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Justice Scalia

I explained to my grandson that I have been organizing my thoughts to  answer Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He burst into laughter. Then said, I have never heard you going after the Supreme Court.  I am still writing that post but want it to be understandable to the reader, Mr. Scalia. 

The holidays
Beginning with the rituals and celebrations of each religion, the holidays cover many weeks at the end of the year. Busy times for all. Merchandising includes Hallowe’en and I add Kwanzaa, a full quarter of emotional excitement. Part of me fights the high energy and wallows in depression. It changes my flexible routine. Years ago, it meant clearing the dining room table and putting sewing and paints away, only to unwind it all. 

Now the table can stay the same, no children and new spouses to feed. I stay near the phone and iPad to get the calls and messages from coast to coast. It’s the day after Christmas with little to do but write thank-you’s, checks for the postman, and bills. Not even snow to shovel in 70 degree weather.

I like the calm. I have new toys. Organizers for my studio. Parties to plan. Work to do in the next year. I start the new plans with the 2015 list. Ever hopeful that this time next year, it will all be done. That includes preparing for the holidays earlier.

Note to iPad gremlin

It is OK if I mispell a word, because I plan to edit. There is no need for you to substitute a word that makes no sense in the context of what I am writing. You need a sense of humor and to understand irony.  High early is not comparable in meaning to high energy. Also, it is not necessary to Capitaize a word where there is no period. As in the previous sentence.

Your helpfulness is too much. Soon you will be gone, fini, splat. Your red line under fini lets me know that you need re-education. And I am too busy writing to add that to next year’s list.

P.S. Everything is not what it seems. Under the cover is a candle. Light it to brighten your day.

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What did you talk about around the table on Thanksgiving?
Predictions were that current elections and the possibility of war would be top topics. After the sumptuous meal, for the fortunate ones, the grown-up table talk increases. 
We were among guests who shared personal experiences, opinions, and concerns. A small group of adults who spanned five generations. Our common characteristics: African American. We were all employed. (The most senior are employed at staying well and alive.) We shared our middle class-ness, regardless of the path to arrive there. Each person speaking from their own generation: spokes in a wheel.
I have been trying to find symbols that represent what was most important, and disturbing. Were I a composer, I think I would make music. A better writer, perhaps a pamphlet of opinion, a summary and possible conclusions. I might save characterization for a future novel. 
But I am primarily a visual artist. One who usually thinks content before making art. I want symbols where there were no cymbals at the table. The words radiated out from the heat off the sun and cooled as they were politely spoken. Drawn childlike. At the center, each of us spoke from the core of hurts, large, small, deep. Too painful to admit. Lava-like flowing on the outside of a hardened inner core. Too painful to go deeply.
Perhaps, a ball of twine wrapped around a stone. Sometimes a ribbon of velvet and silk, sometimes the roughened rope.

Perhaps a basket made by gichee mothers or for Moses. Safe passage except for a tiny hole. 
Perhaps, a fire burned down to ashes and then getting new life, reigniting. How do you express the cycles of history? The collective rebellions shut down by guns? The passiveness of fear? Not telling our children the full extent of the law and its historic significance? Jacob Lawrence painted the tables but could not record the talk around it. Karin Walker’s silhouettes are just eye candy without the words behind them. 
Or, the broken chains. We are left with the comfort meal, some understanding of how we are all connected but no workable solution.

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TIP #1114 WHEN WEB SEARCHING SEEMS TO FAIL (forwarded from my email)

NOTE: I will be making a special post next
Monday, Dec. 22nd and then am taking a break to
enjoy the holidays with some of my family. Merry Christmas to you all!

Have you at times given up because you couldn’t
find information on Ancestry.com or
FamilySearch.com? There are other ways to search
on-line that might yield some good results!

I’m sure many of you have sat in front of the
monitor trying everything you could think of to
find that illusive ancestor. Surely someone,
sometime, somewhere has written something about
good old Great-aunt Josephine Hidingout Jones!
Well, maybe no one has, but don’t give up until you’ve exhausted searches!

Today I’m going to talk about Googling your
ancestor in the hopes that someone there claims
Josephine! As you well know, Google is one of
many search engines available; you likely have
used it many times. (Note: I don’t receive a commission from them!)

Google uses (like others) a web crawler or
spider. Before you creep out over spiders in your
computer, when you enter something for Google to
search, it visits websites page by page, in rapid
speed and checking for what you entered. It is
looking for websites that mention Josephine
Hindingout Jones. As you well know, it will give
you false links; they all do. The first “hits”
found are normally the most relevant but as you
go farther down in the lists of its findings, you
might find “hits” for Josephine, the surname
Hidingout (or the words hiding out) and/or Jones.

We can enter our search terms in several
different ways. For example if we entered
Josephine Hidingout Jones; we could enter it just
as I showed it, or Josephine Hindingout Jones
family, or (name) family Kentucky; or “Josephine
Hidingout Jones” in quotes, or (name) genealogy.
If you’re doing a search for Smith, you’d better
put some qualifiers with it!! Such as
Smith+Nelson County KY; Smith+KY+18th century.
The variations are unlimited almost.

If you enter Jones genealogy Kentucky, Google
automatically puts the word AND in – Jones and genealogy and Kentucky.

If you spell genealogy wrong (and I’ve seen it
spelled various ways), the search engine will try
to figure out what you meant and give you a
suggestion. For example, you typed geneology: You
will receive a message: “Did you mean genealogy”
. Duh, yes! You can click on the correct word
genealogy and it will proceed. There are also
things called wild cards, negative searches, etc.
I won’t deal with them in great detail here but
as a personal example. If I’m doing a search for
Gorin, I don’t want to see Igor Gorin, a famous
singer (no relation), Goren the noted bridge
player or Gorin the Russian spy. I can search for
Gorin not Igor or Gorin not Russia etc.

Let’s try a different approach to Google. There
are two things that you might not have checked –
images and books. I have been surprised many
times on searching on Images. When you go to the
Google home page, in the upper right side you
will see Images. Click on this. Another search
box will appear like the one on the home page.
Enter the name you want – back to good old
Josephine Hidingout Jones and hit return. Photos
will appear, lots of them! Now, not all are our
Josie girl. Again, normally the first ones shown
are your best bet but check them all! These are
photographs from all over the web, taken from
family pages, city/county/state sites, etc.

If you click on the thumbnail picture, you will
be given the option of going to the website that
contains the picture or go to the picture itself.
Go to the website first. Here you can immediately
determine if that’s your Josie or someone else.
If it’s there, check the bottom of the website to
see if it’s under copyright (thus you can’t
publish the photo without permission of the
contact person/owner of the website). The farther
you go down on the page of photos, the more
abstract it becomes and you can get a lot of
false hits. But, scan them just in case!

Now – you might (or might not) find Josie herself
staring at you in an old photograph, but you
might find a page from a Bible record that’s been
submitted; a picture of their house, their tombstone, etc.

In fact, when doing the search for Josie you can
add more to your search engine query. You could
type: (name)+Bible records or (name)+cemetery,
etc. I have found a long sought-after Bible
record on a Google search! Note: the parenthesis
is not part of the search, I’ve used it to keep
from typing her name out every time!)

Next time, I’ll look at using Google for books.

Colonel Sandi Gorin
President, South Central KY Historical & Genealogical Society
Sandi’s website: http://www.gensoup.org/gorin/index.html
Sandi’s puzzlers: http://www.gensoup.org/gorinpuzzles/index.php

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Did many-times presidential aspirant, really say that he is recruiting billionaires to run for office? Yes, he did. Ralph Nader has decided to pass his mantel to some deserving billionaire. The movement will be decided by a judge of one. Ralph Nader.

His new theory is that a billionaire, as president, would bring forward all of the solutions Nader has promoted. This is based on the realization that he is not the best in the political heat. He did make an effort strong enough to stop Gore from winning. At least, that has been one post-election theory. No one can carry the election without a 51 state organization. Obama has proved that.

But why recruit from billionaires who will answer his call? He said he has received some interest to evaluate. He did say they were in the optimal group because they have demonstrated the welfare of others is important. I can not quote him, but I am certain his words are on the internet.

Nader has, without doubt,a greater knowledge of billionaires than most of us. And there are some good guys. They have the option of spending their money on good causes as they see fit. Or not. They have learned the value of the bottom line. And for some, getting there may not be from being overly generous with workers, consumers, or the under-employed.

But, who am I to have an opinion? Ralph Nader will pick his rich puppet and the voters will decide. I hope to learn the criteria used in his or her selection.

Of the pool of billionaires, how many were born in the U.S.? What business and inheritances made their financial successes? Where and how is their wealth invested? What public statements indicate knowledge and expertise in governing?

In other words, how would a hand-picked candidate, responsible to one man’s idealism, stand up against polished politicians? It might be refreshing. Who knows?

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Woman with Umbrella

By Bettye W. Harwell

Yellow Sweater

by Bettye W. Harwell

Learning from bloggers

Marketing, marketing and more marketing requires as much creativity as the artist’s output. The term ‘artist’ should cover any creative discipline. We know there are people working in who have no desire to go public. The doing is enough.

Then there are many who want and need to share. The reasons vary.

Do you want to communicate to get feedback?

Are you interested in critique or to get a mentor?

Do you need to test the financial viability of your work?

Writers will find interest in a blog tour to promote a book. It has been tested with success. Visual artists use all or part of this plan if helpful.

Have you tried promoting through an online event? Please share (comment or post). Did you get a boost in sales directly from your efforts? Would you repeat? What worked the best? Failed?

Read this post for inspiration on marketing:

http://writeconnexion.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/alex-cavanaugh-guest-post/

Resource for oil painters

A new blog to me is soooo good! Today the post tells all about paint made by just one man in North Carolina. The blogger tests and compares quality and costs brilliantly. He tells the story of Indian yellow. The old version caused artists to want to eat it with a spoon. (not really.)

Who knew?

We found two tubes in a dusty old store in Kentucky ten years ago. Three paintings show the brilliance and depth of this old version. Check out his comments on turquoise and black. It will make former oil painters give it another try.

http://wp.me/p1RV93-8o

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A car that has been burglarized. Bad for me, g...

A car that has been burglarized. Bad for me, good for Wikipedia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you or your ‘things’ living in your car?

Today I am reminded that just driving and servicing your car is not enough.   We are told in the winter to prepare for emergencies. Put water, blankets and nourishment in you car. How many have a first aid kit? Did you check to see if you have a car jack? Need battery cables?

Not winter?
How about the storms we are having which are so devastating? On the news this morning, a man was found after a week’s accident in his car. All are not so lucky.

Who knew?

Safety also includes what is in your car. Take an inventory of things living in your car.  I have a few hats even though I never wear a hat. A pair of expensive, ugly shoes that are supposed to make healthy feet. A turquoise sweater in case it gets cold. And a camera. And a few dollars in the console and change in the driver’s door.

I would hate to be violated by a burglar. It happens. It happened to a friend. You think, “I can just run into the store. Who would steal my purse?” Even in the daylight, your car is vulnerable.

It is a wake up call. My new resolutions are:

Remember my car is not my domicile.

I will not carry more than I can afford to lose. I will not leave valuables in the car.

I will offer support when someone is vandalized.

I will look for good news when no one is personally in danger.

I will hope burglars will consider the other person before they do harm.

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Touch screens and vibrant colors allow everyone to be an artist.

My theory about computers:

Once color was introduced, business (more…)

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