Kevin’s wife Juli is my biggest supporter.
which was then modified for an old blog post:
recycled for THE KEVIN SERIES.
This is part of a new series I have only just realized I have been working on for days and which I shall post here as both intellectual fluff and bloggerly filler, as I slowly find my way past the crushing pain (I live with NINE herniated disks/sheer pain, daily) and back to the habitualities of blogging regularly.
This blog has been untended for some time yet I realize that with this sort of Spy vs. Spy relationship I have going on Facebook with my pal Kevin, I have created a series of artwork which should be shared with all, for Kevin says and does the craziest things.
After a grueling day spent posting about politics (which hurts my head, even to simply post that which I have observed, for posteriority) my brain needed an exorcism of sorts and so I made ART. I have a new muse, Kevin who, much like Dwight Shrute, is a farmer. Kevin is my muse. Kevin pretends to me angry about this, he rants, he raves, he threatens, and yet if I miss a day he starts baiting me which I smartishly recognize as begging for more.
And so, I present the new and ongoing series (until I become apathetic), Photoshopping Kevin. It begins with random photos stumbled upon in the interwebs and takes on a life of it’s own. So each opus shall include the before image.
I call this one, Dissecting the Projectile Photoshopping Opus Of My Muse, Kevin, With Identities Blurred.
Oh, if only the debates were this peaceful, this gentle, kind, and most of all, POLITE. Seriously, I could go on for paragraphs about manners today and the lack thereof. But I will spare you that.
This is a MUST SEE.
found at The Chawed Rosin (fabulous blog name!) by way of Susan Anton, who seems to always find hilarious and amazing things.
The truth is a battle of perceptions. people only see what they are prepared to confront.
The oddest things seem to stick in one’s memory, vignettes of sorts, funny little remembrances that seem simple, in some cases, and of a revealing or resonant nature in others. Some of my snippets of memory seem to be benign in most ways and sometimes possibly even like pointless snatches of conversational lint from days long past. Some only have meaning — by way of hypocrisy, foreboding, omenation (it stays), or revelation — as seen in Life’s figurative rear-view mirror. These are some of the bits of memorial lint I keep picking out of the navel of that which is my mind. There will later be a quiz as to the inherent meanings, or not.
All during my childhood my parents had these particularly close friends whom I will call Roy and Agnes. We prefaced their names when addressing them with Aunt and Uncle till we were old enough to use first names without being “fresh”, and though we used these familial titles we were not actually related.
Roy and Agnes lived about 2 hours away and once every few months we’d pile into the family car — at one point a yellow station wagon with contac paper-y wood paneling and a few dent-y flourishes that I was to young to appreciate as a half-formed person striving to conceal my meager life in a very wealthy town — and go for a visit.
At other times the family car was either a white or dark green late-model VW beetle into which all 5 of us would cram; me in the rectangularly-upright luggage space behind the tiny back seat because I was the smallest and also because my younger brother, “Norman” — a seemingly well-mannered yet very insecure and delicate boy — would be absolutely aghast at having to suffer the indignity of sitting “back there”, and so I always took that space so as to avoid the ever-crumpling face, which prefaced the inevitable tears. Norman also cheated, egregiously, at Monopoly, yet my older brother and I were forced to play with him anyway because of the delicacy, the crumpling and the tears, but that does not figure into this story.
Roy and Agnes were snappy, funny, edgy even, and hilarious. Roy had a little plane and once flew over our house and did flips. I think it must have been pre-planned because I happened to have all my neighborhood friends assembled and proudly fibbed that “I go up in his plane all the time, I even get to do flips!”, though I’d not have been allowed to do any such thing, not ever.
It was always nice to see them and never ever dull. They had a snappy rapport and both gave as good as they got. I idolized both of them, and would send long letters to Agnes, as a little blogger with an assortment of Aunts as my audience, for most of my life. Yet of all the fun times we had with them in various places, one sticks out; we were driving to an air museum, just Roy my father and me, and were in Roy’s huge boat of a car. It was not fancy, just huge with a long hood. Roy was being his usual hilarious self and yet his mood entirely changed when I asked why there was a small glazed ceramic flag pin stuck in the middle of his speedometer. Roy then launched into a tirade about, ” All the *&$%@ people who drive over 55″, (these were the Jimmy Carter years of gas conservation by way of “optimal speed limit”), and explained how he’d glued that pin right at the 55 mark as reminder for the what and why of the speed limit, because at least he cared about our country. I’d not ever noticed this sort of over-patriotic righteous behavior in any adult, and was somewhat shocked, as his ceaseless chastisement of all other drivers seemed unhinged, overzealous at best, though I snickered at the language and the fact that my father seemed unwilling or unable to rebuke him for it.
For the rest of the ride Roy continued to unleash a torrent of spicy indictment on every driver who passed us, punctuated with sign language and expletives while, for effect, I clutched my imaginary pearls in horror, as my father’s jaw twitched. The air museum was a bust as both adults seemed tight-lipped and so our tour was a perfunctory one, followed by an oddly quiet ride home.
Over the years I saw less and less of Roy and Agnes though I kept up my letter-writing. The replies were often brief, consisting of, “Please write more letters” (the standard, and sometimes only, reply from my chorus of letter-receiving Aunts), news of marriages and grandchildren, and commentary on the weather.
When I heard the news that Roy had died I immediately thought of that one day and the behavior I’d neither before nor after seen. I also remembered all the good times, the plane buzzing over our little house, and the laughter. Yet I noticed that my parents were unusually silent when I asked about the funeral arrangements, which seemed very odd as all I’d ever heard was how my parents, “thought the world of them”.
I pushed till I got the story; Agnes had made her daily trip to the hospital to see Roy in what would be his final hour, and had found the woman from the house next door — the house next door to the one she and Roy had shared for 50 years — at his bedside, sobbing and holding Roy’s hand.
An exercise in/of unfinished and unpolished fiction, with interspersed summary of Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis — a brilliant parody of “idealistic” middle class life from the perspective of one man’s (aka, everyman) delusional self-satisfaction arisen from self-perceptions of “superior social standing”, materialism, and delusions of grandeur as derived from comparison between oneself and others — courtesy of sparknotes.
On April 20 1920, dawn breaks over Zenith, a Midwestern town bustling with new skyscrapers, automobiles, and factories. George F. Babbitt, a 46-year-old real estate broker, reluctantly awakens from a recurring dream about his fairy girl, a slim maiden who fulfills his fantasies of being a “gallant, romantic youth.” In reality, Babbitt is a middle-aged, rather pudgy family man. His home, replete with all the modern conveniences, is located in Floral Heights, the middle-class residential section of Zenith.
Petunia was in the parking lot of her boyfriend’s office building, waiting. It was a small and nondescript one story building in a suburb well outside the big city where he evidently made a lot of money, but she had little interest in money — a taste she would never acquire — though she worked at the plush corporate headquarters of a purposely snooty worldwide women’s fashion retailer. Petunia’s responsibilities sometimes included making copies of the buyer’s sheets for clothing purchased in China and marked up, for example, from an $8 purchase price and sold through their catalogs and stores for an end price of 98$, to women of a certain self-satisfied confidence like that of the women executives at the retailer, who, according to their oddly loud conversations while in line at the cafeteria, would wear their new garments to garden parties on the expansive grounds of stately homes, or weddings in which the bride would carry pink roses and the place settings would be marked by monogrammed green golf tees. She often wondered if the green tees would ever make it to a gold course and why these women never smiled. Petunia did not aspire to this world. It did not seem like much fun. In fact, Petunia would never fail to be surprised upon encountering those who did aspire to this life, and this would become a lifelong series of such surprises from what she thought of as unlikely sources.
The morning newspaper calms his agitated nerves. He reads it aloud to Myra, but only the popular society column interests her. Babbitt grunts at the praise heaped on Charles McKelvey’s parties at his lavish home. Myra hesitantly ventures that she would like to see the inside of his home. Babbitt asserts that Myra is “a great old girl” and states that it is regrettable that he didn’t keep in touch with McKelvey after they graduated from college. Babbitt kisses her before leaving for work.
Grumbling to himself at Myra’s desire to associate with “this millionaire outfit,” Babbitt exits his home to start his beloved car. He wishes he could dispense with “the whole game.” He doesn’t mean to be irritable, but he constantly feels tired.
While waiting for her boyfriend, Fred, to exit the building, Petunia watched his co-workers parade past the car. Some seemed startled at the sight of her behind the wheel because she was definitely not Fred, yet she was in his unmistakably very bright red car, but then they kept walking.
Petunia liked her boyfriend’s sense of humor, as well as the fact that she had met him once as a child while camping in another New England state, the one he was from, which made him seem more down to earth and where he would register the red Porsche he’d be driving when they would meet again years down the road. The car she sat in now was also red, though not as expensive as the Porsche would be. This one was registered in the town he actually lived in, also outside the big city, which he shared with 2 other very aggressive salesmen. The term “salesman” made her think of Rotary Clubs, Fuller Brushes, and the novel, Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis, who also lived in that other New England state at one point.
Babbitt is first and foremost a parody of post-World War I middle-class American culture. The name of the town, Zenith, implies that Babbitt’s community views itself as the highest point of American civilization. Zenith worships the world of business: its skyscrapers, factories, and automobiles are symbols of rampant commercialism. Babbitt’s home is a miniature representation of the American middle class’s worship of material objects. It has all the modern conveniences, including an alarm clock blessed with all the latest technology.
One might think that Zenith’s gleaming, modern skyline and Babbitt’s slick, modern home imply that Zenith is indeed a wonderful, interesting place to live. However, Babbitt’s fantasy fairy girl reveals that Babbitt is dissatisfied with his life as a middle-class family man. The description of his house reveals that its sleek, modern appearance is just that–appearance. It is designed to show off the occupant’s wealth more than anything else. Lewis states that Babbitt’s house lacks the aura of a home, that it is as impersonal as a hotel room. He compares it to an ad in a magazine for “Cheerful Modern Houses for Medium Incomes,” further emphasizing Zenith’s empty commercialism. Lewis’s description of Babbitt’s house reveals the monotonous conformity of the American middle class. All of Babbitt’s modern household appliances are the “standard” possessions of his class. Babbitt’s house is simply a mass-produced, standardized symbol of middle class affluence. It is like every other prosperous middle-class house in Zenith and presumably like middle-class houses all over the country.
Petunia had the fancy red Saab because her Hyundai was in the shop, and Fred, her boyfriend of several months, had let her drop him off a work in the morning so she could drive to her own office. When she got to her office she’d not been able to get the key out of the ignition so she’d had to leave it unlocked while she ran to her desk to call his office. It turned out that Saab’s must be in reverse with the hand brake on in order to be able to remove the key. Everyone had a good laugh at that. When her boss saw the car she’d advised Petunia, “Marry that man”, but at 21 Petunia felt too young to get married.
[Babbitt’s wife’s] entire outlook on life is heavily influenced by the middle-class worship of material objects, as her argument with Ted about the family car further reveals. Like many other middle-class college graduates, she is more in love with the idea of liberalism than anything else. Ted is obsessed with nice clothing, cars, and girls like other middle-class sons. Again, Lewis emphasizes that the materialistic middle class favors appearance over substance.
Petunia “liked” liked Fred but his friends intimidated her as they were all of the aggressive salesperson type and all talk was of money and commissions. Petunia had convinced herself that Fred was different despite the book on his shelf titled, “How To Dress Rich”, which she thought somewhat hilarious, especially the part about wearing the oh-so-obvious cravat. Petunia’s dress was from the Dress Barn in the same town as her office, but she thought it looked good enough, given the compliments she’d received. It was not her size but it was cheap and flowey so she’d gotten it anyway. Fred had said he’d liked it the last time she wore it.
They’d gotten off to an odd start as weeks had passed since he’d first called her just two days after meeting her in a bar downtown and she’d had been unable to accept his offer of dinner due to firm plans to go to her hometown for her brother’s birthday. She’d then heard from Fred weeks later only because one of the friends she’d been with at the bar that night had been dating one of his co-workers and had suggested they all four go out. They laughed a lot.
Babbitt’s diatribe against Verona’s “liberal” opinions and his reaction to the morning paper clearly indicate that he has few original opinions. Rather, his entire belief system is based on the opinions of his community, often absorbed without question from the newspaper headlines. His middle-class hubris is revealed in his empty diatribe against giving the poor “notions above their class.”
A few minutes before Fred finally emerged from his office building, a woman had walked by and had made a point of staring at Petunia as she sat in the driver’s seat. The woman seemed older than Petunia by six or seven years with a somewhat dated yet preppy dressage and hair which had obviously been blown out straight and set on rollers; women still used hot rollers back then. The woman lingered longer than might be polite and Petunia had the odd feeling that her own hair and dress were somehow not acceptable to this woman. Petunia’s hair was not styled, nor straight.
When Fred, who was a year older than Petunia, had finally emerged from the nondescript one story building, he’d seemed troubled — a different person from the extremely happy guy of the night before and that very morning. Petunia made some small talk yet Fred remained distracted, troubled. Finally Petunia asked what was wrong, to which Fred replied, “Jennifer, our secretary, just said that she saw you in my car and that you “don’t look like my type.” Fred seemed disproportionately unnerved and in Petunia’s mind she saw the book on his shelf.
Years later at another downtown bar near her apartment Petunia and a friend would bump into Fred (after an embarrassingly unsuccessful attempt to escape through the back door, thwarted by a security guard), and he would regale them with stories of having been cleaned out in his divorce from a woman named Jennifer, joking that he’d gotten nothing but an unwanted ceramic owl received as a wedding gift, adding that he could not recall from whom it had been given.
When the bar closed they’d have drinks on his friend’s large boat docked nearby — named for the business scam by which it had been purchased, a scam not to be divulged yet to be hinted at repeatedly — and have non-conversations about material things. The next day they would take a ride in the bright red Porsche registered in the other New England state to save money, and when Petunia picked a long blond hair off the seat and remark that she must be shedding, Fred would laugh and say, “No, I am sure it was already in the car”, and Petunia would be glad to get home.
Petunia would remember this decades later when a friend would say, “So, Jane asked me the other day (imitating a falsetto-ish voice), “Oh, is Petunia your new best friend now?”
Although Babbitt is quick to demand that the poor stay in their assigned place, he and Myra harbor a desire to move into the elite circle of the McKelveys. Myra wants to be invited to their parties. Babbitt criticizes the McKelveys as snobbish highbrows, but it seems that his criticism is merely a means to salve his bruised ego at being excluded from their world. Lewis implies here that typical Americans, regardless of their class, are obsessed with excluding those less fortunate, as well as gaining the acceptance of those more fortunate…
…despite the pleasure he seems to take in his affluent lifestyle and its accompanying symbols, he seems rather dissatisfied. He mutters that he would like to dispense with the “whole game” as he leaves the house.
So, my pictures from this event did not turn out well, but I think the video gives an idea of the spectacular projection and music of the band. Oddly, I have not been able to get an answer from anyone I have contacted regarding the exact name of the band. But then, some times I don’t feel so… sane.
The original poster:
We have been having a series of jazz concerts in a huge parking lot behind two abandoned buildings and a single occupied one, using an old long-abandoned loading dock with weeds and etc as a stage. The result is pretty amazing as the parking lot is situated such that it is between two canals and this creates a beautiful cross breeze, helpful especially on those hot summer nights. Sometimes the BYOR crew coordinates with the jazz series but on this night we were the only people who’d brought food and wine and candles and yet somehow, due perhaps to a miraculous miracle in which the dishes we’d made had self-replicated exponentially, we were able to feed most everyone who showed up. The bottles of wine lasted throughout the evening, as did the Eggplant Parmesan from a friend’s garden — well, all but the cheese — as well as the chocolate zucchini cake, the pumpkin tarts and muffins, and the myriad other dishes.
There is something rather ethereal about tablecloths, cloth napkins, candles and flowers in a visually near-post-apocalypse setting, and the stage… well it is hard to describe just how it lends itself to the various jazz bands who have played at this unnamed venue.
At this last event the evening was the sort cool temperature bordering on cold of the sort which, following seemingly endless painfully sweltering dog days, makes wearing socks and sweaters as delicious a feeling as at the end of a long day at the beach when the sun has set and the goosebumps appear.
As I was the only person with a camera, this is the only video we have. The song which is labeled “Candy’ has been stuck in my head ever since, along with the warm feeling from sitting around the old discarded kiln we dragged out into the parking lot and used as a fire pit, and the dreams I had after a beautiful evening in the fresh air.