasing and many other such actions, all this for the purpose of ensuring that the average citizen has a say in the upcoming Presidential election in November.  Lamentably, it gets trickier (and more expensive) to get the finer points of either candidate's agenda out into the public arena, for the Super-PACS have almost single-handedly altered the playing field because of their ability to just buy, buy, buy ads, influence, and access to power--yet hopefully not the vote!  One of the more memorable posts on Facebook laments the fact that millions of dollars are spent on ads, yet precious little has been allocated towards eliminating homelessness and hunger in this country.


At times I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that billions of gallons of water are used to keep lawns green, and acres upon acres of bedding annuals alive through the months of summer.  If slowly, section by section, yard by yard, lawns were converted to smarter, more drought-tolerant plantings, and native species were utilized instead of rows and rows of forever-thirsty annuals, we'd be all so much more 'greener' and socially responsible towards an endangered natural resource.  I've gotten accustomed to merely turning on the faucet and expecting clean water to flow, yet quite aware that in many parts of the world, this is akin to a miracle.  Somewhere, in a parched village, young girls and women will trudge tiredly and thanklessly for many miles, carrying/balancing/pulling containers of water to wash, cook, clean, bathe.  And this task will continue ceaselessly until development arrives in whatever form, technology assists in bringing running water, or a miracle of sorts occurs . . .


Have a great drive home this Friday evening.


Best,
Shane




PS:  Today's soundtrack:  AFTERLIFE's Black Iris 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER DAZE / Da...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER DAZE / Da...: imagecourtesyathoughtfuleyeblog Peeps, It's going to be a glorious day today.  Cooler temperatures and some clouds make w...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER DAZE / Da...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER DAZE / Da...: imagecourtesyathoughtfuleyeblog Peeps, It's going to be a glorious day today.  Cooler temperatures and some clouds make w...

The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER DAZE / Day 3

imagecourtesyathoughtfuleyeblog

Peeps,


It's going to be a glorious day today.  Cooler temperatures and some clouds make watering the new beds much more pleasant than doing so in the inferno we've experienced of late.  Right after an early breakfast, I'm heading out to the garden for as long as possible, with a few goals such as transplanting spireas that have grown too leggy situated at the base of 15-foot laurels, a new home for low-growing azaleas which will be much happier away from the glare of both mid-day and afternoon sun, and finding just the right spot for a glazed Vietnamese garden-urn recently drastically discounted at my favorite source, and now happily in my possession.


Hope you all enjoy a beautiful Thursday.


Best,
Shane




PS:  Today's soundtrack is WELLENRAUSCH's Shape Of Berlin

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Day...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Day...: imagecourtesydesignsponge Peeps, Today, it's Election Day in my former home-town (Alexandria, VA) and the stakes are high.  I believe ...

The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Day 2

imagecourtesydesignsponge
Peeps,


Today, it's Election Day in my former home-town (Alexandria, VA) and the stakes are high.  I believe that fourteen candidates are vying for eight seats on the City Council.  While I no longer reside within that county, I am well aware of two pressing issues which need to be addressed, either by new council-members or those who remain for the next term of office.  Recently, in the city's zeal to embrace new growth (in the form of more housing, retail and office space) zoning variances and tax breaks were granted in exchange for a larger number of 'affordable units' to be made available to low-income residents, many of who previously resided in public-housing complexes (now razed by the wrecking ball).  While the opportunity to live in the charming row-house style units (complete with a manufactured charm suggestive of Old Towne gentility) that have cropped up in the northern sections of the city may seem like a godsend, some inhabitants are less than seduced by their quarters, citing no yard(s), or even an outdoor porch (either front or back), cramped rooms and poor circulation.  As one person explained to me, 'Black people hang out on their front-porches, so we can talk and visit with our neighbors.  In the new units, there are no porches and we have to stand on the street or corners.  The police will get us for loitering, and God knows that there are already enough of us in jail on bullshit charges.  White people hang out in the back, you know; doing whatever it is they do . . .'


Residents of Old Towne are also concerned about plans to increase occupation density in blocks near the Waterfront (or on the river's edge).  Plans to open hotels and shopping strips along the Waterfront would mean more congestion from increased vehicles and pedestrian traffic, more noise, as well as require new infrastructure to support the needs of larger buildings.  Some feel that the charm of the historic town would be lost with the addition of new buildings crowded along tiny streets, and the antique character that draws residents and visitors to the area would be lost in the city council's scramble to generate new tax dollars.  As we have seen on innumerable occasions, any successful integration of new development into a historic area calls for sensitivity and nuance, and current redevelopment plans have yet to win over long-time residents who've seen other pony-shows come--and go.


Jim Moran, we're voting for you!! Why: Your defense of progressive and Democratic principles on which this country was founded and your voting record means we want you to be our man in Congress!!


Have a great Tuesday.


Thanks,
Shane




PS:  Today's soundtrack:  CHRIS LAKE's Communicate

Monday, June 11, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Da...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Da...: imagecourtesdesiretoinspireblog Peeps, Although I've been assured that its not summer yet, outside it sure feels like it.  Days of bl...

The PEEPSHOW presents THROUGH A SUMMER HAZE / Day 1

imagecourtesdesiretoinspireblog

Peeps,


Although I've been assured that its not summer yet, outside it sure feels like it.  Days of blistering heat when toiling under a hard task-master tends to befuddle even the hardiest, and knowing that repeated waterings of newly-planted beds are a must brings some degree of concern and anxiety.  At times like this I dream of skies of hazy blue, deep pools of cool water, and endless fields of wildflowers dancing restless beneath evening breezes.  Those fortunate among us to have swimming pools count themselves smart (or lucky) to be available to relax away from the humid bustle and grind that grips the nation's capital at this time; pitchers of brisk lemonade and tiny sandwiches (now called gliders) will keep guests happy as well as any conscientious host/hostess praised for an apparent ease in appearing relaxed and gracious.


Saturday's Flag Day Picnic sponsored by the BAVF (Blinded American Veterans Foundation) and hosted by Sgt Shaft and Mrs Hea Fales was a wonderful way to honor our military men and women who served bravely and selflessly.  Besides short speeches by local and state politicos, old-school jams by The Hula Monsters, and a sumptuous picnic buffet, I had loads of fun watching the little kids leap fearlessly into the deep end of the pool (without water-wings or noodles). If their joy, endless enthusiasm, and infectious laughter could be bottled and sold, or better yet, shared with all the less courageous and less fortunate around the world, chances are pretty good that we'd run out of reasons to have wars, as well as the need to later honor the dead. 


Please enjoy today's visual treat (poolside in Spain), and have a wonderful work week.


Thanks,
Shane




PS:  Today's soundtrack:  ZERO 7's Distractions

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Monday's Visual Treat - Day 1/ Flowers That Make Me Swoon

A field of poppies between Kelling and Weybourne, North Norfolk, England
photo by John Benestone, courtesy of wikipedia



Peeps,

Poppies are without a doubt the stuff of dreams, and cunningly have the ability to transport us from the here and now to the then and there--and whether achieved through tripping the memory button or tripping the light fantastic, it's still groovy, yes?? This particular flower is comprised of 4-6 petals in red/pink/orange/yellow/lilac surrounding a pistil.  While opium poppies are cultivated for opium and opiates, other uses for the cultivation of poppies include the production of poppy seeds for baking and cooking, poppyseed oil for culinary purposes, and of course also celebrated for its symbolic beauty.  I can clearly remember the first poppy I had ever seen; this was the synthetic blossom backed by a safety pin for the purposes of pinning to one's shirt or blouse or sweater.  In November invariably the solicitous parents of other kids and Sister Mercy would make the rounds of the classrooms to urge us to remember the veterans who had fought in WWI.  I don't remember if we were expected to contribute money to a fund of sorts; I do remember that the poppies were a deep red and this stood out quite vividly against the drab color of the walls, the worn and scuffed surface of the wooden desks, and the room inadequately lit by overhead florescent fixtures that gave off a faint hum and frequently popped with warning.  I also remembered that the artificial red poppy pinned to the dark blue of the sister's habit looked quite nice.  I never told Sister Mercy that cause I was afraid of her and I don't think she liked me.  In fact at times she was quite mean to me and I was stuck at her school until time to go to high school.  Looking back now I wished that I had been bigger and bad, and then I would have kicked her ass real good.  

Apparently it was believed by many that the bright scarlet color signified a promise of resurrection after death.  The red-flowered corn poppy (or papaver rhoeas) is a common weed in Europe, particularly in the area around Flanders where the famous poem "In Flanders Fields," by the Canadian soldier John McCrae was set.  In the disturbed earth of the battlefields, the poppies grew quite abundantly and marked the burial spots of the war casualties.  The poem was published in Punch magazine on 8 Dec 1915 to great acclaim.  In 1918 Professor Moina Michael inspired by McCrae's poem, published a poem called "We Shall Keep the Faith;" she vowed to always wear the red poppy in remembrance of those who had lost their lives in service.  Michael initiated a campaign to raise funds for assisting disabled veterans through the sale of silk poppies, and in 1921 the poppy was adopted by the American Legion Auxiliary as the symbol of remembrance for war veterans (and the departed).  Wearing the poppy pinned to one's clothing is associated with Remembrance Day in Canada/UK/New Zealand/Australia and countries who belong to the British Commonwealth. 

In 1983 on a country road en route to Nancy, France from Germany we passed a sign for a memorial honoring WWI.  There was an information center of sorts, actually quite small and insignificant; a narrow path led us through a grove of trees to the open fields.  What I remember still quite vividly is that there were endless rows of white crosses stretching up and over the softly rounded hills.  In the distance they appeared quite small and almost seemed to float in a moving sea of waving red poppies.  It was almost dusk and there was no one else there other than myself and my companion.  We quietly walked through the fields until it got too dark to see; I remembered Sister Mercy and her dark blue habit with the slash of vivid red that symbolized the color of blood and lives lost and the names now sadly forgotten.

Sincerely,
Shane

PS:  I attempt to plant poppies in all gardens for reasons you now understand.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!!! / L...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!!! / L...: imagecourtesylucalaserramanagement Peeps, Regretfully I did not get the opportunity to view Venus' Transit which occurred last evenin...

The PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!!! / LUCA LASERRA

imagecourtesylucalaserramanagement

Peeps,

Regretfully I did not get the opportunity to view Venus' Transit which occurred last evening or the previous.  Apparently the celestial body passes between the earth and the sun in a pattern that repeats every 243 years (with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years; previous pairs of transits were in December 1874 and December 1882).  I'm almost embarrassed to admit that with very little effort, I could have driven out west, way beyond the city limits, happily ensconced in a deck chair (and fortified against the chill of the mountain air with wool blankets and doubles of Black Label), to watch an astronomical phenomena which won't reoccur until December 2117 and December 2125.  Darn it!

I'm eager (as well as determined) to pick up the new album from Montreal native Luca Laserra which is scheduled to drop later this summer.  Legions of fans (and myself) are disquieted, for rumors continue to surface of its impending release; we've all heard about stellar producers who're burning the terminals to bring forth a new, harder sound. And, if to confound this state of unease, 'leaked' new footage of behind-the-scene photos of album cover preparation and all-night jam sessions keep surfacing.  Enough is enough (is enough) I say!  Oh well, musicians are a strange lot, if not different from us ordinary folk, and it's hard to find a crooner who keeps one's interest as well energy high, and moving on the dance-floor; we'll just have to keep him in our sights and keep on waiting until Luca Laserra steps forth to woo us again.  Admirer (and fan) that I am, I'm prepared to be wowed.  

Readers who are interested in hearing remixed/remastered chart-stoppers such as 'Adrenaline', 'Groovin', 'Time', and others hits may do so on YouTube, Stormcloud, or Luca Laserra's page on Facebook.  Have a great weekend.

Thanks,
Shane 

PS:  Today's soundtrack:  Luca Laserra's Adrenaline

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!!! / MA...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!!! / MA...: eldiablillojaponesysuspasajerosinnocents marianoccecilia courtesymarianoruizcecilia Peeps, Sometimes what we believe we see is muc...

The PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!! / MARIANO RUIZ CECILIA

eldiablillojaponesysuspasajerosinnocents
marianocruzcecilia
courtesymarianocruzcecilia

Peeps,


Sometimes what we believe we see is much, much more (than what we thought we saw).  I've experienced the feeling of 'Oh!!' so many times, especially when it pertains to Art, where it's easy to assume or surmise based on a perfunctory glance, or the wish to just hurry on because of little messages which flood our brain signaling MOVE!! for a thousand and one reasons.  Any of these feelings which causes us to linger or to scurry in search of safety, emotions such as fear or disgust, while certainly less desirable than interest, surprise, or admiration, are infinitely preferable to disinterest or indifference; wouldn't you agree?  I've never been able to stroll casually through a museum's gallery, chatting with a fellow-viewer about the merits of a particular painting or sculpture, while courteously side-stepping the 'serious' who claim a spot on the lone bench and remain focused on distant sights for hours on end; or the gaggle of art-students who crowd around a favorite piece and forget that others are waiting; even the realization that 11 year-old Johnny Smartpants (now trailed by his doting grand-parents) could well be the next art-world superstar or maverick curator, does not ease the tension of being surrounded by the visible evidence of humankind's creativity and unable to properly decipher the reality of this representation before said companion sighs and whispers that it's time to visit the gift-shop or get a coffee . . .

I've experienced Oh!! upon learning that our sun is a white star, and is seen by us earth-dwellers as yellow because of the atmospheric scattering of blue light in our hemisphere.  Also Oh!! upon viewing Spanish artist Mariano Ruiz Cecilia's portfolio of energetic images in which monsters cavort, angels hover, clowns gyrate, and a full range of emotions are expressed without filter or fault through the depiction of brightly colored narratives in which a bold and aggressive brushstroke conveys loneliness/self-delusion/imagination/sadness/anger at injustices/vestiges of mysticism/references to ancient cultures, and pure joy in the healing qualities of Art as Magic.  Highly influenced by the Spanish Baroque masters such as Goya and Velasquez, the artist portrays the human condition in its simplicity in a manner contradictory yet alluring.  Mr Cecilia's hypnotic images demand a second and third look, perhaps then the 'A-ha' moment in which viewer and subject enter a dialogue, wordlessly and endlessly.  Compelling work from a 'global creative.'


Please visit Mariano Ruiz Cecilia at Facebook to view other examples of his art.


Thanks,
Shane




PS:  Today's soundtrack:  Groove Armada's At The River

Saturday, June 2, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!! Day 2...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!! Day 2...: myquickembracehasdeletedalltimeandplace painting,satadrusovanbanduri Peeps, Big-city dwellers in India have taken to Internet-dating ...

The PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!! Day 2 -- SATADRU SOVAN BANDURI

myquickembracehasdeletedalltimeandplace
painting,satadrusovanbanduri

Peeps,

Big-city dwellers in India have taken to Internet-dating with a vengeance rarely seen since the overthrow (of you know)!!  Cleverly, they've invented a hybrid style that is sure to sweep across the rest of the country, like the monsoon rains.  But wait, no need to wait for a gradual/actual/physical transformation spreading from village to village, state to state.  No need to wait for the runner, or the weekly post, or the radio announcer's somber intonation, cause in all parts of modern India it's all done with the click of the mouse, or a slight tap on SEND.  Almost instantaneously images of lovely women and hunky men flash across one's screen alerting the interested viewer of their availability to meet for tea and biscuits/a cold mango-lassi/walk through the park/movies/sex/marriage, or whatever . . .

Satadru Sovan Bandari's art focuses on the place where reality and illusion intersect; his paintings explore the new playground where the illusion of a pixellated perfection is created to satisfy fear, alienation, and lust (or in the case of many, marriage).  Mr Sovan Bandari admits that he is fascinated by the common practice where potential suitors select an image of a sensual, beautiful actress/songstress or a muscular actor, and then impose (through the many tools of photo-shop, Picassa, and the like) their face onto the torso, and presto:  a new entry/entree onto the flesh-market.  Besides adding the factor of desirability to one's offered physical charms, the Internet-suitor strives to appear worldly by the inclusion or addition of easily recognizable status symbols such as designer clothing, expensive Western-style jewelry, contemporary hair-styles and makeup, as well as the requisite pose of being 'with it.'  Cosmopolitan singles in Delhi and Mumbai have succeeded in actualizing Cindy Sherman's provocative exploration of the construction of identity through the medium of representative, although more accessible and with a flavor simultaneously Bolly + Hollywood.  As well as amply referential of Dollywood.

Hope you enjoy today's visual treat; Satadru Sovan Bandari's impressive portfolio may be viewed online at www.satadrusovan.wordpress, or via Facebook. 

Thanks,
Shane

PS:  Today's soundtrack: CaPa's Freezing Moon

Friday, June 1, 2012

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: THE PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!!! Day ...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: THE PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!!!: photopieterhugo courtesyflavorwire Peeps, I'm convinced that I'll never visit the Dark Continent for reasons too numerous to list, o...

THE PEEPSHOW celebrates GLOBAL CREATIVITY!!! Day 1 -- PIETER HUGO

photopieterhugo
courtesyflavorwire


Peeps,


I'm convinced that I'll never visit the Dark Continent for reasons too numerous to list, of which many are purely irrational.  Nevertheless, the birthplace of human civilization continues to fascinate my interest and imagination.  Well before Picasso, Braque, and the Cubists grasped the extent of artistry and creativity to be found in the art of ' Les Savages, ' artisans and craft-persons were producing work quite innovative and more advanced than their Western (meaning European and Mediterranean) counterparts. For example, iron-working technology in eastern Niger dates to about 1500 BC, and the remains excavated from a 10th century burial site in eastern Nigeria (Igbo-Ukwu) demonstrated superb bronze-casting techniques, far superior to the achievements of other cultures of the same period.  A brief survey of world history as taught within most American class-rooms, could lead one to believe that until the 19th or 20th century (first the age of exploration and then the age of innovation), nothing was to be found south of the Sahara Desert.  Some mention is made of the treacherous waters located off the Cape of Good Hope, an area best avoided by sea-faring vessels hoping to reach India, China, Japan and the Spice Islands (Indonesia).  Most commonly discussed are the myths--entertaining tales about the hinterlands occupied solely by isolated groups of savages, bands of wild animals, and a fecund primitivism that has long been the subject of cinema and literature.  It seems a bit grey about what happens when a land 'is discovered' or 'is ruled'  and we never get the sense that the natives may have had an agenda of their own.  In some school districts the subject of slavery is not part of the year's curriculum lest we court trouble, or force an examination of the national consciousness vis-a-vis racism, class, equality, rights, universal truths, and, a redress of injustices, or repatriation.


In retrospect, perhaps the nations of Africa may wish that the state of inertia, or disinterest from the royal courts of Europe might have remained, and thus delayed the epoch of rape that spans the continent's history for the last five hundred years.  Not content to enslave millions of the continent's population as forced-labor (both for local usage and export overseas) or strip the land of natural resources, the pillage continued with the removal of many cultural artifacts (national treasures) to fine museums in France, Belgium, and other parts, as well as seizing tribal lands, imposing artificial boundaries, and placing African majority populations under the control of white Europeans.  A deplorable state of affairs which continued through the Wars and into the last decade.  In much of present day Africa, the masses live no better than their forefathers did; even in countries where natural resources (such as oil deposits, precious minerals, access to water, fertile land for agriculture) are plentiful, governments of some newly independent countries engage in questionable transactions with large private corporations and foreign interests, to the detriment of those who are not lucky or privileged or powerful.  Life is precarious, at best. 


Today's visual treat is by South African photographer Pieter Hugo.  More information about this stunning photo (and others like it) from the series entitled The Hyena & Other Men, can be viewed on line at www.pieterhugo.com.


Thanks,
Shane


PS:  Today's soundtrack:  Doors In The Sand's The Place I Want To Be