Saturday, March 30, 2013
Friday, March 29, 2013
An Essay in Pictures
I’ve got half-a-dozen cans of worms open right now, but a bouquet of fading daffodils at our house reminded me that another subject for exploration on this BLOG might be the cultural fear of growing old, so let me flip the top off that can. Most of us who are fortunate enough to have lived long enough to be old have noticed that quite a few younger people have an obvious aversion to old folks... which eventually brings them to self-loathing because growing old is an inevitable consequence of living long... which most people are trying to do.
I found beauty in these “tired old” blossoms when I took the time to look, not just at the edges but at the whole flower.
I found beauty in these “tired old” blossoms when I took the time to look, not just at the edges but at the whole flower.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The photographs today have nothing to do with the journal writing...
An anonymous reader of yesterday's BLOG post commented:
"If same sex marriages should be recognized due to equal rights issues, why not polygamous unions. What is your opinion on the rights of those who believe in and want to practice polygamy?"
Very good question about a form of marriage which I've not thought about seriously. I'm glad Anonymous has raised the issue. First, off the top of my head, making polygamy or same gender marriage illegal in civil law to keep civil law consistent with religious law would be a violation of the Constitution. I haven't studied the issue, so I don't know what the standard objections are under civil law. Just as there are thousands of couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, who cohabit in casual arrangements, Polygamy is practiced not widely or formally in the United States and certainly not under any kind of legal civil law, but there are households in which three or more persons cohabit and consider themselves a family unit. Polygamy as part of religious practice is legal in a few countries. Considering the Fourteenth Amendment, I'll certainly give it some thought.
Thomas Jefferson apparently lived in a polygamous household, fathering children by his legal wife and by a female slave.More recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger, ex-Governor of California acknowledged that he fathered a child with a member of his household staff. The record indicates that those polygamous arrangements weren’t formally arranged and did not have the mutual consent all three people in either case.
More on the subject later. (Just checked: Jefferson is off the hook. He was not a polygamist. Cohabitation with extra benefits with Sally Hemings began after his wife died. More on that later.
On the other hand, maybe this picture from the cactus garden in Balboa Park is appropriate for a consideration of the various forms of cohabiting unions, legal of not, which are possible.
...On my back to my car after a volunteer stint at the Museum of Photographic Arts.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
What do you mean, your honor?... How do I pee...
Considering whether or not same gender couples who marry should receive the same benefits and protections under federal law as opposite gender couples, the Justices of the Supreme Court of my country are deciding whether or not homosexual citizens are legitimate and equal in every way to heterosexual citizens. The defense of marriage purity in America sounds a lot like the defense of purity within the postulated Aryan race imposed by the Nazi Party in Germany immediately before the horror of World War II. To ensure purity, the Nazis moved with infamously disastrous results to impose exclusionary segregation, not only on homosexuals but on Jews, Gypsies, blacks, and the physically and mentally handicapped. The Nazis got carried away and decided in most cases that exclusionary segregation meant permanent removal, so they murdered more than five million people. In America at this time it’s not purity of race, religion, or ethnicity that is being considered but whether or not “purity” in a conjoined social compact known as marriage can be guaranteed if both partners in the arrangement pee standing up or if both do it sitting down.
Some of those arguing for preserving the purity of marriage insist that the Supreme Court’s decision must preserve the right of each state to determine whether “purity” or “sanctity” of marriage for its citizens is threatened when gay people are allowed to get in on the legal benefits of wedded bliss. When a gay couple get together and want to call their union marriage, are they somehow threatening the unions of families established by two people who assume distinctly different postures when peeing.
Although I’m not a lawyer, I’ve reread Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and I don’t find a thing in it that suggests a reason to keep two people who both pee standing up from entering together into the legal arrangement called marriage.
What’s the big deal anyway? What’s at stake here? I really don’t understand that argument about damage done to children if both parents pee standing up. I pee standing up and my wife does it that other way, but I don’t think our children ever gave it a minutes’ thought one way or the other.
In case you haven’t read it lately, take a look at Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and see if you can figure out why some people (actually fewer now than a couple of years ago) keep insisting that the language in the amendment doesn’t apply to LGBT folks.
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
Orangeness... again today. I threw in a picture of Ellsworth Kelley’s Red, Yellow, and Blue just for the heck of it. It got me wondering, perhaps questioning... is anything ever pure? On some days when I stand in front of Kelly’s painting at the San Diego Museum of Art, his red seems to have become slightly orange as if somebody fooled with it since I last saw it. I know the theory: mix the primary colors red and yellow and you get orange, but I can’t help feeling that there’s more to it than that. I’ll try to remember to ask Tom or Clyde or R.D. how they know when the combination is just right.
Picking a couple of oranges to take out on the back porch for today's picture, I stopped and grabbed another one remembering that in some Asian cultures it's customary to take three pieces of fruit, any fruit, when going for a visit to somebody else’s home. As I was placing the oranges for the photograph, I wondered if I was yielding to superstition. I settled the question by trying with three and then taking one away to get a picture of two. No doubt about it, I find three more aesthetically pleasing than two... but that doesn’t settle the question of whether or not superstition affects my aesthetic sense? In Singapore it’s acceptable to bring more than three, but never four or six or any even number of pieces. To bring blessing to the house, an odd number is required. Blessing or superstition... which is it?
Blessing and superstition... I remember that my Father always put his shoes on the floor left shoe on the left and right shoe on the right. He never put them down the other way; so that’s the way I always put mine down on the floor or in a shoe rack. I’ll never forget that when I came back home after my Father died, I went to a closet to hang up my coat and there were a pair of his shoes on the floor... the way he left them. I sat on the floor and sobbed. It moves me even now to think of that moment.
Anyway... Orange is important, however you get it. And what I do with my shoes after I take them off is also important.
I like all of Prokofiev’s music, but I especially like his opera, The Love for Three oranges... in whatever language it’s presented.
L'Amour des trois oranges
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Saturday, March 23, 2013
For one of my writing projects, I'm spending at least a couple of hours most days researching anthropogenic disasters and genocides that have occurred during the past four millennia. I've become more alert to signals in art, especially impromptu outdoor murals, that scream out an alarm that there may be things in contemporary culture which should concern us. I went back to North Park to get pictures of a couple of freshly painted murals.
Friday, March 22, 2013
A bicycle ride through my galaxy in springtime
with a hundred thousand million stars or more
has to start somewhere, so why not here now.
Think of all the sunrises possible and sunsets.
The planets far flung in everything and nothing,
do they all have dolphins I wonder... Mine does.
And fathers and mothers and children and love
which go well together especially in early spring.
Does the size of the boat or any other body part
signal to anybody interested enough to wonder
whether a person is worth any effort whatsoever.
Or is something else a better indication of love?
Mystery in cherry blossoms and four leaf clovers
is easier to explain than gunboats in peacetime.
Let's face it... Black holes aren't something new
only because we're just now hearing about them.
And what I want to know is what's so special about dandelions anyway...
Thursday, March 21, 2013
A mural on Ohio Street near University Avenue
My San Diego friend is twenty years younger than I am, so he may not have read or heard about Ishi, but he can’t have missed hearing about the holocaust the President of Iran and many other people alive today who deny the holocaust ever happened. He saw where I was going and countered with, “O.K., O.K., but those atrocities weren’t planned by Christians.” I said I don’t know details about Christians being among those who planned and carried out the holocaust but that there is no doubt about complicity in the horror by thousands of Christians. I reminded him that we were talking about genocide.
He asked about Ishi, so I told him about hunting parties from Oroville and Chico who went out to find and kill indians... basically for sport because these were essentially peaceful people and posed no threat to the communities dotted with Protestant and Catholic churches in Northern California. “But it’s not as if the churches had something to do with a scheme to get rid of Indians,” he said.
... And I said, “I can’t claim to be an expert in the history of California, but as far as I know, there’s no record that any church groups made an effort to stop the killing of Indians for sport.” I told him that I first learned about what happened in the Feather River Canyon when I was an undergraduate student at Chico State University. I was astonished to learn of it then, and I am appalled now to think of it. My friend sat quietly looking at me, and before he had given it much thought he said, “What makes you think the holocaust was a Christian effort?” Knowing that he had been to Europe and had at least as many times as I had been and had surely wandered through several cathedrals in Germany, I didn’t say anything. Then he said, “Oh... I see what you mean.”
My friend and I talked for about an hour, agreeing that slavery in our country wasn’t genocide but that it was egregious none the less. After our conversation wandered all over the place, we got to speculation about what the Supreme Court would decide about DOMA. My friend doesn’t agree with me that DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, violates the constitutional rights of gay citizens. Our disagreement on that matter led to another disagreement which he considers an even more serious, so he said, “Surely you think America is a Christian nation.”
I won’t go into the details about the next half hour of discussion, but it gave me a chance to say what I’m sure he knew I would say, that ours is a nation of people of many religions and of no religion at all. We will, of course, continue to be good friends, but he was clearly uncomfortable with my saying I wish we had no references to God in our government documents and rituals which are supposed to represent all citizens. He handed me a quarter and asked if I’d prefer not to have In God We Trust stamped on it. I told him I think the declaration on the quarter is at least inappropriate and perhaps even subversive to the intent of the Constitution. It doesn’t represent all citizens.
By the way, I got his permission to write about our coffee chat. Before we went our separate ways, he asked if I’m not afraid that taking God out of government will lead to even more lawlessness and a more degenerative culture. We will undoubtedly continue the conversation.
A piece of contemporary mural after Diego Rivera
in the annex of the San Diego Museum of Art.
Another mural at Ohio Street and University Avenue.
North Park is becoming a community of murals.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Potpourri... Some days are like that: good, even memorable, but too full of different images to pull together into a consistent theme... I found the bird at the zoo. Visited a favorite rainbow eucalyptus at the entrance of the zoo....
Came across stripes I hadn't noticed before today...
Fooled around with a bird of paradise with Photoshop...
Turned a spider plant near our front door into something almost lyrical...
Decided not to mess with this amazing flower...
Went to the new musical at the Old Globe in the evening...
Ended the evening with an iPhone night shot of the Museum of Man towers.