Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday Painting Palooza Vol. 60

Welcome back.

This week I'll be continuing with our painting of the 1950 Hudson Hornet seen in the photo directly below.

When last we were together I had completed much of the car, some of the roadway and had started the background. The photo directly below shows the painting as it appeared at the end of last week's post.

Since that time I've continued with the background and have done some work on the foreground.

I've decided not to be a slave to the original photo. I've begun to paint a large shrub (okay, they're junipers) on either side of the car. There will be a bit more detail when they're done. A building will be in the center, just as there is in the photo. I want to keep the ochre color as it contrasts so nicely with the car.

The foreground has changed with some faintly painted ochre and blue. I will attempt to add lit areas somewhat similar to those of the photo in the coming weeks.

The current state of the painting is seen in the photo directly below.

That's about all for now. See you next week.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

GM's New Ad-Over The Line?

While currently engaged in an inquiry into a possible corporate alliance with Renault/Nissan, GM has begun a daring new strategy to market its large pickup truck, the Chevrolet Silverado.  The new ads will attempt to capitalize upon consumer patriotism.

Apparently, no longer Like a rock, an unfortunate choice of words for promoting any vehicle, the new ads will attempt to raise the Silverado to the level of national truck. The ads will carry the line Our Country, Our Truck.  A number images will be featured, some of questionable taste.

The first of the ads is filled with images of historic moments in recent American history -- Rosa Parks on the bus, Martin Luther King speaking, the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina's devastation -- and ends with the tagline: "This is our country. This is our truck."

I'm starting to feel the need for a shower already.

But GM isn't just after market share.

"Our goal is to own the hearts of the American pickup buyer," said Kim Kosak, G.M.'s general director of advertising and sales promotions.

Owning their wallets isn't a part of this strategy.  No, absolutely not.  So this would likely be irrelevant, right?

"G.M.'s full-size pickup line is the single largest contributor to the company's profitability," said John Casesa, an automotive analyst and managing partner of Casesa Strategic Advisers in New York. "It's the backbone of the company's North American business.  It makes a real difference if sales are up or down 5 percent."

And Texans will get special treatment.

The new Silverado and Sierra are scheduled to arrive at dealerships next month. They will be shown publicly for the first time Wednesday at the State Fair of Texas. (As proof of how important Texas is for pickup sales, the campaign will feature a television spot created specifically to run in Texas.)

Now isn't that special?  

Monday, September 25, 2006

Special Tribal Council

After the Chavez speech at the UN, New York congresscritter Charlie Rangel made an impassioned attempt at defense of our fearless leader. Unfortunately, in doing so, he has played into the hands of the opposition, doing their dirty work for them. Why would a Democrat defend such a president, especially when Mr.Chavez was quite correct?!! (The fact that the disparaging remarks constituted only a small part of the speech is lost upon the congressman.) Mr.Chavez is, at most, guilty of poor timing. But his point was well made, and to a large and largely receptive audience. (Maybe his timing wasn't so bad after all.)

Is Mr.Rangel trying to fill the void that will be left by the coming departure of DINO Senator Joe Lieberman? Start kissing up now.

Congressman Rangel, you have been voted off the virtual island of Left Blogistan.

The tribe has spoken.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Painting Palooza Vol. 59

Welcome back.

This week I'll be continuing with our painting of the 1950 Hudson Hornet seen in the photo directly below.

When last we were together I had completed much of the car and some of the roadway. The photo directly below shows the painting as it appeared at the end of last week's post.

Since that time I've begun the background. To be more exact, I'm playing with the colors. I like the ochre with the black of the car but I must find a way to work that color into another part of the painting. It will make for more unity. So I'll play with the roadway a bit and see what works.

I'd also like to try to do the same with blue so the sky is pulled into the painting. But that will likely go into plant shadows that will be painted on either side of the car.

The current state of the painting is seen in the photo directly below.

Please feel free to place your comments or images below.

See you next week with more.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Double Drat! Foiled Again!

Ending yet another Bush giveaway to his corporate masters, a federal judge has revived a Clinton administration ban on road construction in pristine forest areas. In doing so, the court struck down a 2005 Bushco regulation that had states making individual requests to federal authorities for protection of these areas. Sanity has prevailed and control has now been returned to the states, exactly where it belongs. State authorities may now make their own decisions without the oversight that Mr.Bush had inserted.

Recently, a number of such brave judges have acted in a similar fashion striking down some of the administration's giveaways that are intended to be passed off as "environmental policy". SLB applauds all of those judges that have stood up to what must be intense pressure. Though most congresscritters have become mere rubberstamps for such legislation, it is heartening to see a healthy and functioning judiciary. Kudos.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tribal Council

After due consideration, the SLB staff has unanimously determined that it is in the best interest of all that admitted felon
Representative Bob Ney be summarily ejected from the virtual island of Left Blogistan. His refusal to resign in the wake of his admissions makes for sad commentary on congressional ethics. (Or the lack thereof.) Just leave the seat, Bob. Your political career is over.

Perhaps he can find work with former (and possibly soon to be again)
bug afficianado, Tom DeLay. It just might be the start of a beautiful
friendship. (Apologies to Bogey, et al.)

The tribe has spoken.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Breaking Bread

This Saturday just past, I had occasion to attend a dinner party at the Fairfield, Connecticut home of Madame boran's best friend. (Fairfield is one of those just-so-perfect, affluent, leafy Connecticut communities crowding the eastern part of the state.) Accordingly, we packed ourselves and the boran2 boy into my prized vintage Mazda for the trek to the wilds of Fairfield. Making our way along the curvy back roads of northern Westchester county toward Greenwhich, we soon found ourselves on the Merrit Parkway, the scene of so many David Letterman speedfests.

We arrived only just slightly late for what I had hoped would be a pleasant meal. Interestingly enough, the salmon steaks were fine, Ms.bestfriend's spouse was a bit less so.

He and I are, at best, longstanding acquaintances. But shortly
after our arrival, without prelude, the challenging interrogations began. But more about that shortly.

As to houseguests. I subscribe to the ancient and obviously outdated
code that provides houseguests with the highest treatment and respect. Under the code, guests are to be treated as rare treasure, at least for the brief time they occupy space under the host's roof. (Of course, after they leave, a proper review and trashing is in order, but that is a topic for another day.) Unaware as I was that the ancient manner was no longer acceptable, I was taken aback at the treatment that was to come.

Back to the dinnertime interrogations. Seated at the dining room
table, they began thusly: "Do you liberals believe that we should be
pursuing the terrorists offensively?" After getting beyond the initial surprise, I hoped to set forth a reply that would terminate this line of conversation. But not to worry, this being the heart of oh-so-genteel Connecticut, our inquisitor was obliged to provide a brief time to formulate a response. As such, he left time for me and his other subject to consider our response(s). Getting up to attend to something in the kitchen, he stated, "Think about your answer while I'm gone." And really, what could be more considerate? Then he dissappeared into the kitchen.

A rousing dinnertime challenge from the host, what could better stir
the appetite?!!

Now I'd like to say that words emerged from my mouth that were both intelligent and cutting. But upon his return, my fellow guest offered nothing and I, too tired for my usual "brilliance" and having little patience, muttered something about not supporting the Bush agenda. And of course this was the home of Madame's best friend, a constraining factor keeping this conversation from entering full trollrating mode.

But the inquiry did not end there. Subsequently, our intrepid host, undeterred by his failure to bait two of his worthy guests, reengaged his efforts.

"What comes to mind when you think of Ronald Reagan?" "Umm, asshole", I replied, having run close to empty on snappy comebacks. "I get it that you don't like him, but wouldn't you agree that he was responsible for the end of the Soviet Union without a shot being fired?" "No, it would have likely happened without him.", I stated.

But yet it did not end there. He started gearing up for the next level of cruel and unusual questioning. But midway through his question and before he could shine a bright light in my face, I stated that I needed to get up. And I did so, leaving our determined host and the other guest at the table. Our host cackled wildly as I did so. (Where exactly were Madame boran and Ms.bestfriend?)

A few moments later he did hastily say that he was sorry.

So much for the myth of genteel Connecticut.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No Words

The t-shirt had no words. And neither did I.

I was at once both shocked and disgusted.

My co-worker (This one has no gun) had the gall to walk the entire length of the long main corridor in the county courthouse wearing the f*cking thing. But here in a county a bit north and west of New York City, sadly, he might actually find some support. The offending garment is depicted below. (I had to sneak into his office to get this shot.)

Being speechless can be a real problem in my line of work. But even the history of this particular individual hadn't prepared me for this. (His desk has bumper stickers that include "The road to hell is paved with liberals.")

When I first noticed him wearing it, shortly after he came into the office, all I could say was a sarcastic "Nice shirt". He made some brief reply, but I wasn't really paying attention. My mind was swirling with questions.

But of all the questions that I would like to have answered, I would most like to know what set of circumstances would bring an intelligent, educated (attorney) individual to would wear such a garment. Clearly, this is something other than your garden variety wingnut.

I've worked with this individual for about 9 years. During that time I've had with him several political discussions that have lead to raised voices. So I know that a discussion about the shirt would likely (definitely) be a useless effort.

But still I wonder. Why would he wear it?

How could such an individual actually believe that further violence is the path to peace? I suppose that if you can eliminate enough people, "peace" will prevail.

Naturally, this individual wears a cross the size of my palm. What other accessory could better accompany this shirt? Clearly, his cross is only an accessory and not a symbol of his faith.

I'm a fan of the Sherlock Holmes books. I read all of the books and short stories some time ago. But something that has stayed with me is that where the expected explanations fail, one must look to those that are somewhat less likely.

So I'm guessing that aliens came by his house one day, abducted him and replaced him with one of their own.

Feel free to post your own explanations for his behavior.

Saturday Painting Palooza Vol. 58

Welcome back.

This week I'll be continuing with our painting of the 1950 Hudson Hornet seen in the photo directly below.

When last we were together I had completed much of the body of the car. The photo directly below shows the painting as it appeared at the end of last week's post.

Since that time I've continue to refine the painting. I've changed a few of the car's details and some of the highlights on the paint. I've also repainted the front wheel for better proportion.

I've also started the foreground, the roadway upon which the vehicle is parked. It's solid gray right now but will have the shadows seen in the original photo.

The current state of the painting is seen directly below.

And now some meta. (Yes we have meta here at Painting Palooza.) First, all kossacks are welcome to post small photos of your own work in the comments section. Secondly, the camera with which I have taken photos of the paintings for the last year is expiring. This week I have used my new Nikon Coolpix L4, the entry level camera in the Nikon line. It is a point and shoot type and the photo directly above was taken with it. Obviously, I have much to learn with this camera and hopefully the photos will become better in the coming weeks. That's about all for now.

See you next week.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Wingnut Had A Gun: The Sequel

Sequels rarely have the impact of the original.  But not always.  

Remember this guy?   Maybe not, but he's back.  But now he's got a new groove.  Or at least he did earlier today.

Here's what happened.

The w-nut (co-worker), whom I haven't seen for awhile, sees me and struts up to my desk.  He says hi and begins to examine the 4 pound fragment of dinosaur bone that I and the boran2 boy dragged back from our recent trip out to Utah and Arizona.  (Madame boran is only very mildly amused by such acquisitions, but, as they say, I digress.)

Having completed his examination he steps back only to find my Bush calendar of fictitious, but strangely realistic, quotes.  (September: "And to the C students, I say that you too can be president of the United States.)  After a few seconds of scrutiny, he begins what will be a rant.  But I am not expecting what is about to come.

He starts off with some vague concerns about security and subsequently veers off toward his concerns about Iran.  After a few moments, I state that I have greater concern with other aspects of security than I do with Iran's potential use of atomic weapons.  Strangely, he states his agreement with this point.  It was at this juncture that I began to wonder if it was getting chilly down by the shores of the river Styx.  

But then the rant starts in ernest.

He continues and begins to talk about the "billions" spent in Iraq.  He then notes how the money could have been spent for other things.  In this case, shockingly enough, he states that the money could have been used for things that people here are in need of. < gasp > I am shocked.  This added an entirely new dimension to our ongoing conversations.  It was at this point that I was just itching to indicate that he was sounding very much like a liberal, but I didn't dare interfere, for fear of not hearing the rest of this priceless rant.

W-nut then begins talking about his son.  Apparently, his son, employed by a local utility, is struggling with rent and other expenses incurred by his family.  W-nut indicates that his son is one such person in need.

He continues on in this fashion for a bit.  I am tempted to indicate that, typically, Democrats are far more concerned with the domestic issues that make up much of our daily lives, rather than world conquest.  But there is time.  All in due time.          

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tribal Council

This week Tom Kean, former New Jersey governor and Republican co-chair of the 9/11 commission, gets the unanimous nod from the entire SLB staff to be voted off the virtual island of Left Blogistan. His admitted role in "vetting" The Path To 9/1 script is unfortunate given the many inaccuracies. To put ones seal of approval on a work of fantasy masquerading as history is sad indeed, some might even say despicable. (Okay, the SLB staff says that.)

Governor Kean, the Tribe has spoken.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday Painting Palooza Vol. 57

Welcome back.

This week I'll be continuing with our painting of the 1950 Hudson Hornet seen in the phoyo directly below.

When last we were together, the various elements of the painting had been outlined in an ochre color. Since that time I've painted in much of the Hudson. I actually intended to do it much more slowly but once I got started I just couldn't stop.

The painting is seen directly below. Note that there is some paint added to the right side of the background that will change as things progress. I've painted the body color, chrome details and some highlights on both the paint and chrome. Note that all of this was done with black, gray and white. (Excuse the poor photo.)

As I said above, I hadn't expected to be this far along but will refine the car a bit and begin the other elements.

See you next week.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tribal Council

Based upon the unfortunate decision to air the intentionally inaccurate "docudrama" The Path to 9/11, the Disney Corporation gets the nod. Making it appear that the Clinton administration is at fault is a despicable strategy designed to deflect attention from Mr.Bush for his miserable failures. (Refusing to give copies to President Clinton and those on the left is only more reason.) Yes folks, it is the unanimous decision of the entire SLB staff that Disney be immediately ejected from the virtual island of Left Blogistan.

The Tribe has spoken.

One More: Twisted Juniper

Here's another with my closeup setting. It is a section of Juniper, taken in Kodachrome State Park in Southern Utah.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting\

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm Ready For My Closeup, Mr.DeMille

Well, I can't compete with this, but my trip out west allowed me time to experiment with my camera's closeup setting. My camera is a modest late model Samsung. Well, here goes.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The photo was taken in late August at the Anasazi Heritage Center in southwestern Colorado. Go easy on me.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Profiting From The Race Card

The reality show Survivor has proved to be a durable fixture in the CBS lineup since its inception in 2000.  It has endured and flourished where others have failed.

Along the way there have been minor tweaks to the format intended to keep the show fresh and maintain viewer interest.  Viewership has dipped slightly, but it has remained one of the few reality shows to regularly appear in the top 10.

Now about to enter season 13, producer Mark Burnett has chosen to embark upon a controversial, and costly, format.  Shockingly, the new season will bring four teams of different races, competing against each other.

To this I can only say, WTF?!

The format has already caused long-standing sponsors, including GM, to withdraw their support.  And rightfully so.  GM has enough problems without having to justify its continuing and prominent support that features at least one (and sometimes more) vehicle being given away each season.  One season had a number of players receiving vehicles.

Is Mr.Burnett really this desperate to regain the lost viewers of his perennial favorite?  Why put his cash cow at risk?  What's next, perhaps a German versus Jewish edition?

Your humble diarist sees parallels between the controveries caused by "author" Ann Coulter and her resultant healthy income and the new Survivor format.  The intended audience just can't stay away.  And the cash flow keeps coming.

USA Today:

Let's just take the move for what it is: a gimmicky ratings grab aimed at attracting viewers — such as myself — who don't normally watch the show. Of course the idea of having teams based on race isn't "the right thing to do" by most people's standards, but we're still going to watch.

One can only wonder at the new viewers that will be brought in by this strategy.  Perhaps Pat Buchanan?

Accordingly, over at my similarly named blog, it was the unanimous decision of the staff to vote Mr.Burnett off the virtual island in early Tribal Council voting.

The Tribe has spoken.  See you, Mr.Burnett.  


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Saturday Painting Palooza Vol. 56

Welcome back.

This week I'll be taking a one installment break from our painting of the 1950 Hudson Hornet scene. I'll continue with that next week.

As I've just gotten back from a trip out west to Arizona and Utah, I have a small painting that I completed while there. It was inspired by the scene seen from my hotel window in Sedona. The photo is seen directly below. (Please excuse my photos, my camera is modest as are my photography skills.)

I was limited by the colors I had (only red, blue, yellow and white), a few poor brushes and a very small canvas.

Boiling things down to the minimum for my 4 inch by 5 inch canvas produced the painting seen directly below. I was able to mix some useful grays to provide a suitable backdrop for the brightly colored cars and a break for the buttes above.

I rather like it, especially after my plein air debacle in Sedona last year that was the subject of an earlier installment. And painting from my small balcony was far easier than using the hood of a Hyundai.

See you next week.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Foiled Again

Hot on the heels of the great Bushco Giant Sequoia smackdown comes another rebuke by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour in Seattle.

Judge Coughenour found that a recent regulation allowed necessary reviews to be bypassed.
LA Times Link

Ruling that the Bush administration "plainly violated" the Endangered Species Act, a federal judge overturned a regulation Thursday that streamlined approval of pesticides by eliminating reviews by wildlife officials responsible for protecting rare animals and plants.

Violating existing law has been a consistent and continuing theme for this administration, big business being the usual intended beneficiary. And so it was here.

Pesticide manufacturers had long urged the 2004 change, calling it a "sensible approach" to allow the EPA to judge the risks to wildlife from their products.

But for this particular Judge, consistency has also been a hallmark.

ENS Link

For the second time in the past five years, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour ruled against federal agencies for failing to follow the Endangered Species Act in licensing pesticides for sale.

The Judge indicated that the current regulation offered considerably less of a shield than the current legislation.

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour in Seattle ruled that the process approved in 2004 was "less protective" of wildlife than the old process and that there was a "total absence of any technical and scientific evidence to support or justify" it.

In fact, the Judge went even further, finding absolutely no basis for the regulation's existence. And the consistent pattern of ignoring science continues.

Judge Coughenour determined that the rules were "arbitrary and capricious" because they ignored the risks to species and because political appointees at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ignored the concerns of its own scientists. ...

The judge noted the "total absence of any technical and scientific evidence to support or justify" the agencies' rule.

The Interior Department had thistroubling comment.

"Obviously these regulations arose out of our efforts to both protect wildlife and ensure pesticide applications are reviewed in a timely manner," said Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Chris Tollefson. "Our foremost concern here is protecting threatened and endangered species, and we'll continue to do that. We'll just have to evaluate this ruling to see where we go from here."

Of course enforcing existing legislation is always one option. But perhaps I'm just being naive.

But then there's this.

Despite the ruling, pesticide makers could get a five year respite before they must comply with the Endangered Species Act if a House bill sponsored by California Republican Congressman Richard Pombo, who chairs the House Resources Committee. The Senate has not approved this measure.

Time to start making some calls.