A letter just arrived for the United States from 1920

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the white house will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.” – H.L. Mencken, the Baltimore evening Sun. July 26, 1920.


Minnesotastan explains: “Snopes confirms that Mencken did make such a pronouncement in 1920 (using the term “downright moron”).”

Go to the TYWKIWDBI link above or Snopes for more information.

Wading through the slushy mire that is this current political climate as a photographer desperate for creative expression and acceptance

Surely I’m not alone.

The current political climate is overwhelming if not crushing at times. Since about March of last year, I’ve found myself in a state of desperate need to express myself artistically, but failing because I keep reaching to check the pulse of what’s happening in my country.

Instead of designing a new photo or video project, I’m surfing websites obsessing over political bullshit that maybe I shouldn’t. This obsession is becoming a distraction.

I’m particularly pointing to the idea that I’m not doing personal projects. The guilt from not doing these projects presents itself as an overwhelming sense of personal failure. When I compare myself to other artists being productive, I suffocate from the vomit in the back of my throat.

After thinking about it a bit, I feel like I need to adjust my views. I’ve been doing some side work that I am proud of. But sometimes as an artist, I focus more on what the negative rather than what’s positive.

For this post, I’m focusing on something positive. 🙂

My recent work includes some portraits of different musicians. They are convenient in the sense that I don’t really set them up. I have to show up to photograph the artist. But it’s up to me on how I present the work.

I’ll post three different photos, taken with the exact same light setup, but my approach to each image varied. See below.

The first image is of a singer/songwriter named Kevin Garrett. He’s super talented. For as long as I can remember (I’m talking back in my teens), I’ve loved SNL portraits, and so often, the images are multiple versions of the same portrait or portraits from a sitting.

I tend to see multiplicity in people. They have a depth of character and so often I question how one image can represent a multilayered personality. I did a portrait of my niece several years ago that hangs in my brother’s home. It shows her in five different poses standing in her back yard. I’m a bit proud of that work for whatever reason aside it seems to reflect my aesthetic in a distant way.

The second image is of a band called the Orwells. These guys are young, balls-to-the-wall artists. I think they’re amazing. And photographing them with a bit of nuance is tough. I dove down at one point doing the sitting with a 20mm lens and grabbed this one. I feel like it’s rock-n-roll and it’s them, kinda bad ass and larger than life as they peer down from their artistic pedestal.

And finally there’s a portrait of an artist named Phoebe Ryan. She’s a singer songwriter who blew me away with her personality and vocal ability. These photo shoots are done directly next to the artist greenroom of a music TV station. While I setup, I can banter a bit with bands. Or I can just sit there, and listen in on their conversations or their warmups. Phoebe was warming up before her performance and when she realized I was sitting within earshot, she apologized and asked if I wanted her to close the door between us. “No, not at all!” I said. “I’m loving listening to your warmups.”

I took about 8 or 9 frames of her, but each one showed this fun-loving personality and infectious smile and laugh. Artists are sometimes assholes. Phoebe couldn’t have been the farthest thing from asshole. I loved every second of our short time together.

Enjoy these portraits!


Orwells performs at JBTV Music Television on February 8, 2017


The avalanche starts with a whistling wind through the trees on a quiet mountain top

I am a lifelong Republican. I voted for every Republican presidential candidate from 1968 to 2004. But I have watched what once was a sane, center-right party go off the rails, first to the extreme right, then to wherever Trump is, which is in another universe.

It’s tough, but we must end this dangerous presidency. Trump must be impeached and removed with all haste. But only Congress can initiate the process.

Our congressman, Steve Chabot, has been busy defending Trump from the media, which is simply reporting Trump’s machinations. It’s time for him to man-up and start drafting the articles of impeachment. As I remember, he did it for Clinton for far less than Trump has already done.

After the election, many hoped that Trump would “grow up” into the job – that he couldn’t possibly be as bad as some thought. Well, it’s gone the other way. The bully has become a more entitled bully. Anyone disagreeing is attacked. Policy is announced in illiterate tweets.

Read the rest here.

“This piece, written by Mark P. Painter, was posted on Cincinnati.com Tuesday. Painter is a lifelong Cincinnatian, and served as a judge for 30 years.”

The so-called hypocrisy of the left

I saw these two videos recently going around as cock-sure evidence that the left is sooooooooo hypocritical. As if we’re whiny babies about Donald J. Trump’s policies but glossy-eyed, pigeon-toed, gawking goober sluts when the leader from the democratic party showed signs of strength regarding immigration or border protection.

As the french say, “Holy shit balls, these videos are awesome!”

There’s not a lefty libtard I’ve ever met who didn’t agree and support the statements made here by President Clinton or President Obama. Strength of borders and concentrated, calculated approach to common sense ideas regarding these topics is what I expect from any sitting president.

Using these videos as some kind of proof of hypocrisy is dumbfounding, and it just shows how little thought any conservative seems to put into the discussion.

No one wants open borders, illegals skipping to their loo over borders.

The issue is the current commander in chief thinks it’d be a great investment to drop upwards of $25B on a goddamn wall. Here is an excellent write up on what the issues of building a wall are.

The other issue is the big, bad MAGA MAGA MAGA Muslim ban-cheese-balls- stir up the gun-totin’, dip spittin’, brainless cowherd that is the base of the rightwing dingdong parade. You know, the smarty-mc-smart cocks who post stuff like these videos and think, “That’ll show ’em!”

And now, let’s open this big dusty book to Matthew. Chapter 25.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

And then Jesus tells them that the lefties are going to hell.

Wait a minute!

I meant to say turn in your bible-pa-loozas to Luke chapter 10 verse 25:

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Gosh, I wish I knew more biblical references to taking care of all people, no matter the race or religion.

Whatever. It’s just Jesus.

That brings me back to these videos. Seriously? This is the best the right can come up with as “proof” of hypocrisy? I’m stupefied.

Common sensical approaches to immigration and border protection is just that: Common Fucking Sense.

Sweeping explosive bullshit Muslim bans on some, but not all, Muslim countries and throwing money down the toilet to build an “I’ve got little hands, an even smaller penis, and no brains” wall … that there is some level of stupid I’ve never experienced.

Not standing up to the Cheeto in the white house whether conservative or liberal, now that’s the conversation we should be having. And when Trump gets thrown out, by his own people, I’ll be waiting for some fucking apologies — or apologizes as the Department of Education spells it — when it happens.

To the Emasculated Working Men Who Looked to Trump

A portion of a post at Medium.com written by my friend Stephen Mucher:

Dear American working men of the heartland who feel emasculated by establishment politicians long ignoring your plight,

Do you think the obscenely rich economic insiders sitting around the White House cabinet table today snicker openly, or just wink, each time their leader explains to his base, in preachy third grader language, what new thing they have to be afraid of this week?

Does it sting somewhat when that bossy blonde with a law degree who serves as his spokeswoman lectures you about facts? (Didn’t you hate that girl in high school?)

Do you at least modestly question your manhood realizing you suddenly admire a born-rich prep-school-educated Manhattan performance artist who has never picked up a shovel or driven a pickup truck?

Do you ever wonder if Trump is really a tell-it-like-it-is outsider with a plan for his base beyond “shaking things up?” In other words, does the proud man inside you, who has been duped before, have concerns this is just another clever silver-spoon jerk with an expensive education confidently boasting about what is best for the working man? …

Read the rest.

It’s forever Caturday

Yesterday evening, we said goodbye to our beloved kitten companion of 17 years Zoe Ann Witteveen Serafini.

She died at exactly 6:30 p.m. February 4, 2017.

The hurt from this loss stands alone as a pain I hate more and more with every passing second.

Zoe has been sick for a long time, probably longer than we could ever understand. She started yowling at night at least two years ago. And for a while, we thought it was her being a big jerk. And over time, I came to the conclusion that she was actually in pain. She wouldn’t want to tell us about the pain, but I thinks she went deaf as well. And she probably didn’t realize how loud her calls were.

We live in an apartment of six units, and I’m sure there were hours of her cries when our neighbors below and next to us had to have heard her.

Tina and I had started living with it, accommodating it the best we could. We thought she was craving water, so we left water bowls every where. When we heard water fountains are good for this kind of thing, we bought one. We often left toilet seats up (I know, gross), and water dripping in a couple different sinks.

Making the decision to euthanize her practically killed our spirits. Surely we could have lived with the night screaming and her strained breathing a little longer?

But the consensus is that it’s better to help her go while she’s still standing a little than when she can no longer function well. And that’s the only glimmer of hope we have that we did the right thing.

It’s been a particularly painful week of intermittent crying spells due to a strained family situation that I finally had to conclude was hurting me more than I could bear. I decided years ago that there were members of my family that cared more about hurting me than trying to have a relationship that didn’t include sadistic heapings of disturbing infliction of pain. It became torturelike. And no amount of discussion solved the problem.

I’ve been having nightmares, terrors and sleep paralysis for years. There comes a point when crying in private must stop.

One can only take so much stabbing before they need hospitalization.

There’s a dark cloud around these parts. I hate it.

Hate. it. so. much.