I Gotta Testify…..

From the MInd of the Manic

"My Little Gunner"©2013 Robert Redus

“My Little Gunner”©2013 Robert Redus

“You know, lieutenant, you wear your weapon the way other women wear pearls.”

All couples have songs….my sweety and I are no different…we just have a kind of…”Different” song…we sing to one another….Ours happens to be a 1940’s classic by none other than…you bethcha…..Vaughn Monroe…and I’m sharing it…well because I’m sort of testifying…

I’m 57 this year…that is a monumental accomplishment for people who die in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and less than 57’s…I mean…I realize getting to a particular age is only an accomplishment if….the process of getting there was like pulling your fingernails out with…rusty pliers…or holding your breath for more than 3 minutes in 66 degree water…but nevertheless…getting to this place in my life has been interesting…I’ll just leave it at that…

What I’ve really learned along the way are some pretty powerful things…and things that sure some of you are going to probably say… “I already knew that, and that one…oh and that one, who doesn’t know that” …and if that is the case…perhaps closing the pie hole…turning on the television and praying for a few reruns of Magnum PI will be better for you than reading this blog……I’ll wait…..

I’ve discovered through these…almost 57 years…2 of the most important things…I have been working with…that’s correct…TWO  and only 2…but I’ll get there in a bit…

So today the world has…lost some  people…gained some people…has seen some good decisions…some bad decisions..seen some stuff that some people have said… “Hell yes”…while others have said…”You’ve got to be kidding, how’d that happen”…some people smiled more than before…while others grimmiced…like never before…some people were cured from diseases…and still others got diseases…for everything that happened today…there are those who thought it was great while others thought it was the worst…people excelled…people declined…peopled walked…people lost the ability to walk…some could see…others could not…some were…born…killed…celebrated birthdays…circumcised…beaten…lost their virginity…ate something new for the first time…fell in love…learned to hate…saw the same…defined differences…were afraid…triumphant…were constipated and had raging diarrhea…and it’s all going to happen exactly the same way tomorrow…and the following day and long past anything you will ever be…that being said…

it makes you want to say:

and the answer is…there is not a thing you or I or anyone can do about this ceespool…call me complacent…cynical…even misguided…but really….whatchu talking about….how you gonna change this…pray… march against everything….pay off your congressman…form a big Sub Chapter S corporation…sponsor a children’s beauty contest…wear argyle socks….there is nothing…nada…zip…that you or I can do about it…so my little pretties…here are the 2 most important things

El primero:

You can always get other people to believe your bullshit…almost all of the time

and Numero dos:

Never, ever believe your own bullshit any of the time

Where we are…well is where we are….we didn’t get here by accident…so if it’s the….second coming…global warming…or all of the pancakes you can eat special at Denny’s on Friday night…get your bullshit out there….get them believing it…and find a special song that means something for God’s sake….something that will get you off your ass and up….Testifying…

oh…and if you can’t figure it out…fall in love with it…..

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”

536. June 14…“Popularity is the crown of laurel which the world puts on bad art.”…thanks Oscar…

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“A Day in a Life” 2011

“The ideas dictate everything, you have to be true to that or you’re dead.” – David Lynch

Yesterday…like most Mondays…I went outdoors to paint with Ralph…but before all of that…I took my friend to the airport…dropped her off…I always wear clothes on Monday that have more paint on them than the clothes for Tuesday through Sunday…most of my clothes…have paint on them…while I was leaving early this morning….painted shorts…hat and my favorite t-shirt with the “He is able who thinks he is able” across the front…..I realized…how blessed I am…to be an artist…

Acrylic on paper 3 1/2″ x 3″

Acrylic on paper 4″ x 4″

there are many trade-offs for this life….just like there are for any life a person chooses…but I know clearly that I never wonder these days what it would be like to be a ____________(fill in the blank)…sure I think about what it would be like to be a cowboy or maybe…a television evangelist…or a lounge singer…but not much outside of that…

the Smithsonian announced today…that some video games are “Art”….I wonder how much money was spent and who decided who was going to decide what video games were now art…and how did the person saying it keep a straight face…I’m hoping he or she said it with sort of news caster voice…as if it just might have come in scalding hot on the AP wire…my guess was…a few weeks ago…some person in charge…said…”I think we should make video games art”…another guy said…”are you having trouble at home?”…”yeah, if I don’t get video games as art…things are going to get ugly…real fast”…they then played the best 3 out of five rock paper scissors…paper covers…rock…scissors cuts paper…and again paper covers rock…end of conversation and video games are now art…I’m sure it’s done like that…

I think all of these should be art:

3 x 5 cards…crumpled up aluminum foil…toilet paper rolls…spent light bulbs…decks of cards missing a few cards…certain body fluids that are not white or red…lids from tin cans…cigar wrappers…flattened out straw papers…two sided tape made into circles…paper clips linked together…any thing you can do with a pencil in less than 3 seconds…that stuff in the corner of someone’s lips…dryer lint…the plastic pull thing from half and half…the little pop up thermometer from a butterball turkey…triangle shaped things…black photo corners…anything that smells like lemons…and receipts over $18.00…from Target…

Acrylic on Paper 4″ x4″

while painting…an Asian woman came up and asked me if she could take pictures…I wasn’t sure if she meant in general or of me and my work…I had to think about my answer carefully…as not to seem to eager…bossy or reluctant to accommodate her…and saying…”No”…could very well have meant no to something I really didn’t have the power to say no to…so I said yes…

one thing I’m finding out…the more I paint outdoors…the ability to find an end is getting easier…I now know right when something is done…and no longer have a lengthy debate over the whole finished or not thing…the conversation is pretty quick…

Acrylic on paper 4″ x 4″

this painting every day is really producing some wonderful stuff…not necessarily the finished product, sure that’s a benefit on the small side…rather the more I’m painting…the more I’m finding out about my work….and realizing there is a constant dialogue that might be an echo…or somebody that sounds like me talking back…I’m having to really un-learn some habits…yet while unlearning…I’m learning a new process that with some time is going to translate into much larger work….a few of the small paintings are going to move into the 6 foot realm…and hopefully that echo…doesn’t increase in volume…painting everyday has also brought different people into my…who…paint everyday as well…they have this “in the game” air about them…and have clearly defined what is important to them…

Acrylic on paper 3 1/2″ x 3″

Acrylic on paper 4″ x 4″

and as painters…I think we tend to stand on the cliff edge…choose to learn how to balance when the winds arise…teeter left in a strong right sided breeze…and never really worry much about that long step to the north of us…that is the unknown of being an artist…and much as I don’t care for it…these days I accept only that there is a small amount of uncertainty in being an artist…just like there is being a circus juggler….or neurosurgeon…otherwise the endeavor of painting becomes a passion without a really lust for something deeper and greater within it…something that it can do…that can transform me in many other ways than dexterity…

I once owned a 1974 Fiat 850 Spider convertible…at every hard left turn…the horn bleated until it decided to stop…when I drove with the top down…my head was about 6 inches taller than the windshield…it was like riding a motorcycle without the agility…yet still the bugs…while when the top was down I was hunched in the seat…after a summer I tired of the constant different driving styles based on the top positioning…yet I drove it like an ill fitting pair of shoes but they look great…after that summer I could no longer do it….

“Popularity is the crown of laurel which the world puts on bad art. Whatever is popular is wrong.” – Oscar Wilde

534. June 6….Pearl divers can hold their breath for 3-5 minutes…Black bears can sleep for up to 100 days…Me…all I want are answers that don’t ask me to… “Ask again later”…

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

” Kind of Missed the Rapture by That Much” 2011

“I was the kid next door’s imaginary friend.” – Emo Philips

I used to frequent a bar called…”The Dutchman’s Lounge“…it was a neighborhood place run by an old drunk named Frank…he wore his pants really high…had a bright red nose from many years of drinking…it was the greatest place on the planet…to learn how to drink…shoot pool…they served a burger and fries…and pitchers of really cold beer…my best friend Diaz and I would play…”Partners…A Buck a Stick”…against the “old-timers“…usually Frank and Judd…they’d forgotten more about bar room 8 ball…then we’d ever know…you could rest your cigarette on the edge of the table..and the small round bar tables were a perfect fit…there next to the pool table…there was always something special about beating…the old-timers…it always came down to a race for the 8…the first person on the 8 ball was going to win the game…that was real all of the time…when we’d win…we’d shake hands with each other..first…then the losers…they’d want to play again…try and win their “Buck” back…we were gaining a rep…working our way up to being them…some day…

I sometimes miss those days…they were harmless…I always thought of them…as somewhere in between the lines of living…that space that said….”This is you for right now…have fun“…I knew they’d end…and everything was going to be different…real different…they did…it was…but I still cherish…them…and when I think of them…I smile…and see ourselves as young colts out in the field…bucking and kicking up dirt…full of everything…knowing nothing….

the word “Ruminate” comes from the Latin word “ruminantem” “to chew the cud” and is  defined as…”to meditate or muse; ponder”…so  maybe it’s about the process of chewing that allows pondering to developto it’s fullest…most dense area of possibilities…

to paraphrase Deepak Chopra….when we do something…whatever that something might be…that is all we should be doing…not trying to do anything along with it…just it…as that action is the singularly most important action at that moment…by spending time in that moment the action becomes a much greater experience…more satisfying and a sense of connectedness…develops…this is something I really want to be good at…but as I’m typing…I’m eating…listening to music…and of course…doing laundry…because it’s Sunday…let me clarify something quickly…I really want to be good at this…and I work on it because I have felt that wonderful feeling of immersion many times in my life and it was due to being right there doing that thing I was engaged…immersed…wholey a part of….

I feel this has both sides of a coin sort of thinking though…the idea of being immersed in everything that feels right…sounds great…yet it also sounds like a diet of chocolate covered cherries…cinnimon toast…Count Chocula….maybe….chile fritos..and cosmopolitans….in really neat glasses….but there also the other side of it all…something about anger…unhappiness..dissapointment…those also need to be fully embraced…and swam in for a little longer than a toe dipping…immerse ourselves into the dark water so we can truly enjoy…the feelings of the light that come into out lives…by immersing ourselves in the uncomfortable…we find who and what we are…what we are capable of…and what we can think of….much like having a really good cold…by previous colds we know exactly what to do to move it along….but while locked in battle with the ailment…we can only embrace…immerse ourselves in the idea of…”Being the cold“….make it part of our trajectory…for a few days…maybe even buy it something nice like a gift certificate and card that reads….”thanks for the visit, you’ve change my life once again…but I won’t miss you when you’re gone”….

I was talking with a friend of mine about painting…we were both making suggestions to the other about what action(s) would cause significant enough change in each of our styles of painting to shift the direction ….I walked away knowing that in order to make the changes in my work I wanted to see…I needed to do 4 things…1). expand the box that I work from…2). step out of that box far more often than I do…..3). become more adventurous…..applying Deepak’s thinking to this desire…began making an enormous amount of sense…that all of these suggestions will work if I immerse myself in the process of doing them rather than just doing them….spend my time..energy and focus on each of these individually until I have change the original method by embracing/immersion of  an alternate process that is just at the end of my fingertips…oh and 4). grow longer fingers….

so rest assured…I turned off the radio…stopped eating…put the laundry on hold…and finished most of this blog completely immersed and uninterrupted…as I said early…I really want to get good at this…so I’m making T-shirts to wear…so when I am right in the middle of the contorting….mockingly genuflecting….and springing back with a somewhat of a stellar olympic dismount…I’ll be wearing a wonderfully tapered…form fitting…well designed t-shirt  that reads something like “Don’t bug me…I’m Immersed“…or “I’m pissed and don’t have time to explain why I’m wearing a speedo and diving into this water that appears dark“…or…”If you’ll wait just a few moments the benefits will certainly effect you…I promise, but if you don’t…see previous t-shirt saying“…and my favorite….”I’m in a crisis that requires I submerge my entirety…heart, soul, my total being, but I will emerged like a butterfly from the cocoon, just wait and see.”

nothing I’ve ever done well…I got right from the get go… there’s that whole skill set issue…that often appears to be nothing like what it really is…and I guess that whole Taoist idea of duality makes knowing I am an “old-timer” to some a “youngster” to others very palatable…and what matters more these days is not getting to the 8 ball first…rather asking the right questions…perfecting the precise method of shaking…and just hope it doesn’t say…”ask again later“….

“Initiative comes to thems that wait.” –  “Alexander the Large”

524. May 15th…The Wilder Places…they are on the map….

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Reflection from a ‘wilder’ place” 2011

“Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves.” – Lewis Carroll

she told my parents once I put my mind to it…I’d get it…that really seemed like I was the emerging “superman”…well at least in my 6-year-old mind…so I really could be a pine tree….a helicoptor…all of those things I really wanted to be…not like the kid next to me who wanted to be a lawyer…how stupid was that…

everyone who has ever entered into my life…brushed up against it…even walked by it enough for me to notice them…either had something to say and tell me…or I had something to say or tell them…or we both had something to say and tell each other that was going to make a difference right then…shortly…later down the road…or maybe never…

but if I thought about it…it sort of makes me think of the puzzle piece…I’d like to be…you know the shape…the one that makes the corners with a two tabs or two slots…or the turtle shaped one…or my favorite the three-sided one with 3 tabs and a slot on the bottom…officially there are no given names to puzzle pieces… we have to search for them….as we see the negative shape…and often will call them by what we think their shape…should be named…I am a different piece in different puzzles…never the same puzzle never the same piece…maybe close to it…and similar enough that I could interchange  with other puzzles…just my colors might not match…well…

so this weekend while attending a retreat in the high desert…I began thinking more of all of the fits…the ones that open my world up to the bright side of things…that help me explore without thinking about where I’m going…I thought of where I am…what I am doing…how teaching has become an integral part of my life a necessary part of my life…something that has led me to a place that says…this is all very good….and exactly where I want to be…

what occurred to me while sitting on a small rock ledge…800 hundred feet above the river…was…one of my favorite quotes and what it means on days that everything is perfectly constructed….working well and has that mild electric feel…”everything is on its way to somewhere“…I thought about…how easily it is to try to make something out of what it is not…how outcome often has far more importance than the task…the adventure…and how some days are just designed the way they are…to make certain …I realize somewhere is not really the prize…rather a part of it…and when those days reveal just enough to keep me on my way…well…then…it’s all a perfect fit….

“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” – Lewis Carroll..Alice in Wonderland

454. December 11th…thinking of you today…Fast Eddie…and what you’re doing with yourself…these days…

From the MInd of the Manic

“Doctor my Eyes” 2010

“With most people disbelief in a thing is founded on a blind belief in some other thing.” – Georg C. Lichtenberg

I’ve not watched or listened to the news in over 3 months…and for that loss if you will…I feel ok about it…I have sort of become my own news caster..something I’ve always wanted to be…right along with a Mexican radio disc jockey…a Television Evangalist….and a Lounge Singer in a really bad hotel bar…off of interstate 10…

lately I’ve been reading and saying everything aloud in a news casters voice….usually ending with…”Back to you Clarrisa”….I only do this in the privacy of my own home…for obvious fears and reasons…but there is something very powerful in holding a pretend microphone…staring into a fictitious camera…standing close to some non-disastor…while reporting that the bread has just exited the toaster…and will soon be a nutritious breakfast treat the whole family can enjoy…that’s correct…whole grain bread from Costco…delicious…nutricious…afforacble and something that should be a part of everyone’s breakfast table….so that’s led me to the idea of adding another possibility of professions if and when I return to the planet via reincarnation…I’d like to be a game show announcer….

I always loved watching game shows…especially when the contestant lost but won….they maybe didn’t win the convertable…or the trip to Maui…but they won a life times supply of either Rice-a-Roni…the San Francisco Treat…or Creamettes…or Turtle Wax…and I always wanted to marry one of the women who held their arm out pointing towards the drape with the plethora of possible prizes…I mean wouldn’t it be great at a party to introduce myself….”Hi I’m Robert…this is my wife Carol Marol”….she’d wave her hand…people would stop to look at her ability to point things out….they’d know right away who she was…sort of a celebrity without all of the secrecy…not to mention the benefit for me…she could point that game show way…when we were driving as to which direction to turn…where the mens room is..all of that it would be great…the nice thing too  about being a game show announcer…is I’d be sort of invisible…it’s just my voice they’d hear…and never see me…and if they did…I could be fat and wearing headphones…because it really wouldn’t matter what I looked like….and I could probably wear a jogging suit…too….

all of these profession by way of reincarnation are exciting…to say the least…there are such huge possibilities…I don’t care what the music is…nor do I care what I might be singing…or if anybody’s getting my message…I just want some healing going on…and the game show could be anything…as long as I get to say….”Heeerrrreee’s Bob”….and I don’t really even care what name it is…there is really something about the non-celebrity celebrity status…that intrigues me…it’s kind of that whole thing like…who is the other guy in “Wham”….I don’t care who he is…and that’s my point…being something…or somebody is what we are all of the time…most of us are just missing it…

so I can see myself…sitting at a piano in a smoky bar at the Holiday Inn in Midland Texas…cigarette burning in the ashtray on top of the rental piano….hair slicked backed…lips pursed…”hey it’s great to see you out tonight….remember to tip the waitriss…she’s working hard for youhere’s an oldy but a goody by Tony Orlando and Dawn“…..that’s right put your hand on the television set…reach deep into your pocket with your other hand…that jingle is the jingle of salvation…I’m here to tell you…that sound sounds like a serious change in things is coming at you…so send us your check for 99.99 and we’ll send you some toothpicks that have been hand dipped into the Nile River….the real Nile river….in Egypt… my assistant Carol Marol…points her lovely hand to the curtain to the left….and as it opens….” That’s right it’s a Baldwin Piano…made from handcrafted cherry wood from Iceland’s most talented craftsmen  …Ivory tone keys…imitation Ebony sharps and Flats…a cushioned bench seat for hours of comfort and enjoyment….retail 6 thousand 2 hundred sixty-one dollars and forty-one cents…the Baldwin Company where Music it’s our Business“…”Thank you Clarrissa…this is Bob Wonderman live from the metroplex…and have we got some news ahead for you…stay tuned…Jill has weather…and Tiny Tom’s always here with sports as it happens…see you back here at 10:30 on channel 66 KZAG…..here’s a word from our sponsor…. “Radiorama Discotecha…equis ere oh ka X Rock 80…Escuchame…Juarez Mejico“….

these would most likely be impossible days…I mean keeping up the pace and all…maybe I’ll be reincarnated as a dog walker instead…who only works a couple of hours a day….or a window cleaner at ground level…few windows a day…that sound good…

“One of the definitions of sanity is the ability to tell real from unreal. Soon we’ll need a new definition.” – Alvin Toffler