I’m Not Buyin’ It

Today, Peg and I watched a very powerful film “12 Years A Slave.” We now understand why it received the Best Picture Award. The reason it is so good is because it is a true story, and is the personal account of a man who experienced slavery in the good old USA. We weren’t shocked by the content, nor the cruelty because both of us watched movies like “Roots,” and “Amistad.” We also paid attention in school when studying history. I admit, however, that the cruelty aspect in 12 Years is much more graphic and convincing than that in Roots.

Last week we saw “Son of God” and the cruelty shown to Jesus was similar if not more so. One difference is that Jesus experienced one scourging in his life, slave-owners whipped their property often. There is no doubt in my mind that slavery is evil. It is finally illegal to own slaves in any country of the world, yet there are purportedly twenty-nine million slaves in existence worldwide today.

What made this film more interesting is that main character Solomon Northrup was born a free man in Saratoga, New York. That made him a citizen of the USA. He didn’t get captured by mercenary traders in a foreign country and shipped across an ocean to a strange new land and sold. Kidnappers took Solomon and sold him into slavery in Washington D.C. He learned quickly not to ever mention his background to anyone for fear of a brutal beating.

Most white slave owners were evil. There is no better way to describe them, they acted like the devil. Even those who were compassionate were evil because they believed that owning  human beings as property was their legal right. Many saw slaves as animals not humans. I salute the millions of slaves who have endured the loss of liberty and cruel treatment they received. This is the point where I will infuriate all blacks living in America. I’m not buying into the storyline that I should feel sorry for every living American black because his great, great, great, grandfather uncle aunt, etc. was a slave. The slaves were the ones who paid the price, not you. You are free since 1865 and since 1970’s the US government has spent trillions to end poverty and for discrimination you have suffered under whitey. If you divide the money spent by every black in America since the Emancipation Proclamation you would all be very wealthy.

Obama-Lincoln-slavery-jpg

What have you done to make your slave ancestors proud? What is their legacy? How do you honor the cruelty and indignity they suffered? Is it they who have made you more dependent on Uncle Sam? Did Solomon Northrup and his friends organize you into gangs? Did he also corrupt your morals to commit genocide on your own progeny? What have you done for yourselves to convince us to drop the need to discriminate against you? Forgive me, but I do discriminate against gang-thugs, and people who play the welfare system to the max. I welcome my neighbors, and friends who share in the goodness of America.

It pleases me if Hollywood made this film to entertain. It pleases me if  they made it to educate us about the life of an extraordinary man. If they made it to send a message that you are a victim of a government gone wild, it is okay. If Hollywood produced this story to eradicate world slavery through awareness, I am pleased.

The problem is that I don’t think Hollywood made the film for those reasons.  I think they made it because they are pushing the political agenda of equal outcomes for all policy of communism, and I am not buying it.

Instead of Hollywood producers, directors, actors, and American Blacks converting America into a socialist state, where everyone belongs to the government, they should focus their efforts on freeing the twenty-nine million slaves in the world who still endure the cruelty, hardship, and loss of liberty.

Starving Artists

In my recent post “Horn Man” I went into an overly long essay on how I went about creating an original piece of art. I’m positive I could have done a better job on a photo essay with clever captions. During the sixteen week period during which I made four Intarsia pieces I thought a lot about the business of selling art. Could I make a living doing this? Could I even make any money at all doing this?

I thought about Michelangelo and Da Vinci  and the remarkable work they did. How did they survive? The simple answer is they had patrons who supported them in return for their work. Michelangelo’s sculpture of David took him two years or more to complete. It is not easy chiseling a larger than life-size man from a single block of marble. I wonder if he had any “oops” moments during that time. I had many “oops” moments during the making of Horn Man, but glue and more wood made it easy to either fix the “oops” or to remake the part. Da Vinci had a list of patrons as well. He lived with them while he learned the trade and then worked for them afterwards. When a patron lost his place in society, and could no longer afford to patronize an artist both Michelangelo and Da Vinci found themselves new patrons. While unpatronized they took part-time work by doing commissions for the wealthy.

Getting back to my thoughts about selling Intarsia art I pondered the value of my work. Would I charge by the hour and if so, what is the value of one of my hours? I know what I made while working as an engineer, would I use that value? If  not charging by the hour, then charging by the piece would be the next way to sell. I have seen Intarsia artwork at craft fairs but never at art fairs. The pieces I see are very simple and flat in form indicating that the crafter did not put much effort into the work. I have never been satisfied with the flat style of Intarsia. My pieces become three-dimensional and sculpted. That is why they take me so long to make. If you look at my bass, or the Blue Jay you will see that these pieces are more lifelike than a flat work. The value I see on Intarsia pieces at fairs ranges from twenty dollars to one hundred dollars, unless the picture has hundreds of discrete parts. In cases where a customer commissions a complicated work the value  can jump to thousands of dollars.

StrippedBass-1780845_10201407376251910_722702533_n

Stripped Bass

Blue Jay

Blue Jay On Apple Blossoms

Largemouthbass

Large Mouth Bass About to Eat

When I completed Horn Man I had logged one hundred and five hours on the project. At the current minimum wage of $9.80 per hour I would have to charge  $1039.00 for the Horn Man. If I use my hourly rate as an Engineer the price is $6300.00.

Horn Man

Horn Man

Let me assume I sold each of these four pieces at one fair, and I charged the minimum wage; I would have netted twenty-seven hundred dollars. Divide that by sixteen weeks of time and my gross salary is $169.13/week which extrapolates into a whopping $8794.50/year. No wonder people would rather be on welfare.

The reality of doing something I like loses to what I have to do to make a living wage.  Some of the latest spin by Liberals about why we need the Un-Affordable Care Act is that a person would be free to pursue his dreams if he didn’t have to worry about paying for health care. I recommend reading two recent articles, the first by Avik Roy who wrote a piece published by Forbes and a quote by Nancy Pelosi on Redstate.com

The idea of forcing me to pay for someone else’s dream smacks of slavery. It is different if I choose to patronize that person. Neither Michelangelo nor Da Vinci had healthcare benefits but they followed their heart’s desire to become experts in their field of art and invention by getting a job working for a patron.

Obama is transforming America into a socialist Utopia(Utopia is a place where pigs fly), and to do that he has to make the middle class worker like you and me into a tax-slaves who pay for those who follow dreams without a job. I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck would rather be free to work my ass off as I see fit, and to spend my wages the way I want to.

In Pursuit of Reason

The signature of Thomas Jefferson, 3rd Preside...

Image via Wikipedia

During a recent vacation trip, Grandma Peggy and I visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. The visit is on my list of things to do and see sometimes called a “bucket list.”

We enjoyed every moment of our time there. I love touring mansions, and this house is definitely a mansion. Jefferson spent a lot of his energy and time designing and building Monticello. His ideas for the layout are definitely unique. The level of detail within the rooms is amazing. Jefferson loved science and incorporated many slick little features to make his dream house work for him. For example, the twin doors separating the living area from the main entry hall  has a unique feature. One has only to open a single door, and the matching unit swings open automatically. The right hand door is independently actuated by the one on the left. The mechanism is completely hidden from view. The door opens as if by magic. As we walked up the stairs to the entry, I noticed a dial on the ceiling rotating to and fro. The letters N,S,E,W encircled the dial. Above the porch, on the roof  a weather vane danced with the wind. The dial on the porch ceiling danced in unison. All the man had to do is to look out at his porch ceiling to find which direction the wind came from. Useful? Perhaps, but certainly novel.

During the tour of the house, A peculiar device jumped out at me. We were in his office. There, placed on his writing desk sat a pantograph. The guide explained that Jefferson wrote many letters and made a copy of everything he wrote. The pantograph was his copy machine. SInce he saved copies of his writings, Historians have a trove of material to research.

While in the museum bookstore, search the racks for a biography. Another item on my bucket list is to read the biographies of the presidents. I had started with Jefferson years ago, but the book wasn’t readable. It was one of few I never completed. There were many biographies on the rack. Choosing the right one seemed impossible. Grandma Peggy pulled one down, looked at the price and said, “how about this one?” I took it from her without examining the jacket. The book titled “The pursuit of Reason, The Life of Thomas Jefferson,” by Noble E. Cunningham, Jr. turned into one of my best historical reads.

Cunningham’s style and my reading taste coincided completely. I found reading easy and entertaining. The one negative is that the print is small. Even though the book is three-hundred and fifty pages it took me as long to read as a five-hundred page novel. One of the biggest impressions Cunningham left on me was the parallel between Jefferson’s problems, during his two terms in office as President, with those of current affairs. He served as the third president. Only Washington and Adams served before him, yet one of his major concerns was the effort by the Federalist party to disregard the Constitution. In fact, Jefferson himself had problems adhering rigidly to the Constitution. During his negotiations to buy Louisiana from France, he realized the need for an amendment.  At the same time, he knew an amendment would need two or more years to realize. He feared losing the deal, and took it upon himself  to use the executive power of the office to buy the land extending to the Mississippi.

Jefferson wrestled the slavery issue from the time he authored the Declaration throughout his political career, but in his personal life he owned slaves and did not emancipate them. His daughter inherited the slaves upon his death. He spoke of emancipation often, but always pushed the problem to a younger generation. In other words, he kicked the can down the road. Where have we heard that before?

I am glad I read this book. My respect for Thomas Jefferson increased by one-hundred fold. He is a bigger man than I imagined.

The Ugly Faces of Reform

Did I leave anything out? I’m sure I did. Let me know what bothers you about these reforms.

These bandits now have a .666 batting average, are we going to let them make it three out of three?

A Patriot’s Point of View

     I love the internet! My friends send me stuff all day long. It saves me endless hours of surfing on my own. I just open my e-mail and there it is. Most of the time we trade jokes, cartoons, and letters of rage. Today, I received a copy of a letter that has been circulating for a few months. The letter to President Obama is written by a veteran of World War Two . He is ninety-five years old, and is he upset. Harold is upset about the change that is going on.The sender verified it on Snopes, but having been duped into believing too many erroneous articles, I checked it out on Snopes myself. The letter is correctly attributed to Harold Estes.Please read this patriot’s letter and comment on his point of view.

 

Dear President Obama,                   My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year.  People meeting me for the first time don’t believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos’n Mate.  Now I live in a “rest home” located on the western end of Pearl Harbor , allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.So here goes.

I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.

I can’t figure out what country you are the president of.

You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:

             ” We’re no longer a Christian nation”

             ” America is arrogant” – (Your wife even

                 announced to the world,” America is mean-

                 spirited. ” Please tell her to try preaching

                 that nonsense to 23 generations of our

                 war dead buried all over the globe who

                 died for no other reason than to free a

                 whole lot of strangers from tyranny and

                 hopelessness.)

I’d say shame on the both of you, but I don’t think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you.  To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.

After 9/11 you said,” America hasn’t lived up to her ideals.”

Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British?  Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War?  I hope you didn’t mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom.

I don’t think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination.  You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.

Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man.

Shape up and start acting like an American.  If you don’t, I’ll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue .  You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.

And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more. You mean you don’t want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts , who was putting up a fight?  You don’t mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don’t want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.

One more thing.  I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you’re the Commander-in-Chief now, son.  Do your job.  When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him.  But if you’re not in this fight to win, then get out.  The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you’re thinking of.

You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president. 

You’re not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy.  That’s not our greatest threat.  Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now.

And I sure as hell don’t want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle…

Sincerely,

Harold B. Estes

 Snopes confirms as true:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/haroldestes.asp

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