Saturday, May 31, 2008

Never Could Say No

The committee chairman handling procurement of artists to paint "palettes" for display in the town has shamed me into painting yet another palette. This year's palette is in the shape of the town's historical landmark, The Casino Theatre, rather than the shape of an actual palette (the format used in 2007). Personally, I think it looks like a birdhouse for very large, but skinny, avians. Much as I would like to paint something avant garde on the palette, as a responsible member of the community who is painting this FOR the community, I must adhere to more conventional standards. Mine is going to be late, because I just received the palette, a 1/2" thick piece of plywood which measures about 5 1/2' x 4'. So it will be a lot of painting in a hurry. Since it is raining off and all today, it seems a good time to get a large part of the painting finished. I will post a picture of it when it is ready.

Speaking of art, I have found some interesting art blogs you may enjoy. This is art of a different genre, namely computer art. And it is art into which you can interact. Have fun! and

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Puppy Raffles and Water Bottle Battles

There were certain advantages in going to a small, rural school in the fifties. We could play practical jokes on our classmates without being labeled a bully or being sent to the principal's office. Boys actually carried pen knives in their pockets and weren't suspended from school for possessing a dangerous weapon. To fear getting shot in school meant it was time for polio shots, not actually being shot by a fellow classmate wielding a pistol. There was a sense of discipline in students and great respect for our teachers. In light of all that, I wonder how my brother, Bill, and I were permitted to bring the mixed-breed puppies of our family dog, Baby, to the school science fair each spring. We sold raffle tickets and each winner was awarded a puppy. The money went to the school, and I don't recall ever taking a puppy back home. There weren't any parents who complained or refused to allow their kids to take a puppy home. Amazing, when you really think about it.

I had a penchant for water bottles which, when squeezed, performed like a super squirt gun. Every spring, I would bring one to school and squirt other students in the halls between classes. Pretty soon, other kids would also bring them and we would have water battles in the halls and sometimes on the school buses. No one ever got into trouble - I guess because our teachers were wise enough to realize this was good, clean (no pun intended) fun and the interest in the water bottles would end after a week or so. How things have changed!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Little Kids

When one finally reaches the state of grandparent-hood, there is time to just sit back and watch children interacting with one another. I think the most apparent difference between children and adults, aside from size differences, is that children don't worry about what you may think of them, what they look like or sound like, or whether or not they are politically correct. They just ARE. They truly live in the moment, something we should all be doing. When do we lose what we apparently are born with - this lack of self-consciousness and inhibition? Society teaches each of us how to be and in the process, we become what we think we are supposed to be - someone other people tell us to be. Obviously, society needs children to learn how to live within its boundaries, but it is sad that individualism is often lost in the process.

On Saturday, I was watching a group of five children playing together. The eldest, a seven year-old girl, was in the role of leader. The other children, all pre-schoolers, followed her in a line, much like a mother duck and her ducklings. Everything the eldest child did, the others mimicked. It was quite touching to see these little ones learning, in a very basic manner, how to BE in our society, while playing a game.

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