internet + etsy

Updates, set dressing for Maniacs and shut up youSomeone named Jack emailed me recently to ask why I wasn’t a part of the usual haunts and discussions out there on the web. He asked, “Was it something someone said?”
The short answer is, “No.”
The slightly longer answer is: I’m just not spending a lot of time online these days. I don’t know when and if that will change. I didn’t make any conscious choice at any single point and say, “That is the last fucking straw!” or whatever. I just dropped out of the google+ thing and stopped visiting all the forums and what-not because I just didn’t find the rewards equal to the time investment they required. I have not changed; I’m just less interested in having broader conversations with strangers on topics that don’t reflect what I am doing these days.
Some have suggested I create a ‘facebook artist page’ and I still haven’t decided if I need a ‘facebook artist page’ that is distinct from my ‘facebook page’ or not. I think I just use my facebook page for looking at pictures of kittens in sombreros and posting the occasional snarky comment and seeing pictures of other people’s kids or hearing about the marathons they are running or the meals they are eating; the point of a broader ‘strategic multimedia outreach’ has yet to become a reality for me.
I’m doing things (some of which don’t involve the internet) and working on some private commissions as well as some projects that are probably 2 or 3 years late and getting older.
If you have clicked on the etsy shop link on the right, you will find that there is nothing in the store (and there hasn’t been for some time). Etsy has been pretty good to me in the past but isn’t fitting into my current schemes very well — again, because of the time involved. If anyone has suggestions for a good way for an artist like me to sell original artwork that has been previously published in things like Goodman Games DCC adventures, please post or email.
If anyone wants to say hello, the best way is probably to just email me (at sbpoag(at)gmail(dot)com). After the 18th of August 2013 I will be out of the country for 2+ weeks. I will probably not have access to email in that time.

Voyage of the Stag Party

Ok, this is the first time I contributed artwork to an adventure that is packaged with a record album. I’ve had artwork published on a record album (and a CD) and I’ve had my art published on the cover of an adventure, but ‘Voyage of the Stag Party’ means you buy a record album and get an adventure with it (or maybe you buy an adventure and get a 7 inch record — it’s 1978 all over again!).  And, yes, when they say ‘record album’ they mean a black vinyl thing.

The artist is Sybaris. The record and tour are all about their favorite beer brewed by Three Floyds Brewery. Learn more here. It releases April 5th where there will be music and beer and dicerollin’… I wish I was going… so if you are in Chicagoland, check it out.  Details in link above.

Next, I’d really like my art published on a picture disc.

Hurricane Sandy destroys a part of my childhood

There was a replica of the 3 masted HMS Bounty (I think it has been used in several films, including the well known ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ film and one or more of the ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ films) that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy off the coast of North Carolina today.  Two of the sixteen crew members are missing at sea and presumed drowned; the rest managed to board life boats and were rescued by the Coast Guard. The ship subsequently sank.

I only mention it because I have very dim memories of visiting the ship when I was a youngster and we were vacationing in Florida.

WTF, Abuelita!?!

I thought it was going to take a while to top yesterday’s news bit about Limbaugh and the shrinking penis, but the internet did not disappoint and another example of the douchebaggery of humans delivered itself to my inbox today. I offer it up for your edification:

If you were wondering, that’s “Beast Jesus” on the far right.

 I’m sure you heard about the grandmother who ‘restored’ a heavily damaged fresco of Jesus in a church in the town of Borja, Spain (and by ‘restored’ I mean she transformed Jesus into some sort of chimp-like humanoid with a smear for a mouth). She explained that she thought she could just ‘fix it’ but the restoration job ‘got out of hand.’  This makes me wonder what, exactly, all the people who saw her painting in the church thought she was doing — church attendance in Borja must be way down. Seeking to make lemonade out of a ruined fresco, the church noticed that people who had heard about the ‘Beast Jesus’ (as they now call it) on the internet were willing to pay to see it, so they started charging an entrance fee (the money changer IS the temple, I guess). They collected 2,000 Euros in 4 days! A miracle.

Cecilia Gimenez, the ‘restorationist,’ isn’t pleased. After ruining the fresco, thereby turning it into a tourist attraction, she thinks she deserves a cut.

I’m especially enamored of the painting’s new moniker, “Beast Jesus.” My Facebook friend Rene says “Beast Jesus” needs to be the name of a Black Metal band.  Thank you, Facebook!

Working for two dollars a day

This is what lawful evil looks like.

The richest woman in the world, mining company owner Gina Rhinehart, recently stated that African workers who were willing to go to work for around two dollars a day should be considered an ‘inspiration.’  Rhinehart considers the africans ‘inspiring,’ perhaps, because they earn so little. I wonder what she thinks of the South African mineworkers who were ‘inspired’ to strike because their wages were too low and their workplaces too dangerous?

Rhinehart lives in Australia and owns a gigantic company that produces iron ore. She did not build this company; she inherited it. Her complaint is that normal Australians, with their expectations of a life beyond what you can get for 2 dollars a day, are destroying her industry’s ability to compete with Africans who earn 2 dollars a day or less.  Yes, she does seem to be serious.  She says that in order to get ahead, the poor could work harder and ‘drink and smoke less.’ I’d point out that if she wants to cut wages to two dollars a day, she will have to add ‘food, healthcare, a place to sleep and water’ to luxuries that Australian workers will have to do without in order to get by on 2 dollars a day. And who will buy the items made from the ore that her 2 dollar a day wage slaves will be producing?

I think rather than trying to change Australians, Rhinehart should move herself to somplace in the world where two dollars will buy you 8 hours worth of labor. She also looks a little too hefty for someone who feels she has the right to preach self restraint to those uppity Aussies who won’t settle for her gilded age level wages and give up ‘luxuries’ that make working in a mine more bearable like a can of beer or a smoke.

File under "ironic."

According to the Chicago Tribune, a fire recently destroyed ‘The World’s Largest Stove.‘ The stove had been built for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and had later been moved to Michigan where it was on display on the State Fairgrounds. With the recession and double digit job losses the norm in our state, we Michiganders feel we have suffered enough in the past couple years — and now we have lost ‘The World’s Largest Stove.” Fate is a bitch.

One wouldn’t think the ‘World’s Largest Stove” would be in danger of burning down… in fact, I would think that a headline like, “World’s Largest Stove used to cook World’s Largest Pancake” would be more likely… but this stove was build of wood which makes me wonder why a) it didn’t burn down sooner and b) if it can’t handle a little fire without burning down, was ‘The World’s Largest Stove’ really a stove?

The News about the News about the News

While observing anniversaries of doubtful utility (9-11) and meditating on Koran burnings, mosque building and other examples of over-the-top battles of rhetoric, hyperbole and people getting carried away with their own self righteous indignation, I also found myself wondering how much ‘news’ is created by the act of reporting itself, especially in the age of the 24 hour access news cycle.

A pastor from Florida with a moustache that would make the Village People say “Wow” announces that he will burn some Muslim holy books on the 9th 9-11 anniversary. Years ago, this might have been a local news item at best — but today it’s picked up everywhere and suddenly everyone is giving this schmuck his 15 minutes of fame. Suddenly Mayor Bloomberg of NYC and President Obama and General Petraeus are weighing in and angry Muslims are burning American flags in the middle east as the American taxpayer forks over more money for heightened security around the globe. People are scrambling to get the story out and Pastor Jones (who I suspect is a publicity whore who finds the attention intoxicating) suddenly manages to expand the reach of his “ministry” from Gainesville, Florida to anywhere with internet.

I certainly support the right of Pastor Terry Jones to say what he wants (even though I don’t respect the content of his free speech and suspect the motives behind it). But there does not seem to be a ‘perspective control’ on the media. Suddenly this self serving bigot in Florida gets a microphone that reaches the far corners of the globe and seemingly everyone is interested in what he is doing and why. Even more annoying, Pastor Jones can keep himself in the limelight by making numerous announcements about the proposed burning. Initially he said he was going to burn the Koran, then he said the Koran burning was off, then he said he would not burn the Koran if Imam Rauf and his Manhattan congregation agreed to relocate their ‘Park Place’ Muslim center, then he said the burning was back on, etc. I can’t keep track of whether he intends to go forward with this stunt or not… but, then again, I find myself resentful that the story seems to have as big a news ‘footprint’ as it does.

My own opinion is that book burning a) no longer works and b) is stupid. If your intent in burning a book is to deny others access to the work itself, book burning was probably much more effective in the Middle Ages and earlier, when few copies of any book existed. When Bishop Theophilis burned the Library of Alexandria in 391 (if he was the one who burned it; Historians disagree), many of the books that were destroyed may have been one of a kind. But Pastor Terry Jones can’t possibly believe that burning a pile of Korans in Florida is going to prevent others from reading the book (especially since you can read the Koran (or ‘Quran’) online). In the age of mechanical reproduction (perhaps we have moved beyond Bejamin’s “Mechanical Reproduction’ and into “post-analog duplication” with the internet), burning a book becomes simply a symbolic exercise. The people who are “anti-book” can gather around their bonfires and toss the books they object to into the flames and the people who are “pro-book” can cluck their tongues in disgust and fire off screeds into the ether (as I am doing). But nothing changes, other than shallow opinions get more deeply intrenched.

Some older people may remember Patricia Pulling of “Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons” (B.A.D.D.) fame. As an anti-occult activist, she latched onto the Dungeons & Dragons game as the cause of her son’s suicide and launched a nationwide campaign that encouraged people to burn D&D books. I suppose a few cranks still believe her line of twaddle, but other than giving Patricia Pulling (and some other anti-Satan God-botherers) a certain measure of authority in the occult scare movement, they failed to accomplish anything of substance and the movement has largely been discredited.

Now that September 11 is here, hopefully Pastor Terry Jones and the other Koran burners will move quickly out of the news cycle and be forgotten; as they deserve to be.

(Getting ready to burn some books: Picture at right, Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center being followed by a Hootchie mama with a Nine on her hip — Given the nature of the rhetoric the Pastor employs, I suspect the “Dove” in “Dove World Outreach Center” is not a dove of peace — perhaps it is a reference to “Dove” soap (as in, “We shall Cleanse the World!”))