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Our server Chelsea warmed my old man’s heart not long after she started working with us. It was a particularly busy day, and we were up to our patooties in alligators trying to keep up, and as always, everyone had a plane to catch and needed to be sat to eat NOW. So I was in overdrive, doing dignity-free bussing, bobbing and weaving, seating, wiping tables, saying Hello to the invading hordes and Thank You to the satisfied pussycats on their way out. Toward the end of the day Chelsea said three words to me that everyone I can think of loves to hear, as long as their name and not mine is the first word: “Gary, you’re amazing.” Well, so are you, my friend.

Here are the words to the double acrostic. As I indicate in the image, I’m grateful to Joni Mitchell, who wrote “Chelsea Morning” more than four decades ago. I have it playing in my head this very minute. And I am grateful that titles of creative work are not subject to copyright. “Chelsea” is seven letters long, and so is “Morning,” and “Morning” has an O in it, which enables me to rhyme-cheat a little.

clock in at dawn a. m
how Diners haw & hem–O
extracting wishes for
lean lusciousness this morn
see someone fine as Princess Di
ethereal as she’s benign
and Time is worth the whiling/when teaming brings the smiling

My old man’s paternalistic, patronizing, mansplaining awfulself comes up with this additional description, which is patently unfair: “She’s a good kid.” No. She’s a fine person, appreciative and kind.

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My vacation, which started a week ago and ends at 6AM Thursday morning, has seen some really hard work and really fun play. Yesterday was hard work: I helped my brother Brian set up his yard sale, and that involved heavy lifting and moving of dozens of items, including one of the biggest pre-flat-screen TVs ever made. About nine hours later all unsold items, including that honker of a TV, and display apparatus, including a long, heavy, falling-apart table about as heavy as the TV, had to be re-stashed. Wisely, Brian had me put the table where it could be conveniently taken to the alley for bulk trash pickup.

So today my back and legs are sore but my brain is fresh as a daisy, thanks to a long and heavy series of sleeps, commencing at 7:30 PM and continuing through the night. And for the first time in quite a while I felt like doing some hard brainwork/artwork/ acrostification in the service of portraiture. I’d just watched THE FOUNDER, the story of Ray Kroc’s discovery and gradual appropriation of the McDonald brothers’ revolutionary fast food method. It is more fascinating and horrifying to watch than a train wreck. And yet again I was left with an admiration of Michael Keaton’s skill and versatility.

I went a day overdue returning THE FOUNDER to Redbox, and it may take yet another day, and another $1.62 down the drain. I’ve been sketching, not only Keaton, but others involved in this incredible movie, and I’ve yet to do Jeremy Renner, actor turned producer, and Laura Dern, whom I also admire, who plays Kroc’s first wife, and gives an outstanding performance as a strong, supportive woman who was exploited, neglected, taken for granted, and ultimately cast aside. She will go next to Michael, smaller but with more time taken to get her right.

And then there is the acrostic. I’ve met the challenge of making MICHAEL the same length as KEATON, by conjoining the A and E in a way we don’t often see any more. I think the poem will be iambic, because I’ve had much more experience with iambic versifying than any other meter, and I will need all the help I can get with this one, since I intend to make each line of exactly equal character length, as befits a “true” acrostic, unlike the cheats I usually do. That is why the area between MICHAEL and KEATON is gridded. (Hint to aspiring acrostifiers: Microsoft Excel is a good place to do double-or-more acrostic¬†construction. Format the cells to be of equal length and width, put your acrostics in the first and last columns, give yourself plenty of in-between columns, and hack away. NOTE: An easy way to add columns is hot-keying Control-Plus; subtracting, Control-Minus.)

But “Aesop,” the most familiar and least confusing of the AE possibilities, is trochaic, not iambic. But “Aesopian” IS iambic, and so one minor hurdle is jumped. There will be many others, especially since I stuck “batman” in there, in lower-case incognity.

Is this hard work or hard play? It is both. Please stay tuned!

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Just a hair shy of a week ago I was at an art show opening, in the glorious company of my friends Sylvia Frost and Clottee Hammons, enjoying the artwork of our friend Rafael Navarro. A lady there whom I had just met talked of one of Rafa’s sculptures that incorporated a school of fish. I told her I’d done some fish too, and showed her a drawing of a lionfish I had made.

We also talked about printmaking and I mentioned that I had done an intaglio etching of a fish. Somewhere I made the commitment to post that print on my blog within a week. The deadline looms, but this fulfills the commitment.

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Long ago–1991 to be more exact–Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty, Gary Busey, the late great Patrick Swayze, and ace director Kathryn Bigelow joined forces with a superb ensemble cast to make POINT BREAK, a movie whose fine bizarreness and insane spirituality are on a par with REPO MAN, THE FISHER KING and SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, to name three more of my top ten favorite films of all time.

I’d wanted to see POINT BREAK since I read Roger Ebert’s three-and-a-half star review about a decade ago. Last week my work buddy Matthew loaned me his DVD copy. I’ve been studying it–watched it once with English subtitles, once with Spanish subtitles, once with frame-freezing for sketching. I’ve seen all the special features and deleted scenes. I’m not quite ready to do a double-acrostic illustrated POINT BREAK poem, but will be soon. Meanwhile, here are two learning sketches.

 

 

 

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I have just finished watching the DVD of the movie LOVING. For me the story was both deeply moving and relatable. I had an interracial relationship in the 70s, and another in the 80s. Of course, I and the two women who blessed my life with their companionship did not endure nearly the hardship that Mildred and Richard Loving did. But there is some resonance.

I hope more people learn this important story. It underscores a sentiment found in every important belief-system that Humanity has ever conceived. In the Bible it is distilled by “. . . the greatest of these is Love.”

Long, long ago, Eric Knight, author of LASSIE COME-HOME, wrote a delightful story called “All Yankees Are Liars.” He began the story with this epigram:

You can always tell the English,

You can always tell the Dutch.

You can always tell a Yankee,

But you cannot tell him much.

What goes around comes around. Donald Trump, now President of the United States, is a chronic, unapologetic liar. His recent ploy to smear former president Barack Obama is a shameful attempt to direct attention away from the wrongdoings of some of his advisors, cabinet appointees, and, of course, himself.

My blog has been seen by people from at least 72 different countries. WordPress tells me I have more than 500 followers. So this goes out to all who see it, worldwide. Citizens of Earth, I and other Americans who are proud of what our country has stood for as represented in its Constitution, but are ashamed of what our country has  come to as embodied by our current President and his cohorts, want you to know that we wish, peacefully and legally, to set things aright by ousting this liar, this bad representative of our country.

Thank you for your attention.