Friday, July 31, 2020

Fortune Cookie Fortunes Are Fun (It's Flashback Friday)

My cup of good fortunes runneth over.
THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED JULY 2012

Fortune cookies are fun. Who hasn't enjoyed peeling open the cellophane and cracking open this "Chinese" cookie to read their fortune. Often the little strip of paper contains words of wisdom and other times a vague prophecy or ambiguous advice. Sometime it includes a little Chinese lesson. Here's one that says "You’ll never know what you can do until you try." And on the back it has Chinese characters withe the word "Painter" on it. Evidently if I studied hard enough I could learn to read Chinese eventually. 

Here's one that was lifted from a book of Yogi Berra quotes: "The game ain’t over ‘till it’s over."

Evidently the idea of fortune cookies is not Chinese in origin and according to Wikipedia, attempts to import them to China proved futile because they were ‘too American.” Depending on your source they originated in Japan or in California. But wherever they began they a staple of American life today... in Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants everywhere. (That is, everywhere in this country.)

For some reason after reading my fortunes I keep them, thinking that I might put them to good use some day in an art project or story. I stick them in a little shot glass on my shelf. Last night I decided to type them up and share them with you. Afterward I was surprised by how many I have collected over the years. If you see a fortune you like here, you're welcome to take it. We'll call it yours.

You make people realize that there exist other beauties in the world.

You laugh now, wait till you get home.

Your high-minded principles spell success.

Your future will be happy and productive.

Always the beautiful answer who asks a beautiful question.

Teach only love for that is what you are.

You have an important new business development shaping up.

Life to you is a dashing and bold adventure.

If you do not have a plan for your life, someone else will.

This is a night for love and affection.

A way out of a financial mess is discovered as if by magic!

Your tongue is your ambassador.

You will be fortunate in everything you put your hands on.

Your smile always brightens the cloudiest day.

You find what you’re looking for; just open your eyes!

Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while.

Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to think.

You have the ability to channel your energies into constructive activities.

You will have gold pieces by the bushel.

Fear and desire – two sides of the same coin.

Many of your wishes will come true soon.

Your principles mean more to you than money or success.

Things are often the opposite of what they seem.

Often it is better not to see an insult, than to avenge it.

Long life is in store for you.

Be careful of what you wish for. You may get it.

Your heart is a place to draw true happiness.

Accept the next job offer you get.

People find it difficult to resist your persuasive manner.

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.

Action is the proper fruit of knowledge.

You display the wonderful traits of charm and courtesy.

Use your charm and personality to obtain your wishes.

A bargain is something you don’t need at a price you can’t resist.

The next few days are a lucky time for you. You can take a chance.

Go above and beyond your duty. You will benefit from it.

Your ideals are well within your reach.

Love in its essence is spiritual fire.

This instant is the only time there is.

Someone who deserves special attention awaits your magical voice.

Don’t be so critical and overly concerned about details.

You will follow a path which has a heart.

Friends long absent are coming back to you.

Good news is coming; expect good fortune.

Happiness is a state of mind.

Investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them.

Sing and rejoice, fortune is smiling on you.

Be what you wish others to become.

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.

A pleasant surprise is in store for you.

You will soon be confronted with unlimited opportunities.

By the work one knows the worker.

If you do not run your subconscious mind yourself, someone else will.

Good to begin well, better to end well.

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

You are a deep thinker with a knack for problem solving.

You will lighten another’s heart.

Rely on your own good judgment to lead you to success.

Happy events will soon take place in your home.


You can see why people like fortune cookie fortunes. Who wouldn't want a pleasant surprise or happy event after a good meal? In the meantime, have a memorable weekend.... and may you think of a creative way lighten another's heart this day.

* * * *
PostScript: I've not been to a Chinese restaurant since Covid-19. We may want to try to support our local restaurants a little if we want them to be there when this is over. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Emptiness, a poem by Charlene Groves

"Emptiness." Illustration by the author.
I met Charlene Groves at a coffeehouse sometime in late 1974, a blind writer and poet from Martinsville, New Jersey. Though I had written some stories in college--which to this day I regret having lost--I had not yet determined to pursue a career as a writer.

Charlene was roughly 30 at that time. In addition to fixing music boxes, she was a prolific writer, having produced numerous short stories and countless poems. She also had a couple novel manuscripts under her belt, in the sci-fi genre.

The first story I'd read of hers was called A New Toy. It was a heartbreaking story about an alien who had come to earth and was put in a cage by scientists to be studied, treated like an object and not a person. (EdNote: In re-reading today, the story brings to mind the story of Ota Benga, a pygmy from the African bush country who was caged in the primates wing of the Bronx Zoo early in the last century.)

In 2013 I here shared her poem The Hermit, which I later read at a poetry reading the following Spring. What I like about her writing is the authenticity of her imagery, and the manner in which her words weld themselves to deep places in our hearts.

Today Charlene lives in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Emptiness

Emptiness is rain beating a tin can.
It's having words leap forth with quick and ready flame,
While the important things go unsaid.
It's standing on a street corner somewhere,
Waiting for someone who never comes.
Emptiness is not found in being alone.
It's being lonely.
It's your thoughts growing old with rejection.
It's people not understanding when you need them most.
It's hate and indifference.
It's always being just a little short of your goal.
But mostly it's people passing each other,
Not even trying any more to be together.

* * * *

Charlene Groves isn't the first blind poet who has been influential in my life. My grandmother's great uncle was John S. Hall, the Blind Poet of Ritchie County. Her Uncle John lost his eyesight during the Civil War where he'd run away to be a teamster in Sherman's army. Five months in a Nashville hospital left him blind for life. After attending the Ohio School for the Blind he became a lawyer for a bit before founding publisher/editor of two West Virginia newspapers. His influence on my grandmother during her formative years resulted in her becoming a poet, and influencing myself in poetic appreciation.

You can read my imaginary interview with John Hall here on Medium.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A Few Thoughts While Reflecting on Dylan's Crossing the Rubicon

The only known bust known to be actually Caesar's face.
Crossing the Rubicon is an expression with ancient roots. The Rubicon is a relatively short, shallow river in northeastern Italy separating Gaul from Rome. It flows East into the Adriatic Sea. The expression stems from a significant moment in history. Julius Caesar had been governor of Gaul, the territory North of the Italy's boot, and North of the Rubicon. When his governorship ended the Roman Senate ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome.

Julius Caesar chose instead to head South with his army intact. When he arrived at the Rubicon, he had two choices: change his mind or press on. Crossing the Rubicon, both a literal and a symbolic act, was considered a point of no return, an act of war against Pompey and the Roman Senate. The incident was recorded in Plutarch's Lives: Julius Caesar (published in 110 A.D.)

Plutarch's Lives was used as primary source material for Shakespeare, and in recent years we've seen no shortage of references citing Shakespeare and Dylan in the same breath. Plutarch covers a number of early Roman kings, shining a light more on their character as much as their historical actions. The crossing of the Rubicon occurred in January of 49 BC leading to a civil war and setting in motion a series of events that led to the end of the Roman Senate form of government and the beginning of the Roman Empire.

[EdNote: The name Rubicon has been adopted as a brand of Jeep (Jeep Wrangler Rubicon) implying power, durability, risk taking and decisiveness.]

* * * *
Yet another intriguing album cover concept.
Crossing the Rubicon is the 8th track on Dylan's recently released Rough And Rowdy Ways. People ask me what I think and I have to say I like it. I can tell because I keep playing it.

This song opens with "I crossed the Rubicon on the 14th day of the most dangerous month of the year." First question: Is Dylan using the expression as an expression, or is he writing as the personification of Caesar, crossing into Italy?

The second line amplifies the first. Not only is it a dangerous month, but the worst time and the worst place, according to what people are telling him. He doesn't acknowledge that these things are true. That just seems to be the consensus, which he's clearly disregarding, because he's pressing forward, he's crossed the Rubicon.

In the third line he greets the Goddess of the Dawn, then proceeds.  
After describing the river and the rituals preceding his next move he turns introspective. What's the meaning of these dark days, these crazy times. And how should I use the time that I have left? How close are we to the end and I to my own? This Apocalyptic theme threads through much of Dylan's writing all the way back to Hard Rain.

In the fourth liine he says he's going to paint his wagon and cross the Rubicon. What does this mean? "Paint the wagon" is an expression that means take action, time to finish the deal, get it done. And with that he crosses the point of no return, let the chips fall where they may.

This is what leaders do. This is what visionaries do. They take action. They are decisive.

So it's interesting to remove the first three lines of each stanza and read all the Rubicon lines in a row. Every one of them is an action line. Nothing here is passive.

I painted my wagon - I abandoned all hope and I crossed the Rubicon
I prayed to the cross and I kissed the girls and I crossed the Rubicon
I embraced my love put down my head and I crossed the Rubicon
I pawned my watch and I paid my debts and I crossed the Rubicon
I poured the cup and I passed it along and I crossed the Rubicon
I stood between heaven and earth and I crossed the Rubicon
I strapped my belt and buttoned my coat and I crossed the Rubicon
I turned the key and I broke it off and I crossed the Rubicon
I lit the torch and I looked to the east and I crossed the Rubicon

* * * *
I usually like to do my own dissecting before reading everyone else's interpretations, and this is how far I will take it. Like many Dylan songs he takes an idea and wraps a lot of text around it. (cf. Things Have Changed). And like a lot of his songs they seem to emerge in that stream of consciousness style, which he most likely meticulously fine tunes "in the editing booth."

* * * *
I feel a need to comment on the bluesy music track and the repeating rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat duh-duh-du guitar accompaniment at the beginning of each new verse. I don't know it's origins in the blues world, but for me it brought to mind Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton's "Spoonful," live at the Fillmore as preserved on Wheels of Fire. In Dylan's case the music track is laid back, a drawling crawl with the percussive repeat adding a bit of emphasis to the lyrics. With Clapton and Bruce the repeat-theme is a laconic, easy-going clackety-clack of a roller coaster ascension to the highest point before a leap off the ledge in a thrill-ride instrumental that's as good as it gets. (You can listen to it here.)

Another song came to mind as I listened to this one several times, "Cry A While" from Love and Theft. Perhaps it was the manner in which the summary line for each verse had a similar rhythmic progression, or maybe it was something else, so I went and pulled it off the shelf (the live versions on YouTube don't really do it) and sure enough there's that feel, and as he sings, "I cried for you--now it's your turn to cry a while" you also have a light-touch version of that rat-tat-tat-ta etc., though far more subdued.

* * * *
After gleaning my own impressions of the song I. did check out some other comments and saw that one site suggested that the reference to the "14th day" might relate to the day preceding the Ideas of March, of which Julius Caesar was warned in Shakespeare's play. Since his death took place five years after this historical crossing, and his crossing the Rubicon was actually in January, it would be something of a time compression that you wouldn't ordinarily expect.

For what it's worth, you can give it a listen and then read the lyrics below.




Crossing the Rubicon

I crossed the Rubicon on the 14th day of the most dangerous month of the year
At the worst time at the worst place - that’s all I seem to hear
I got up early so I could greet the Goddess of the Dawn
I painted my wagon - I abandoned all hope and I crossed the Rubicon

The Rubicon is the Red River, going gently as she flows
Redder then your ruby lips and the blood that flows from the rose
Three miles north of purgatory - one step from the great beyond
I prayed to the cross and I kissed the girls and I crossed the Rubicon

What are these dark days I see in this world so badly bent
How can I redeem the time - the time so idly spent
How much longer can it last - how long can this go on
I embraced my love put down my head and I crossed the Rubicon

I feel the bones beneath my skin and they’re tremblin’ with rage
I’ll make your wife a widow - you’ll never see old age
Show me one good man in sight that the sun shines down upon
I pawned my watch and I paid my debts and I crossed the Rubicon

Put my heart upon the hill where some happiness I’ll find
If I survive then let me love - let the hour be mine
Take the high road - take the low, take the one you’re on
I poured the cup and I passed it along and I crossed the Rubicon

You defiled the most lovely flower in all of womanhood
Others can be tolerant - others can be good
I’ll cut you up with a crooked knife and I’ll miss you when you’re gone
I stood between heaven and earth and I crossed the Rubicon

You won’t find any happiness here - no happiness or joy
Go back to the gutter and try your luck - find you some nice young pretty boy
Tell me how many men I need and who I can count upon
I strapped my belt and buttoned my coat and I crossed the Rubicon

I feel the Holy Spirit inside and see the light that freedom gives
I believe it’s within the reach of every man who lives
Keep as far away as possible - it’s darkest ‘fore the dawn
I turned the key and I broke it off and I crossed the Rubicon

Mona Baby, are you still in my mind - I truly believe that you are
Couldn’t be anybody else but you who’s come with me this far
The killing frost is on the ground and the autumn leaves are gone
I lit the torch and I looked to the east and I crossed the Rubicon
Copyright © 2020 by Special Rider Music



* * * *

Have you been enjoying Rough And Rowdy Ways

Monday, July 27, 2020

Behavior Modification as Illustrated by The Truman Show

"We've become bored with watching actors give us phony emotions. We're tired of pyrotechnics and special effects. While the world he inhabits is, in some respects, counterfeit, there's nothing fake about Truman himself. No scripts. No cue cards. It isn't always Shakespeare but it's genuine."
--Ed Harris as Christof, The Truman Show

THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS SPOILERS

The Truman Show has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it. Released in 1998, it won numerous awards for its original screenplay, perfect pitch acting and fabulous soundtrack, much of it scored by Philip Glass.

The concept is simply this. Truman Burbank has from birth been the central character of a 24/7 live reality show. The city of Seahaven where he grows up and now lives is essentially a simulated reality, a massive Hollywood set in which everyone except he himself is an actor. The show generates its revenue by product placement with all products available for purchase via the Truman Catalog. ("Operators are standing by.")

The show's creator and director is Christof, played by Ed Harris. Truman, the first child legally adopted by a corporation, is played by Jim Carrey.

* * * *
The film raises numerous issues. For example, is turning a human life into a character on a TV show even ethical? On another level, Truman's whole life has been shaped by the director and the artificial world he lives in, what he reads in the artificial newspapers, hears on the fake radio station, sees on the fake television programming. He has no real sense of what the world is like or what life is like. He is in the happiest city on earth. What it actually is is a massive studio set, so large it is visible from the moon as a dome.

After a brief setup, the movie we're watching begins when Truman is married, a somewhat happy young adult with a desk job. Three minutes into the film a studio light falls "from the sky" and shatters on the street 50 feet from where Truman is walking. It's bizarre and he is confused. What was it? Where did it come from?

The next day's newspaper interprets the event for him. It fell off a plane.

At 5:45 into the movie the newspaper headline reads: "Seahaven Voted Planet's Top Town."

Every person in his life is playing a role, including his best friend Marlon.

Add caption
Truman: Don't you ever get itchy feet?
Marlon: Where is there to go?

In another scene Truman is down by on a beach by the waterfront and a shower begins, but it is only ten feet wide, and misses him. Then it moves to where he is standing, but still very narrow. A thunderclap triggers a full-scale heavy rain, but it's clearly a technical glitch that hasn't escaped Truman's notice. He just doesn't yet know how to interpret it.

The return of his father creates another complication for the show's director. Truman's dad had supposedly died, eliminating him from the script. Television does this all the time when an actor becomes a problem. But in this story his father sneaks onto the set and Truman sees him before he's whisked away, and the media explains this incident away.

If you watch enough movies you know that at 27-29 minutes into a film there will be a major plot pivot and it's no different here. First, there is a bit of backstory on how Truman fell in love with an extra named Sylvia, but was manipulated to marry Meryl. After this yet another glitch occurs--the radio in his car accidentally gets jarred to a station in which a set director is telling all the other players where Truman is at the moment.

In light of all the other anomalies, Truman is thrust into a personal existential crisis. What is going on? He begins to pay closer attention to the people around him and begins to question the authenticity of what he's seeing.

* * * *
Mastermind Ed Harris (center) flanked by assistant Paul Giamatti.
So, what do you think about the present state of our country? Are you paying attention? It seems like more and more people are questioning the narrative we're being fed through our media about so many things. 

Every aspect of Truman's world was designed to manipulate his thinking. He wants to go to Fiji, but the poster on the wall in the travel agency is of a plane being struck by lightning. "It could happen to you!"

* * * *
Later in the film Christof is being interviewed by a journalist who asks. "Why hasn't Truman has never come close to discovering the true nature of his world until now?"

Christof: We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented. It's as simple as that."

* * * *
Truman confides to Marlon. "I think I'm being followed."
After the car radio incident, Truman seeks out his best friend Marlon, who makes a living stocking vending machines.

Truman: I think I'm being followed.
Marlon: Who?
Truman: It's hard to tell. They look just like regular people.

A little further on we see the two buddies since childhood out on the end of the dock where they sometimes hang out.

Marlon: I mean, think about it, Truman. If everybody is in on it, I'd have to be in on it, too.
[pause]
Marlon: I'm not in on it, Truman, because... there is no 'it'.

Marlon, you lied! There are so many great lines in the film. I like this pair as well:

Truman: Maybe I'm losing my mind. It feels like the whole world revolves around me.
Marlon: That's a lot of world for one man, Truman.

* * * *
There's still another way to look at this film, as a story of spiritual awakening. In Eastern religions there is a concept called "Maya" or illusion. All this world is itself an illusion, a veil that conceals the real.

The Incredible String Band once had a song about Maya with a chorus that went like this: "Maya, Maya. All the world is but and play and I am but a player." Sounds a lot like the Truman show.

In another ISB song the chorus becomes a cheerful proclamation, "Farewell darkness, Praise God the open door, I ain't gonna live in this world any more."

This is the choice Truman makes, once he has seen the light. And I couldn't help but think of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" as Truman ascended those stairs in the final scene.

He realized the limits of his power
when Truman went off script.
* * * *
In that final scene Christof makes himself known to Truman for the first time. This dialogue exchange takes place just before Truman's final exit.

Truman: Who are you?
Christof: I am the creator of a television show that gives hope and joy and inspiration to millions.
Truman: Then who am I?
Christof: You're the star.

Truman chooses to take a bow and bow out. He's lost interest in being part of someone else's game, tired of being manipulated for someone else's purposes.

* * * *
On a final note, the soundtrack is superb, much of it produced by the mastery of Philip Glass. This last comment is an anti-climax, but had to be underscored. So powerful, so inspired, so rich, so perfect throughout.

Related Link
He Who Controls the Narrative Controls the People

Sunday, July 26, 2020

What Would You Say to Your Younger Self if You Could? (When Youth and Age Converge.)

Variations on a Theme: Two Short Stories

THE OTHER
Photo by Mark Timberlake on Unsplash
One of my favorite stories by Jorge Luis Borges is called The Other. (Really, Borges for me is like Dylan. The "favorites" list is very, very, very long, and The Other happens to be one of many on the list.) In this story, the author sits on a park bench upon which a younger man is seated further down. He suddenly has a premonition that this younger man is he himself and manages to confirm this as they begin to dialogue.

Borges frequently creates impossible scenarios and writes about them as if they could have really happened. Several of my own stories were germinated in this manner including Two Acts That Saved the World and The Empty Space, both of which are included in my volume of short stories titled Unremembered Histories: Six Stories with a Supernatural Twist.

So, what would you say to your younger self if you were able to do so?

Unfortunately, you only go around once in life, and I am certain that I could have prevented a lot of pain had I been able to clunk that younger self on the side of the head with a two-by-four a few times. As I reflect on my life, there are quite a few instances of stupid and careless decisions.

A PIECE OF STEAK
Once upon a time short story writers could make very good money. In the days before movie theaters and television, magazines like The Saturday Evening Post offered some of the best entertainment around. These publications paid well to feature marquis writers on their covers.

A century ago the highest paid of these scribes was, for a period of time, a writer named Jack London. London was no artsy fartsy powderpuff sitting on hillsides waiting for inspiration to strike. For Jack London writing was a craft and a discipline. Day in, day out he slammed out one thousand words of prose. By the time his life was cut short at age forty, his output had been immense – as many as fifty volumes of stories, novels, plays and essays.

This story made a major impression on me when I first read it perhaps 36 or 38 years ago. I've written about it a few times since then, one of them being this 2011 blog post about the story.

What I wanted to focus on here, though, was the manner in which Tom King, the battle weary veteran boxer, recalls his own life while fighting a an up and comer from New Zealand named Sandel. London does a masterful job of painting the picture of youth vs. age, simultaneously placing Tom King's older, wiser self side by side with his own youthful, exuberant self.

I won't give away the ending, but t packs a punch. Pun intended.

* * * *
I'm curious, when you look back on your own life, what do you see? Have you ever wished you could played some of those scenes differently? What advice would you be giving your younger self if you'd had the opportunity?

Here are links to the two stories. Above is the link to my review of the latter. Dig in.

Links to these two rewarding reads:
The Other
A Piece of Steak

Friday, July 24, 2020

Flashback Friday: Carlton Bike Rental Prepares for Ribbon Cutting with Congressman Oberstar

10 Years Ago Today

One of my early peach freelance writing assignments was in 1988, two years after moving to Duluth here in the Northland. I received a call from the Twin Cities asking if I'd be interested in interviewing the two candidates vying for Congress from the 8th District. The 5,000 word piece would appear in a magazine called People & Politics that aimed at serving as a voter's guide.

That was my first meeting with Congressman Jim Oberstar, son of an iron ore miner raised in Chisholm, a few miles from the largest strip mine in the world. At the time, "Jim" had been representing the district for seven terms. I concluded my article by stating that he would remain in Congress for as long as he wanted to, and now that he is in his eighteenth term it would appear that my prescience was well founded.

This weekend is Carlton Daze and Congressman Oberstar has scheduled a visit to this year's festival. One stop this morning will be Carlton Bike Rental & Repair, a new business in town situated at the hub of three major biking trails. In addition to the bike rental business, founder Joelene Steffens has a bit of a passion for the arts, operating a framing business called Art Dimensions. Many of my own paintings have been framed by Joelene, with wonderful results. Some of them can be seen on the walls of Carlton Bike Rental, along with photography and works by other local artists.

Joelene is also a nostalgia buff, and seeing as Carlton is located along the railroad tracks and has a history for being home to hobo camps during the Great Depression, she has called her composite businesses Hobo Junction, now replete with gazebo and an invitation to the public to make themselves at home here.

In 1988 Congressman Oberstar said to me, "My father told me when I graduated from high school, 'You have two choices. You can work in the mines, or go to college to create for yourself a better life... And it better be one that helps other people.'" With this advice tucked away in his heart young Jim did indeed choose college, attending St. Thomas in the Twin Cities. But his life aim at the time was not a career in politics. He said he first wanted to be a missionary, and if remember correctly he went to Haiti for a short time after graduation. But his ultimate life direction was altered, he said, quoting Robert Louis Stevenson who said, "The greatest adventures in life are those we do not go forth to seek."

Being a pro-life Democrat has made him something of an anomaly within his political party, but as a child of the Iron Range his pro-labor values make him a candidate hard to unseat up here with its working class roots. His years of service in Congress have resulted in the quiet accumulation of influence, especially as chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, a role that enables him to keep a close watch on legislation that affects Great Lakes shipping and the steel industry.

But he also serves on a number of other committees, and one of them is the Bike Caucus, which is undoubtedly the reason he is heading to Carlton today.  

He also likes reading and in 1988 when I asked who his favorite authors were, he said C.S. Lewis and Henri Nouwen. If I get a chance I'll try to ask him again today who his favorite authors are.

* * * *
July 24, 2020
EdNote: The late Congressman Oberstar passed away in May 2014.

Life is Like Riding a Bicycle was the theme of our Toastmasters meeting last  night. Do you remember your first bike? Did your bike have training wheels? What color was it? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments.
Learn more about Carlton Bike Rental & Repair at CarltonBikeRental.com

Thursday, July 23, 2020

More Thoughts on Murder Most Foul: Most Foul Indeed

Zürich. I shall never forget, President Kennedy was assassinated, the pain we felt for America and the bewilderment and disillusionment experienced by the many former soldiers in World War II and former inmates in Soviet camps in prison. The failure of the US judicial authorities to uncover the real assassins of Kennedy was all the worse because of the inability or the lack of desire by the American judicial authorities to uncover the assassins and clear up the crime.. 

We had the feeling that powerful, openhanded and generous America, so boundlessly partial to freedom, had been smeared in the face with dirt, and the feeling persisted. Something more than respect was shaken--it was our faith.
--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

So begins an essay on Henry Kissinger in a book of Solzhenitsyn's selected writings titled World Communism: A Critical Review. That's quite a quote when you consider the Nobel laureate who said it.

How interesting that I stumbled upon this passage (above) while listening to Dylan's latest album Rough And Rowdy Ways, which culminates in the explosive epic 17-minute lament "Murder Most Foul."

It takes but a glance to see what this song is about. The photo of JFK fills the back panel of RARW, with the Old English lettering Murder Most Foul beneath. The lyrics begin with a matter-of-fact alliteration: "It was a dark day in Dallas, November 1963"

So much has been written about the assassination that you'd think it difficult to add anything, yet Dylan adds much, in the manner only Dylan can. Really. Assemble a thousand songwriters with a thousand typewriters for a thousand days and how many would have come up with something like "Murder Most Foul"?

Being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb
He said, "Wait a minute, boys, you know who I am?"
   (I automatically hear in my mind, "Wait a minute boys, this one's not dead" from Hurricane.)
"Of course we do, we know who you are"
Then they blew off his head while he was still in the car
* * * *
Now here's an interesting aside. While editing this I have been listening to Murder Most Foul on YouTube and as YouTube usually does, they follow up with related videos. After two or three cuts from RARW the next song in the playlist is Hurricane. What are the odds that this is a coincidence?

* * * *
Earlier this week I came across Eyold Østrem's "Murder Most Foul (2020) – An American Litany" at Expecting Rain and was wholly into it, an excellent breakdown on this song. Østrem first breaks down the song's structure, provides a musical analysis of the verses in order to set up the discussion of the lyrics.

In the first “great verse” Dylan sets down the historical framework, the storyteller holding the microphone, like a news commentator.

In the second verse, writes Østrem, "The narrator has put on a different hat: it is no longer the storyteller speaking, but the tutor, the 'wise old owl' who observes the events cooly and communicates to us children what he sees, in short sentences, clichés, commands."

Hard to believe that it's already nearly four months's since the song went viral on Twitter in late March. That Friday morning I listened to it three times before doing anything else that day and it was the second verse that said "listen up" from the very first time I listened. The middle of this verse hit me with graphic force on a couple levels. First the visual, which all who have seen the Zapruder film will agree was disturbing enough. Second, the comparison to a great magic trick.

This is where the Solzhenitsyn quote comes to mind. I still remember the first magic show I attended. "How did he do that?" is what a child's mind will ask. Solzhenitsyn raises the question, "Why this lack of desire, lack of curiosity to know how they did it?"

The day they blew out the brains of the king
Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing
It happened so quickly, so quick, by surprise
Right there in front of everyone's eyes
Greatest magic trick ever under the sun
Perfectly executed, skillfully done

"Play it for Houdini spinning around in his grave."
I've mentioned it before that Dylan was a great fan of magic, especially the masterful magician and showman Harry Houdini. When Dylan was asked what historical moment he'd like to go back and see he replied that he'd like to have been there when Houdini was shackled, chained, trussed, nailed into a box and thrown into the East River off Governor’s Island.

The song is so dense that one can easily miss many of its features, but Østrem places a spotlight on this unique aspect of the Dylan account of the assassination.

"The third 'great verse' is mindblowing, both metaphorically and literally," Østrem writes. "We are inside the head of the President while it is being blown to pieces – a unique insider perspective from a dying man, and we witness his surprised hallucinations while he observes his own death, partly as a very close observer ('Ridin’ in the back seat next to my wife, … leaning to the left, I got my head in her lap'), partly as a detached soul, hovering over the scene, following the events depicted in the Zapruder film closely, before leaving it at 2:38 when the president’s dead and Johnson is sworn in."

There are songs and movies in which the impact is strong at first, but diminishes after time. I think that is the difference between good and great. Dylan's Nobel Prize was no fluke. The more you listen to this incredibly painful reminiscence, the deeper it penetrates the deep places in your soul.

Tommy, can you hear me? I'm the Acid Queen
I'm riding in a long, black Lincoln limousine
Ridin' in the back seat next to my wife 
Headed straight on in to the afterlife
I'm leaning to the left, I got my head in her lap
Hold on, I've been led into some kind of a trap
Where we ask no quarter, and no quarter do we give
We're right down the street, from the street where you live
They mutilated his body and they took out his brain

This song is no joke, even when he says rub-a-dub-dub. Just as the album begins with "I Contain Multitudes" so does this song contain an incredible multitude of references that will reverberate beyond whatever you think you understand. Just as a garden of perennials continues to produce riches year after year, so will this song as does the rest of the Dylan catalogue.

* * * *
If I manage to get you to listen more attentively to "Murder Most Foul" and read Eyolf Østrem's Murder Most Foul (2020) – An American Litany, then I've accomplished my purpose here. You can find my first response in March here: Dylan Dishes Up A New Meal with a Feast of References: Murder Most Foul.

Dylan's brilliance has never been simply the writing, but the entire experience, the evocative manner in which we encounter him through his delivery and the supporting musical accompaniment.

* * * *
For what it's worth, if you are Dylan fan and don't own Rough and Rowdy Ways, what are you waiting for? I'm serious. Like nearly every Dylan album I've every owned the more you listen, the more you appreciate everything you find here.

* * * *
You can find the complete lyrics for this song at www.bobdylan.com/songs/murder-most-foul/

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Solzhenitsyn Re-Affirms My Low Opinion of Henry Kissinger

My low regard for Henry Kissinger began when I was waking up to what was happening in the world in my later youth. Kissinger was an insider in the Nixon White House, end of story. I was biased, no doubt influenced by a strong feeling that Vietnam was an injustice, and that Nixon corruption was real.

Still, I knew little of the depth of Kissinger's badness. The movie Missing--Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek--gives a glimpse of the dark side of our State Department in Central and South America during the 50s and 60s. Kissinger was a major player in the Chile debacle.

Years later, reading Sy Hersh's autobiography Reporter added new dimensions to the kind of malodorous influence Kissinger was. The press seemed to love him, seduced perhaps by his sonorous accent. Yes, he projected something, much like our fascination with British accents and Irish brogue.

The manner in which Hersh was ambushed by Ted Koppel when his book on Kissinger, was released is eye-opening. The establishment, and mainstream media, still loved the guy, decades after the Nixon-Ford era. It's pretty revealing that neither Koppel nor either of the guests who lacerated Hersh in front of a national audience had read Hersh's The Price of Power, the topic of discussion. Hersh had dared to criticize this iconic figure and had to be publicly flogged for it.

More recently I found myself absorbed by Paul Thomas Chamberlin's The Cold War's Killing Fields and who should come up again repeatedly as a scoundrel? Yes, Henry K. When Bangladesh was suffering after a devastating cyclone, and West Pakistan did nothing, Kissinger advised that Nixon and the U.S. do nothing to alleviate the suffering because it would "make the Pakistan government look bad."

And because their government did nothing to help the traumatized East Pakistanis after the monsoons and flooding that caused so much death and destruction, the East Pakistani people voted for the opposition party in nearly every voting district. This pissed off the ruling party, so they sent in the army and slaughtered the masses using U.S. supplied armaments. Millions fled to India.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Kissinger's response to the behavior of West Pakistan toward its Bengali brethren.

Kissinger sneered at people who "bleed" for "the dying Bengalis" and ignored the first telegram from the United States consul general in East Pakistan, Archer K. Blood, and 20 members of his staff, which informed the US that their allies West Pakistan were undertaking, in Blood's words, "a selective genocide" targeting the Bengali intelligentsia, supporters of independence for East Pakistan, and the Hindu minority. In the second, more famous, Blood Telegram the word genocide was again used to describe the events, and further that with its continuing support for West Pakistan the US government had "evidenced [...] moral bankruptcy".

Makes one ill to think about it, but Kissinger was the influencer who again moved the hand of power.

* * * *
And so... As I was last night reading the Writings of Aleksandr Solzenitsyn, edited by Michael Loyd Chadwick, and once again came across some barb comments regarding this man. A chapter titled Henry Kissinger begins on page 75. It's not pretty, and only confirms what I have previously only sensed.

The style of this book is somewhat different. Solzhenitsyn divides each thought into a headline and then a little text, like a news story with more details. I am going to share here only the headlines from this four page article.

Failure of U.S. Judicial Authorities to Uncover the Real Assassins of Kennedy*
Need to Speak Bluntly about the Activities of Kissinger
Kissinger's Policy of Unending Concessions to World Communism Demonstrate THat He Is Anything But a Diplomat
Kissinger Attempts to Put Diplomacy at Its Lowest Level
The Art of Diplomacy Has a Wide Spectrum of Possibilities
The Great Diplomats of the Past
Kissinger's Endless Obscuring of Facts
Kissinger's Opponents Are Always Winning and He Is Always Yielding
Should the U.S. Surrender Its Position to the World?
Kissinger Does Not Possess the High Diplomatic Intellect Ascribed to Him
It Is Not Diplomacy to Negotiate Continual Concessions
The Vietnam Peace Agreement Prepared the Way for the Quiet Surrender of Three Countries in Indo-China
Kissinger's Nobel Peace Prize Was the Ultimate in Political Pornography
Disregard By Israeli Leaders of Kissinger's Shuttle Diplomacy in the Middle East
The Real Goal of Future Convergence of the U.S with the USSR Is Kept Hidden from the American People
Surrender of the West Approaches an Avalanche Stage
The U.S. Government Will have No Emergency Exit
Genocide In Cambodia And Vietnamese Prison Camps Is Not Peace
The Peace Aimed At by Kissinger and His Associates Has No Moral Loftiness

In short, Solzhenitsyn had a pretty low opinion of this "Golden Boy" who loved the spotlight in his time, and the Nobel laureate doesn't mince words.

* * * *
The title of this book of Solzhenitsyn's writing is World Communism: A Critical Review. It begins with an intro by Michael Loyd Chadwick, who edited this volume.

In 1975, a year after Solzhenitsyn had been exiled from the Soviet Union, the author had been invited to Washington D.C. to speak to the AFL-CIO. The became a grave problem for then sitting president Gerald Ford. Shouldn't this great advocate for freedom be invited to the White House? Should we not welcome the man who put his life on the line to reveal to all the cold brutality of Soviet totalitarianism?

But no, Henry Kissinger stepped in and beseeched President Ford to not do such a thing. Why? Because befriending Solzhenitsyn would be bad for detente, and evidently Detente was Kissinger's life force.

Not only did Kissinger interfere with (ultimately blocking) the White House visit, he also said it would be "diplomatically inadvisable" for the president to attend the banquet at which Solhenitsyn was speaking. Members of the State Department and NSC whom had been invited were quietly pulled away and did not attend either.

Much more can be said, but I think you get the picture. It's only a small section of the book but when I entered into it, the story leaped off the page.

Related Links
George Harrison & Friends: The 1971 Concert for Bangladesh 
Reporter by Seymour Hersh is a Must Read for all young journalists
*Murder Most Foul: Dylan Dishes Up a New Meal with a Feast of References
Solzhenitsyn Indictment of the West Still Stands

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

60 Years of Duluth History by the Numbers

Photo courtesy: Tony Webster of California. Creative Commons.
We moved to Duluth in 1986. It was a low point here. To give you an idea of how scarce the jobs were, the front page of the local paper said that 13,000 people applied for 100 jobs at the new paper mill being built in West Duluth.

The recession that struck at the beginning of the decade had still not yet lifted here in the Northland. I was looking for a writing job and persuaded myself that I had an excellent chance of finding one because (a) anyone with talent had either found work or gone to Minneapolis to find work. Therefore (b) I was competing against people with less talent. 

I showed my portfolio of published writings to two and three people a day for two months, to any and all businesses and agencies that might have writers or need writers. As a result, I got to know the situation here pretty well. People confided that there was big money coming in and the empty warehouses and abandoned buildings in Canal Park were going to disappear. A whole new Canal Park was coming.

My mental image of Duluth was defined by the population stats. At one time there were 126,000 people living here. In the 1990 census, Duluth had a population of just over 85,000. That number was down more than 7000 from 1980. Somewhere in there someone put up a billboard that read, "Last one out please turn off the lights."

Since 2000 the city population has been fairly stable at 86,000 and change. Of these 12 to 13,000 are over 65 (including me now.) The median age is 33.8 with slightly more females than males (according to the city statistics I have access to.)

The biggest surprise for me, however, had to do with how recently the population had been much higher. In 1960 it was 106,884, falling to 100,578 in 1970. And if you dig a little deeper the reason becomes quite apparent, because there were 34,491 households in 1960 and 34,646 household in 1990. That means the primary drop wasn't so such much people leaving as having smaller families or "household units."

Today we have over 36,000 households, but the population is close to unchanged.

* * * *

New Duluth flag, 2019.
When Duluth was at its height it was a blue collar town. West Duluth had high paying jobs in places like Clyde Iron and Diamond Tool. U.S. Steel had a plant in Morgan Park and as long as the ore flowed from the Iron Range things were good.

But nothing stays the same forever. Things change. Today, not only are those higher paying jobs significantly diminished, the Tourism Industry that replaced those jobs has been the victim of a Covid-driven bloodbath. The hotel and restaurant trades have been nearly disabled, and from what I recall having heard was that the city could face a 25 million dollar shortfall this year.

* * * *

The vision of the future outlined in Imagine Duluth 2035, adopted by the City Council in 2018, was launched with a new city flag and the dream of being a role model for cities across the country. In theory it's all very nice. This year's economic setback notwithstanding, the future awaits.

At the end of the day, the vision is noble, and hopeful. The only thing I see missing are signs as you enter the city from North, South, East and West saying, "Welcome to Duluth, Birthplace of Bob Dylan."

Meantime, life goes on. Stay safe, and wash your hands.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Mergers: Ring Them Bells Blends Nicely with Dylan's Shooting Star

Photo by Nick Owuor courtesy Unsplash
On Saturday my mother, whom I call each Saturday morning, mentioned that there is a comet visible in the night sky right now. She didn't recall the name but Google has answers for everything, and it is called Neowise, after the telescope that first sighted it. It is the largest comet since Hale-Bopp, located beneath the Big Dipper in the North sky.

Saturday evening we had thunderstorms and you can't see comets through the clouds. Last night at 2:00 a.m., however, the clarity was spectacular.

We live on a rural patch outside Duluth with no light pollution to fog up the night sky. Unfortunately, with the current tilt of the earth, theBig Dipper is lying in the treetops. I walked out to the road, which runs North-South, and found the famous constellation still too low on the horizon.

As I headed back to the house I saw a shooting star, and yes, it made me think of someone. And naturally, that flying spark across the sky brought this song to mind.

Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of you
You were trying to break into another world
A world I never knew
I always kind of wondered
If you ever made it through
Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of you

* * * *

Well, what happened next was quite intriguing. As I began singing Shooting Star in my head, I simultaneously began hearing Ring Them Bells.

Remember when we were children learning to sing parts and rounds? "Row row row your boat" was my first introduction to the concept of different tunes and words blending harmoniously. "Merrily merrily merrily merrily" life was such a dream.

So in the middle of the night I began composing, or re-shuffling, the two songs into one.

Ring them bells ye heathen from the city that dreams
Seen a shooting star tonight and I thought of you
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries cross the valleys and streams
You were trying to break into another world a world I never knew
For they're deep and they're wide and the world is on its side
I always kind of wondered if you ever made it through
And time is running backwards and so is the bride
Seen a shooting star tonight and I thought of you

* * * *

It helps if you've already listened to Oh Mercy a gazillion times and have internalized the words and melodies, but if not, you can put the album on one song and sing the other to see how they fit together. Is it a coincidence, or was there some form of intentionality here? Or perhaps,

As it turns out, this wasn't the first time I paired these two songs in my mind. In 2017 as I explored the content of "Shooting Star" I similarly compared it with "Ring Them Bells," not the tune and rhythm of the words, but rather the themes. You can read that effort here: Shooting Star: Bookend on Dylan's Monumental Oh Mercy.

Have you ever done this sort of thing?

* * * *

In the Meantime, Philip Hale shared a link to this Wall of Power Radio Hour in which Paul Metsa talks with Ann Margaret Daniel about Dylan's latest double-CD of original songs, Rough and Rowdy Ways.  R&RW has a LOT to digest, and like so many of Dylan previous work, it's gets more rewarding with each listen. You can expect to read more about that when the buds are ripe and ready to bloom.

Mergers: Dylan's Shooting Star Blends NIcely with Ring Them Bells

On Saturday my mother, whom I call each Saturday morning, mentioned that there is a comet visible in the night sky right now. She didn't recall the name but Google has answers for everything, and it is called Neowise, after the telescope that first sighted it. It is the largest comet since Hale-Bopp, located beneath the Big Dipper in the North sky.

Saturday evening we had thunderstorms and you can't see comets through the clouds. Last night at 2:00 a.m., however, the clarity was spectacular.

We live on a rural patch outside Duluth with no light pollution to fog up the night sky. Unfortunately, with the current tilt of the earth, theBig Dipper is lying in the treetops. I walked out to the road, which runs North-South, and found the famous constellation still too low on the horizon.

As I headed back to the house I saw a shooting star, and yes, it made me think of someone. And naturally, that flying spark across the sky brought this song to mind.

Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of you
You were trying to break into another world
A world I never knew
I always kind of wondered
If you ever made it through
Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of you

* * * *

Well, what happened next was quite intriguing. As I began singing Shooting Star in my head, I simultaneously began hearing Ring Them Bells.

Remember when we were children learning to sing parts and rounds? "Row row row your boat" was my first introduction to the concept of different tunes and words blending harmoniously. "Merrily merrily merrily merrily" life was such a dream.

So in the middle of the night I began composing, or re-shuffling, the two songs into one.

Ring them bells ye heathen from the city that dreams
Seen a shooting star tonight and I thought of you
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries cross the valleys and streams
You were trying to break into another world a world I never knew
For they're deep and they're wide and the world is on its side
I always kind of wondered if you ever made it through
And time is running backwards and so is the bride
Seen a shooting star tonight and I thought of you

* * * *

It helps if you've already listened to Oh Mercy a gazillion times and have internalized the words and melodies, but if not, you can put the album on one song and sing the other to see how they fit together. Is it a coincidence, or was there some form of intentionality here? Or perhaps,

As it turns out, this wasn't the first time I paired these two songs in my mind. In 2017 as I explored the content of "Shooting Star" I similarly compared it with "Ring Them Bells," not the tune and rhythm of the words, but rather the themes. You can read that effort here: Shooting Star: Bookend on Dylan's Monumental Oh Mercy.

Have you ever done this sort of thing?

* * * *

In the Meantime, Philip Hale shared a link to this Wall of Power Radio Hour in which Paul Metsa talks with Ann Margaret Daniel about Dylan's latest double-CD of original songs, Rough and Rowdy Ways.  R&RW has a LOT to digest, and like so many of Dylan previous work, it's gets more rewarding with each listen. You can expect to read more about that when the buds are ripe and ready to bloom.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude... it's like magic.
Yesterday I was reading a book in which at the end of one chapter the authors gave readers an assignment to make a list of 25 things they were grateful for. I decided to do this and found out something. Nearly the entire list was people, people who have enriched my life in a multitude of ways, family, friends, relatives, and eventually a few things like our home, Susie's garden, a career in which I could use my gifts, etc.

While writing this, other people keep coming to mind, people who helped me or cared about me or encouraged me, including teachers, coaches, and even a few strangers.  I'm also grateful that  I'm not dead yet. And overarching the whole is a sense of gratitude to God for this gift of life.

These thoughts prompted me to find quotes on gratitude to inspire you as well. Many of the names are familiar and some surprising. May you find something here to lift your heart and your spirit in these turbulent, unsettling times.

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others."
--Cicero

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
--John F. Kennedy

"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude."
--G.K. Chesterton

"I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude."
--Brene Brown

"Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty."
--Doris Day

Cape May, NJ --1999
"Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody's hand and squeeze it, while there's time."
--Dale Dauten

"Thankfulness is the tune of angels."
--Edmund Spenser

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
--Robert Brault

"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around."
--Willie Nelson

"Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices."
--Robert Braathe

"Gratitude... It can change everything, almost like magic."
--Kat Senn

"If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get."
--Frank A. Clark

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
--William Arthur Ward

"If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily."
--Gerald Good

And finally, this verse from Paul's letter to the Philippians, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything give thanks." Words that we especially need today as much as ever.

Thank you for reading. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Susie's Art Classes 2 Go Now Available at Art on the Planet

What is it that is so rewarding about expressing our inner creative self? I've always believed that the creative urge was something innate that needed to be exercised, like our physical muscles, almost an essential part of being human.

This is not to say we must all make fine art, write poetry or become concert pianists. It does, however, seem like the world is more vibrant and life is greatly enriched when we create.

For the the past four decades of our marriage I have enjoyed the multitude of ways that Susie has expressed her creativity. What is evident to me is how the creative process always gets her invigorated, while at the same time becomes a blessing for others.

Susie's Art Classes 2 Go were designed to provide materials and instructions so that others can have this experience of guided creation. Her aim was to provide the tools and materials which, when combined with your own creativity, will produce results that you will enjoy sharing with others. And give you ideas for your own future creative projects.

EN: What are Art Classes 2 Go?

Susie Newman: During the pandemic, art classes such as though Community ed. or Art on the Planet "Wine Beginnings" classes are on hold, but people more than ever need a creative outlet! I've worked on coming up with a couple of projects where you can take the packet with all materials and instructions home and create something fun as well as usable. On a nice day a group could still do them together, social distancing in a backyard maybe.

EN: You've been doing creative projects for decades, but this is something different. What prompted you to make these kits?

My daughter turned her goose egg shell into a cactus.
SN: Earlier in the pandemic I did a fun project with a group of friends. Everyone got a goose egg shell, (compliments of my five goose girls) and made something creative using the egg. One of my friends then said it was so fun she wished I would come up with another project. That got me thinking! I had just begun to get involved with teaching community ed classes in Proctor when Covid came along and brought my plans to a screeching halt.

Around this time also an organization in Duluth called Age Well Arrowhead was calling for home made greeting cards to give elderly people to bring cheer and encouragement during this difficult time for many. I sent them some of my cards that I make. Then I noticed that Art on the Planet was offering an art class to go, so I contacted them and they were all for my two project ideas, one of them making greeting cards, and the other art paper that could be used as wrapping paper.

Art paper samples for wrapping paper.
EN: A lot of people, when they think of art think of fine art and paintings for the wall. Can you talk a little about why functional art is so rewarding to make?

Paper for card making. These are part of
the Greeting Cards with Artvelopes set.
SN: I've always especially enjoyed making things that are usable. There's only so much room on the walls for paintings or other framed art. There is something especially fun to me to make products that become part of everyday life and I can share with others. When it gets used up, then I have the pleasure of making more!

EN: Can you describe what each kit will produce?

SN: One of these kits makes 6 greeting cards with "artvelopes." You will cut out and make the envelope out of designed paper using a template provided. The envelope is decorative and becomes part of the art of the card. There are some very cool papers out there, as well as some full photo pages from thrift store books. Each kit includes most of the following themes, Africa, Down Under, Retro 60's, Sea life, Tie dye, and Woodland or Barnyard.

The other kit makes 6 pieces of artsy tie dye style paper. When I sold these at art/craft sales the people who bought them said they didn't want to use it as wrapping paper, they planned to put it on a wall or on a table as decoration. That will be up to the artist who makes them.

I have more ideas for Art Classes to Go including some kid's projects.

EN: Where can we find your Art Classes 2 Go?  

SN: Art on the Planet is located at 1413 Tower Avenue in Superior. You can order the kits on the Art Classes 2 Go page on their website. These two kits are located at the bottom of the page so you'll have to scroll down. You can also click on the Art on the Planet logo in the right hand column here. Art on the Planet represents a wide swath of local artists. If you prefer to order an art kit online, they also do Curbside Delivery.

* * * * 
CLICK HERE to see a full list of local artists
whose work can be found at Art on the Planet.

Rooster card with Artvelope.