This is my third post in less than 24 hours regarding the damnable hearing in the U.S. Senate in which greedy, do-nothing, tax-whore Senators demonstrate their complete and utter stupidity, while projecting their greed and rapaciousness upon one of the brightest lights in a tepid, still-born economy. Can you sense my irritation?
This comes from Daniel J. Ikenson at the Cato blog.
Unlike foreign-based multinationals whose governments don’t tax their profits earned abroad (or do so very lightly), U.S multinationals are subject to double taxation—first in the foreign countries where they operate at local tax rates and then by the IRS, at up to 35 percent, when profits are brought home. Well guess what? That system discourages profit repatriation, depriving the economy of working capital, and it encourages elaborate, legal tax avoidance schemes.
Oddly, Senator Levin’s problem is not with these perverse incentives, but with the act of following them.
Senator Levin is retiring in January. If only it were possible to hold a national referendum to force Senator McCain to retire.
A report released ahead of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s inaugural Capitol Hill appearance Tuesday alleges the tech giant took advantage of numerous U.S. tax loopholes and avoided U.S. taxes on $44 billion in offshore, taxable income between 2009 and 2012
More power to them. We’ve got an out-control-government. We need to starve it to death.
Hey, Washington, let Apple and the rest of us keep our money, while you learn to make do with less. At least we did something to earn our money. What have you done lately? Oh, yeah:
You chilled the speech of conservative groups via the IRS
You spied on the phone records of reporters because they scooped you on a story you were going to take credit for
You may charge a reporter with “aiding and abetting” for asking for, and reporting information
You let Americans die in a foreign nation
And during the course of me writing this post, you wasted more money than I will make in my entire lifetime
Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting a graphic design class at my old college, Central Washington University (many thanks to professor Glen Bach for juggling a very busy Monday schedule to accommodate my visit on such short notice).
I took Boris with me. He seemed to enjoy college. It’s no wonder: The girls were much more friendly to him than they ever were to me. Here’s a photo of part of the class (I only had time for one quick shot before everyone had to rush off to an important event). Those are Glen’s arms on the left (he must have gone to a disco the night before because he still has the stamp on the back of his right hand, what a party animal!).
Future designers symbolically wave goodbye to the past, which is me.
It’s always a pleasure to walk the second floor of Randall Hall, where thirty years ago I spent many long hours trying to learn how to use gouache properly, burning (and re-burning until I got it right) serigraph screens, mixing photo chemicals, and generally trying to learn the trick of creativity. Not to mention the occasional overnighter meeting deadlines and/or sleeping off a drunk under a drafting table.
One of the surprising characteristics of our new puppy, Beorn, is his extraordinary patience. From the start, we’ve made an effort to socialize him to people, so we took him around to (willing) clients and vendors. Each time, we were surprised at how mellow he was in these strange locations. As long as we were with him, he was content to plop down and wait for us to get him moving again.
Now that he’s a little older, we’ve noticed the occasional impatience with our antics. If we stop fussing over him, in about two minutes he’ll start barking at us as if to say “Hey! Dudes! What about me? Don’t forget my needs!” But for the most part, he’s still the mellow fellow we first encountered.
This painting captures Beorn prior to such an outburst (click for a larger image).
I really like how Zak Galifianakis makes up this whole bit on Jimmy Fallon. You can see him mulling over every word as he constructs his absurdist-ory in real time. I really admire the ability to make shit up on the spot; it’s a talent I can muster only occasionally, usually after a couple drinks. Zak is a master at this sort of stuff, as are several other professional comedians (most notably, Patton Oswalt)
Anyway, it’s a funny bit and has both of them cracking up towards the end.
It’s hard going against all the authoritarian lessons instilled from an early age, but I think this video makes a good case against ever talking to the police. The tough part is actually remembering the lesson when such a situation arises.
Our concept this year for Bloomsday: Trading Cards!
Inspired by the Garbage Pail kids, these trading cards featured eight Bloomsday characters. I came up with a long list of names late last Summer as I sat outside drinking beer and making smart-ass comments. Most of the names I had to eliminate upon sobering up, but a few remained, and the Bloomsday crew added a couple of their own.
Congressional Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers asked her Facebook friends to participate in the Fifth District’s Congressional Art Competition by viewing the artwork submitted by local high-school students and voting for their favorites:
The winning artwork will be determined by the submission that receives the most “Likes,” and will be displayed in Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’ Washington, D.C. office for one calendar year. Voting runs starting now through May 18th. To vote for your favorite submission, simply click the corresponding “Like” button next to the image.
Well, this was a competition I could really get into. I love viewing young artists work, and offering encouragement and helpful criticism. So I viewed the artwork and was very impressed with much of what I saw – so much so that I couldn’t pick just one but “liked” three or four pieces, offering comments on each one.
One in particular caught my attention. It was a watercolor by Amanda Hutchins, from East Valley High School:
Amanda Hutchins’ adorable pooch!
I clicked on the “Like” button and contributed the following clumsily worded comment:
Feels like the personality of the subject is coming through in this work, which makes up for the imperfections in the draftsmanship.
I think that was a fair comment, though in retrospect a bit unclear. One can convey wonderful art without relying solely on good draftsmanship. Indeed, many artists rely on techniques other than realism to convey their message. I think Amanda gave us something more than a realistic portrayal of her pooch – she gave us a glimpse into his (her?) personality. I think that is remarkable for a high-school student artist. The work was not perfectly drawn, but that only seemed to add to it’s charm for me; it was what stood it apart from much of the other student work.
My first thought when I saw Amanda’s work was “Man! I wish I could free myself up like that.” Because its’ true that I worry far too much about my own draftsmanship when working on illustrations. Granted, in many of my pieces, a realistic portrayal is actually the point. Still, it’s fun to imagine what I could do if I were to shed my 30+ years of graphic design-instilled attention to every minor detail and really just go for it. What would I achieve?
Amanda Hutchins has done, either by accident or on purpose, what I am terrified to do. She didn’t worry; she just did it. Well done, Amanda.
A couple hours later I checked back into Facebook and found someone had commented on my comment:
Nancy Taylor challenges my artistic bona fides.
Me? A snob? What a painful thing it was to read that! Then I had a hearty laugh and sat down to compose a brief response, which goes something like this:
You may be right. Perhaps I am a snob. After all, I’m just a guy who likes to paint dogs and other things (lucky for me your comment coincides with my current portfolio update, or else those links wouldn’t go anywhere), so what the hell do I know?
There is, however, a question implied in your comment: Is the right to critique only available to those who can do better? If so, who decides?
Personally, I don’t think I’m better than Amanda. I don’t even understand what “better” means in this context. The point as an artist isn’t to be “better” than others, it is to be as good as you yourself can be. That’s the direction I take my art. Artists (or people in general) who spend their lives comparing and measuring themselves against the achievements of others are a sad, sad lot (nearly as sad as people who call others they’ve never met a snob). On the other hand, an artist content where he is eventually stagnates. We should be always striving for more, to be better, to be more creative. As part of this striving, those of us with a measure of experience often feel an obligation to offer advice and hard-won wisdom to those just starting out. I’ve done that once or twice. This ain’t my first rodeo.
I generally keep a fairly low profile, so I’m not surprised you’ve not heard of me. We snobs try not to hang out with the hoi polloi too much, you see. It tends to ruin the pleats on our socks. Can’t have that. I see that you are also Facebook friends with Ed Renouard, so perhaps you should have asked Ed for his opinion. He knows me, too. Perhaps he could have spared you this minor embarrassment.
I’m becoming disenchanted with Facebook. In theory, it’s a great idea to connect with friends; but it came as a shock when I realized my friends were just as boring as I.
Before Facebook, the number of friends I had was small, but fun to hang out with in person. With Facebook, I have a ton of friends I would prefer not to meet in person. What does this mean? It means Facebook is the water poured into the Whiskey Bottle of Friendship by the Bartender of Life: it increased the volume, but now the quality sucks.
Facebook and most social media have helped make narcissism mainstream (as if it wasn’t already). Twitter is short-form narcissism, which attempts (and fails) to make up in sheer volume what it lacks in substance. I’ve already described how I feel about Twitter, so I won’t repeat myself here.
Facebook is longer-form narcissism with stupid games and puppy photos. I’ve nothing against puppy photos. I’m all for them, actually. If Facebook was nothing but puppy photos I’d go large on it. Unfortunately, in order to get to the puppy photos, I have to wade through a swamp of self-absorbed mundanity about new shoes, recent meals, exercise and over-achieving children.
It’s not my place to ridicule the lifestyles of my friends. I’m glad you found comfortable shoes and your kid is amazing at math, but these are the data of ordinary living. It’s something we all share and it’s not as spectacular as you may think. So why not just keep it to yourself?
Our life today isn’t any more remarkable than that of our parents and grandparents, but for some reason we just won’t shut up about it.
We keep talking, saying nothing. Facebook is supposed to encourage deeper connections among friends, but in fact it seems to do the opposite. Real-life friends tell you what they think, but Facebook friends tell you what Ghandi thinks – usually by posting an image of a quote, which means they were too lazy to even type Ghandi’s words themselves. So not only are Facebook friends narcissists – they’re lazy narcissists.
There are no real conversations on Facebook. No real interaction. I’m not “connected” to Facebook friends; I’m just privy to the part of their lives they feel needs to be shared. I’m honored with the trust, but disappointed in the results.
Facebook proves we are all self-absorbed – the noisy center of our own boring universe.
There are times I feel like I’m at the top of my game – like when I finish a piece of challenging artwork. It’s nice to have a sense of satisfaction in lessons learned, and a job well done. The glow lasts a couple hours, usually. And it ends the precise moment I start looking around at what other artists have achieved and are achieving.
Because the truth of the matter is that I am still a baby illustrator; I am so far down the ladder of skill that sometimes I wonder if I have time to climb up even just a few more rungs before I keel over.
I’ve only recently (within the last three years) started focusing more on my illustration work. At fifty-one, it’s a little late to be starting a whole new career, but I’ve been lucky to have a couple clients willing to indulge my obsession. And in that time, I’ve noticed a tremendous improvement in the quality of my work. I’m nowhere near these guys, but I see enough progress to think it’s worth it to continue.
If I keep it up, staying focused and forcing myself to improve, I think I might just be able to move up a rung or two on that ladder before my time is up.